Courtesy Mike Yellowplume
Mike Yellowplume, 34, and Nick Brown, 35, own Built For Battle a company that trains MMA fighters

Northern Arapaho Friends Bring MMA To Their Community

Sam Laskaris

Wyoming's Wind River Indian Reservation is known for being a basketball hotbed.

This reputation has been buoyed by the Wyoming Indian High School boys' basketball squad which has captured numerous state championships, including its latest in March.

But a pair of lifelong Northern Arapaho friends are hoping people will soon also be pointing to their community as a go-to place for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Mike Yellowplume, 34, and Nick Brown, 35, own Built For Battle, a promotions company that they started a few years ago; originally wanting to bring various concerts and DJ events into their community.

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But the pair have branched out this year and have also organized two MMA amateur shows. Built For Battle is now in the process of organizing its own commission in order to stage pro MMA cards. They currently have about 15 local fighters that they are helping to train. "We're trying to show people there are other things to do than just basketball," Yellowplume said. "Not everybody plays basketball."

The Wind River Indian Reservation, which has a population of about 28,000, is located in the central western part of Wyoming and is shared by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes. "Around here there's hardly anybody with their own business," Yellowplume  said. "We're breaking new ground for our area.

"Growing up I had a typical reservation story," he said. "I grew up without a father and my mom was battling with alcoholism."

But Yellowplume wants to be there to support his three daughters, ages 10, 3 and 3 months. "I don't want my daughters to have it as bad as I did," he said.

During his early years, Yellowplume bounced around his reservation living with different family members. Then after high school he moved away and lived in various states before returning to Wind River.


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