PIQUA — A relentless drive for success has led to a former Jackson Center woman being ranked as one of the top rated Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters in the country. What began as a method to build her self-confidence has led Chelsea Faulder, of Piqua, to a No. 2 ranking and a world championship match later this month.
On Feb. 24, Faulder will face Cynthia “Sin” Arceo of El Paso, Texas in Ontario, California, near Los Angeles, for the King of the Cage (KOTC) World Women’s Strawweight title. The event titled “Energetic Pursuit” lists the Faulder bout as one of the co-main events at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Faulder, who started at age 18 and compiled a 7-1 record as an amateur, has climbed quickly to the top of the KOTC rankings after only two professional fights. The Strawweight division is for fighters in the 106-115 pounds range.
In August 2017, she lost by disqualification to Kyna “The Sensation” Sisson of Michigan in Wyandotte, Michigan. On Nov. 10, she took a first round, arm bar submission victory over Heather Denny, of Brighton, Colorado, at the Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota.
Faulder said KOTC officials like her fighting style and fan appeal. She explained that keeping her word to fight any opponent at any location shows dedication to their promotional efforts and helped her be considered for top fights so quickly.
Faulder is a 2009 Jackson Center High School graduate now living in Piqua, with her husband and manager, Johnny Connor. The 5-foot-0 blond trains up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, at her husband’s Fightopia MMA facility in Piqua.
Her daughter, six-year-old Cheyenne, a first-grade student, is behind her mother’s competitive nature all the way. Faulder said she is driven to set a good example for her daughter. She hopes to send the message that life’s hard times and struggles can be overcome by staying strong and not giving up.
Cheyenne will be in attendance for the title match and will accompany her mother to the cage, if the local state commission allows. The travel expenses for Cheyenne and several cornermen, and training and ring gear are not covered by fight promoters, so friends and family in Jackson Center are organizing fundraising efforts to cover those costs.
Heidi Zwiebel, owner of The Heidout Restaurant and Bar in Jackson Center, and Jenny Harshbarger, are organizing raffle baskets that will awarded on Feb. 16 at the restaurant located at 432 W. Pike St.
Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. They go on sale Feb. 9 at the restaurant or by calling Harshbarger at 937-489-8477. There will also be a 50/50 drawing with 10 percent of all food sales that evening being donated to Faulder. T-shirts supporting the fighter will also be on sale.
More information and photos of raffle items can be found on The Heidout’s Facebook page.
The California title match will be shown on a tape-delay basis on MavTV, which is available on two local TV outlets. However, no replay date has been scheduled, according to information on the MavTV website.
Once a time slot is selected, the event will be shown on Spectrum Cable (Channel 1340) and DirecTV (Channel 214).
The writer is a regular contributor.