Fighting against the alarm clock in the morning before work is a tough enough battle for many. But for local mixed martial artist (MMA) and Art of War (AOW) fighter Isaac Shelton, punching the clock as an auto technician is only one of his jobs — another is punching people in the face, while yet another is being a family man.
“Doing the dad life and living the MMA life is difficult, but I’ve been managing for the most part,” Shelton says. “It’s been tough, but I got a good team behind me.”
Shelton, 30, started his fighting career in Portland while amassing a combined professional and amateur record of nine wins with only one defeat. He didn’t like how things were progressing with his training. He needed a change.
“I wasn’t happy with what was going on, as far as training. I was looking toward moving to another state,” he says.
Shelton, who fights in the featherweight division, had friends trying to coax him into moving to New Mexico and even Arizona. That’s when Shelton’s partner, Lindsay Reed, appears.
“Lindsay came into my life at the perfect time,” he says. “She was already down here, and I was sick of Portland, so I moved down here and started a family.”
The pair met at a King of the Cage event in 2015 at Chinook Winds Casino. A victorious Shelton met Reed’s mom post-fight, and by the time Reed herself arrived for an introduction, Shelton was preoccupied with eating his first hearty meal after maintaining a strict pre-fight diet.
“She was super nervous, and it had been a while since I got to hold a hamburger and eat something good. I’m like, ‘Don’t interrupt me while I’m eating,’ so it wasn’t the best first impression.”
And so Shelton, Reed and daughters Zoey and Emma now live in Springfield, while for the past two and a half years, Shelton has made Eugene’s Art of War his home gym.
AOW head coach Jason Georgianna is now charged with overseeing Shelton’s training.
Shelton “is one of those guys who put it together as an adult. He just wanted to be a fighter, did a little training and ran through the amateurs,” says Georgianna, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in the legendary Eddie Bravo’s grappling system who recently awarded Shelton his purple belt.