Staff Photo: John Bohn Junior Mewborn and his wife Ivey Mewborn are MMA fighters from Buford. They work out together and both are fighting at Saturday, July 28 at Wild Bill's.
When Junior and Ivey Mewborn are out in public, they look like the average couple, one that normally blends in with the masses pretty well.
But sometimes their faces are pretty battered and that directs some stares toward the Buford residents, who were married in November.
Was it a car wreck? A fight? It gets people's curiosity going.
"When we walk around Kroger with black eyes, we kind of get a few odd looks," Ivey said. "We have to talk to them and explain that it's from our training."
The Mewborns' hobby, mixed martial arts fighting, can keep them pretty beat up, but they both love it. They crave the victories and the intense training, which fuels their hyper-competitive personalities.
They back each other wholeheartedly, training together and rooting each other on at fights. Typically, they fight on different nights, but that will change this week.
Both are on the nine-fight card for Saturday's Wild Bill's Fight Night, with Junior facing Joel Valentin in a 165-pound amateur bout and and Ivey taking on Hannah Cifer in an amateur female match.
"This is the first time in Georgia history that we've had a husband and wife fight on the same night," said Wild Bill's Fight Night promoter David Oblas of Undisputed Productions. "It's going to be extremely interesting to see how their nerves are as one is in the ring fighting and the second one is only minutes away from a fight."
Junior thinks their focus will be so much on their own fight, that it won't be a problem. Ivey isn't so sure.
"I'm a nervous wreck when he's fighting," she said. "I was in his corner for his last fight and I saw maybe 30 percent of it (from looking away). I'm confident in his ability, but I also know how hard he works for it and I want him to win so bad."
Both the fighters discovered MMA fairly recently. They train at Legacy Fight Club, which operates out of Legacy Family Fitness in Buford, six days a week, squeezing in the hours on the weekends and evenings after their day jobs with their trainer, Dustin "The Villain" Chovanic.
Junior, 33, has lived in Buford all of his life. A football player who did some boxing growing up, he is 1-1 in his brief MMA career. He acknowledges a mistake caused him to lose on an armbar in his first fight.
"I should be 2-0, but I'm about to be 2-1," he said.
Ivey, 27, is 1-2 in MMA but her two losses were to two of the nation's top fighters, Tecia "The Tiny Tornado" Torres and Monique "Moe the Giant" Travis. She won the first round with Torres, the No. 1 ranked MMA amateur nationally at 115 pounds, and went all three rounds with Travis.
She hasn't backed away from those tough challenges.
"Junior and Ivey are both tenacious fighters that, unlike a lot of fighters out there, they don't care who they're fighting," Oblas said. "They've always told me they'll fight anyone we put in front of them. Ivey has proven this time and time again as she's fought Atlanta's toughest girls and has been fight of the night each time she steps in the ring."
A freestyle fighter, Ivey credits her athletic background for a quick transition to MMA. She played high school basketball as a freshman and sophomore at Duluth and then at Dothan (Ala.) High before playing college basketball.
Her new sport is a little rougher than hoops, but she and her husband love it.
Even if it means getting a few awkward glances in public.
"We're two of the most competitive people we've ever met and we just happened to find each other," Ivey said. "ESPN's on all the time. Sports is just in our fiber."