May 25, 2015
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Artenas “Machine Gun” Young and his mother, Momma Machine Gun, have been members of the Legacy family from almost the beginning. Young’s professional debut was for Legacy Promotions in March 2010, and over the last 3-1/2 years, he has earned a 9-6 record for himself, which includes several Shark Fights matches as well as a win in Strikeforce over Chad Cook.

His most recent fight was for Legacy in August, against Eric “Big Head” Davila, and the result continues to be a sore spot with Young, who feels that he was “hometowned” in Lubbock:

“He came in over by about 8 pounds, which is low for him, but only 1 lb away from the commission cancelling the fight. I will fight regardless. I am a fighter, this is what I do. I did it before I got paid for it. He hit me with a couple good grazing shots, but it is what it is. That decision made me want to quit the sport for a minute. It doesn’t matter how much he came forward if he wasn’t landing anything. A disgrace to the sport, personally I think. But the next morning, Davila came to visit me at my hotel, and that kept me from wanting to quit. I was pretty much undamaged, so I got right back into training.”

Young began his journey into the world of MMA when his older brother led him to Hoger MMA as a way to get out and stay out of the trouble he was so good at finding. This decision was fully supported by his mother, who visited him at every opportunity when he was incarcerated. She has always been his biggest fan, but tragically, he lost his mother just two weeks ago:

“Mama Machine Gun, everybody in Houston knows about her; she’s my biggest fan. She was always super active in the MMA community, and not just my fan. She also had some of her own favorite fighters. Momma was a big part of the Texas MMA community.”

Prior to his match with Davila, Young had the opportunity to participate in Bellator’s Fight Master competition. Although he lost his fight to get into the tournament, he feels that it was the best thing that could have happened:

“Mom had been sick for a while; she had been diagnosed for some time, but wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down until the last few months. The Bellator show, for me not to get on was actually the biggest blessing of my life. The next day after I was sent home, not even 24 hours later, I walked in and found my mom on the floor having an episode. I was the only one there; and if I hadn’t been there, I might not have had the little bit more time I did with her.”

While all of this was happening, Young had already been booked to face fellow longtime Legacy veteran, Jonathan Harris. Due to the time-consuming circumstances of laying his mother to rest, Young found himself struggling to keep up the required regimen to make weight, so he and his team approached Harris, asking for a 5-lb concession. The request was denied:

“They showed no sympathy, but that just fueled me to work harder. I will make 169 at weigh-ins, and I’m gonna destroy his ass in the first round. He’s a trash-talker, the kind of I guy I really don’t care much for; and I don’t really dislike anybody. Harris has dodged me several times to fight for Legacy. Mom’s last request was for me to destroy this dude, so that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Young trains at 4 oz Fight Club as his home gym, but he has also made pilgrimages to Albuquerque to train at Jackson-Winklejohn’s MMA; however, this was something he could not do for this camp, because of his duty to take care of his mother. Now that she is laid to rest, he has one thing on his mind:

“I have an objective: to destroy this guy. After this fight, probably the moment after, I’m going to sit down and reflect on everything. I don’t have any definite plans, but I won’t lose that passion. I just want to take time to spend with my family and mourn my mother. At the same time, I’m gonna be ready come January 31st, if I should be so blessed, and if there is a 170 lb contender there. I will definitely be the one, if that’s what Mick and Legacy want, because that’s the way Momma wanted it.”

(Images by Justin Trapp and Will Fox respectively.)