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Here's why Port Moody's first family of MMA is closing its gym

Owner Lance Gibson is a former professional fighter who helped pioneer the sport of mixed martial arts in Canada
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Julia Budd and her stepson, Lance Gibson Jr., work out at Gibson MMA in Port Moody.

A popular mixed martial arts (MMA) gym in Port Moody is closing. But its owner isn’t tapping out of the city.

Lance Gibson says he’s shuttering Gibson MMA on Kyle Street to devote his full attention to managing the professional careers of his wife, former Bellator women’s featherweight world champion Julia Budd, and his son, Lance Jr., who’s undefeated in five bouts in the Bellator circuit.

Gibson Sr., a retired MMA fighter himself who helped pioneer the sport in Canada, said the burgeoning careers of Budd, who now competes in the Professional Fighters League (PFL), and his son, means they’ll be out of the country eight times in the coming year.

“I have to put 100 per cent into my family at this point,” he said.

Gibson said navigating the past two years of COVID-19 public health restrictions and closures also hasn’t helped. But, he added, he isn't leaving Port Moody. Instead, he’s hoping to downsize to a smaller facility elsewhere in the city where he’ll be able offer private training to up-and-coming fighters.

Budd is currently the third-ranked 145-pound female MMA fighter in the world. Her last bout — which was also her PFL debut — was a unanimous decision victory over Kaitlin Young, last October in Hollywood, Fla.

She joined the PFL after completing her contract with Bellator. The organization, which was founded in 2018, features a seasonal structure much like other sports, where fighters in its six weight divisions compete in a regular season to qualify for the post season and the chance to fight for a championship prize of $1 million.

In an interview on MMA Junkie, Budd said that structure was an important consideration in her decision to sign with the PFL.

“The league format, knowing when you’re fighting is huge,” she said. “I think that clear trajectory is something that’s very exciting.”

Gibson Jr., a lightweight, improved his pro record to 5-0 last October with a second-round technical knockout of Raymond Pina in Phoenix, AZ.

Both he and his stepmom appeared on the same card at Bellator 257 last April that was held in the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Gibson Jr. defeated Marcus Surin while Budd prevailed over Dayana Silva.

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