Chatfield native Chad Curry spent his high school wrestling career earning win after win, ending his career with a second place finish in the Minnesota State High School wrestling tournament in 2008. But, finding athletic success in a professional arena is hardly the usual outcome, despite being the dreams of many. Curry has found a way to not only do it, but with impressive resolve as a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter.
Mixed Martial Arts is a fast-growing, full-contact sport evolving from various disciplines including wrestling, boxing, kick-boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, and several other forms of martial arts. Fighters use a variety of strategies through striking or grappling techniques to overpower their opponents or earn a win through point decision. The cage arena is carefully regulated, but fighters must have quick reflexes, effective control, and the fortitude to take the hits and keep on going.
“My father-in-law, Troy Swancutt, introduced me to the sport,” says Curry. “He was a big fan of it before I even knew what it was.” Curry was instantly intrigued by the sport. “I kept saying how that I thought I could do it, when watching on television, but I was too scared to pull the trigger. I worried it would interfere with family life.” His biggest supporter though, his wife, Amanda, was the catalyst that started his surprise career. “One day when I came home, she said, ‘Get a gym bag ready and grab a buddy. I signed you up for one of the best gyms in the state.’” Curry began training in December 2010.
He trains with Mario Roberto Jui-Jitsu Academy in Rochester. For Curry, it’s typically daily discipline in Jui-Jitsu, Thai boxing, wrestling, weight training, and conditioning. Finding time to train, alongside the rigors of full-time work and family life, is difficult. “Typically two workouts a day, one before going to work from 4:30 a.m. until 6:30 a.m., then work all day and another work out from 5-9 p.m. that evening at Mario Roberto’s,” says Curry. “When I am in a training camp, getting ready for a fight, the intensity and longevity of the workouts increase, with a heavier focus on conditioning and technique. There’s no particular season so I have to be fight ready all year long in case a big opportunity comes up,” he adds.
Curry fights under the Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA), based out of Kearney, Nebraska, and boasts an impressive record. As an amateur fighter, he saw three wins between June 2011 and February 2012. All were wins by submission. Non-title fights last three rounds of five minutes each and in each of these first wins, Curry saw his opponent yield in no more than two rounds.
Making his professional debut September 29, 2012, the fight ended with opponent Reilly Griffin yielding in the first round. Curry’s next four fights also ended within the first round; the March 30, 2013 fight to Jay Ellis resulting in his first knockout and the following two in technical knockout (TKO), where the referee determined his opponents could not continue. He earned two additional TKO in December 2014 and February 2015. With each fight, Curry further propelled his name and talents into the limelight.
Curry had his first and only defeat, by knockout, November 6, 2015 against Landon Vannata, but came back with a vengeance for his October 2016 fight against Frank Schuman. Held in Prior Lake, the fight was the first nationally televised win for Curry. The 5’10”, 190 lb. fighter is ranked 8 of 44 of professional welterweight class within Minnesota and 38 of 413 in the Midwest with an 8-1-0 record. He’s a big ticket seller locally and opponents have been brought in from all over, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, and New Jersey. To date, he’s received awards including Fighter of the Night, Knock Out of the Night, and Round of the Year in Austin against opponent Hugh Pulley.
With anything though, there are hurdles. “The sport is very taxing on the body and I’ve dealt with various injuries during training from time to time,” says Curry, who has aspirations to be a world champion. “The most challenging part of the sport is the time away from my family; my wife, Amanda, and my two beautiful boys, Shane and Killian. We have another on the way, due in June.”
Curry credits his quick rise to the top to those who are quite literally, in his corner. “My head coach Mario Roberto; all the time he has dedicated to helping me grow as a fighter and for believing in me. My strength and conditioning coach, Zach Curry, helping me push the limits of my body to help me become faster, stronger, and more conditioned to compete at the professional level.” Fighting for Team Mario Roberto, he is sponsored by Curry’s Custom Cut Gutter, Evolv Health, Toppers Pizza, Bad Boy, Prairie Walls Climbing, and Steve’s Auto. “The community of Chatfield has been extremely supportive with different businesses sponsoring for a few fights,” he adds.
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank my wife for all the love and support that she gives me and my kids for being so patient and understanding when dad has to be gone as much as I do for training,” says Curry. “My family; most haven’t missed a single fight. I am very grateful for their support.”
Curry’s next fight for Legacy Fighting Alliance is slated for Friday, May 19 at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake and will be nationally televised for those wanting to tune in.