Scale tips in favor of Roseville MMA school

Owners Jeff Baumann and Justin Phelps are going big-time with new building, Gladiator Challenge weigh-ins
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune
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Business has changed quickly for Jeff Baumann and Justin Phelps.

Baumann, a lifelong Roseville resident and 1982 graduate of Roseville High School, and Phelps (Casa Roble, 2002) will celebrate Oct. 1 the first birthday of NorCal MMA at its current Church Street location.

The 10,000 square feet of space, painted bright red and yellow inside, is needed for what Baumann and Phelps are doing now.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, they’ll be host to their third Gladiator Challenge weigh-in session. With 18 to 20 fights on a typical Gladiator Challenge card, the weigh-in can draw 200 people.

“There’s a lot of people," said Roseville’s Kyle Davey, a 155-pounder who will step onto the scale and weigh in for his second MMA fight.

The first two weigh-ins were for cards at Red Hawk Casino. This one will be for “Unleashed” on Saturday night, the first mixed martial arts show at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln.

The Gladiator Challenge/Thunder Valley relationship is starting with a bang. Four fights will have titles at stake, including a super-heavyweight bout. Dan “The Beast” Severn, a UFC and MMA legend, will challenge Rick Vardell.

“It’s wonderful. It’s great for the sport,” Baumann said. “Thunder Valley, what it is right now in the local area, it’s going to be a good show for these guys. There are a lot of schools in the Sacramento Valley. You don’t have to travel miles and miles to have a fight. This is going to be a class act.”

Baumann has had the school for 10 years. The old building, a private school, was “down the street” from the new location. The school grew. Baumann made a move.

“We decided to expand,” he said. “We opened this gigantic facility.”

NorCal MMA teaches full MMA and offers several classes: Muy Thai kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, cardio and core training, and female classes in core training and Muy Thai.

There are 2,400 square feet in mats, a cage, locker, weight and massage rooms, and another room where equipment and apparel are sold.

“We have a whole new clientele,” Baumann said. “We’ve been rebirthed.”

Phelps sees the school as a place where people of all ages can work at their pace and build each other up.

Said Phelps, “That’s what we’ve always been here; that’s what we’ll always be.”


When: Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m. Fights start at 7 p.m.
Where: Thunder Valley Casino Resort
Weigh-ins: 6:30 p.m. Friday at NorCal MMA, 120-1 Church St., Roseville
Highlights on the card: Four championship fights, including super-heavyweight champ Rick Vardell against MMA legend Dan “The Beast” Severn
Tickets: Prices begin at $30, available at NorCal MMA, the Thunder Valley Box Office and
Information: 888-VBO-8858