Nathan White, a 2018 Mountain Valley High School graduate, has his armed raised after earning a amateur victory at a New England Fights event. James Walker photo

 

Joining the Maine National Guard fulfilled Nathan White’s sense of duty to his country, but he also needed to find a sport to satisfy his desire for competition.

The 2018 Mountain Valley High School graduate, who wrestled and played football for the Falcons, decided that mixed martial arts would be the right outlet to satiate those cravings.

“I grew up playing football and wrestling, and once you graduate high school and you are not in college yet, it is just like you have to fill the void,” White, 19, said. “It felt like something was missing.”

He began helping friends who are involved in the sport and he eventually met New England Fights matchmaker Matt Peterson.

“Nate is a lifelong competitor and wanted to try his hand at MMA because he had some unfinished business that he left on the table after his high school athletic career,” Peterson said. “The sport of mixed martial arts provides him with the ultimate competitive platform to test his skills.”

Rumford native Nathan White is ready to take on Justin Kangas in a mixed martial arts amateur bout at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday night. (James Walke photo courtesy of New England Fights)

White will take on Justin Kangas in a 155-pound amateur bout at the NEF event Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

“His opponent, Justin Kangas, is a fully grown man that trains with a great team, so it should make for a really interesting fight on Saturday night,” Peterson said. 

For the past year, White has dedicated himself to the sport as an amateur MMA fighter.

“He’s a great guy, great owner,” White said of Peterson. “There is no other company I would rather fight for. Fighting filled the void for competition and it is so on you (to perform).”

White enjoys the camaraderie and friendships he has establish as a competitor for NEF. 

“I don’t see me stopping in the foreseeable future,” White said. “Like I said, Matt Petersen has been a big, big influence on me growing up in Rumford — same area he is from. 

“His stepson is my best friend. He is a stand-up guy. He is a big part of motivating me in fighting. Hands down, it is the best fighting promotion in the Northeast. I wouldn’t fight for anybody else.”

Peterson is glad to have White competing in New England Fights.

“Nate is a tough, tough kid and knows how to turn it on when the situation calls for it,” Peterson said. “He’s got a great wrestling foundation, but he also likes to bite down on his mouthpiece and strike with his opponents. 

“He’s new to boxing and kickboxing, but he’s embraced the learning process and enjoys it. I’m honored that he’s proud to fight for NEF — and I’m proud that I’ve been able to influence his life in a positive direction because he’s a wonderful human being. We’ve spent a lot of time together and he’s become part of our family.”

White was never involved in the martial arts until recently, but he is a former wrestler, and that skill can be an asset in the cage. 

“I have trained; I am prepared,” White said. “My diet is spot-on. I run every day, a minimum of three miles.

“I am always in a gym getting a workout in. I am pulling out all the stops, putting in the work.”

When White is not training for a bout, he is serving his nation as a military policeman in the 488th Military Police Company. He was recently promoted to Spc. E4. He recently from training in Canada. 

White began thinking of joining after listening to his father’s stories about White’s grandfather, who was an MP in the Korean conflict.

“A lot of family members have been in the military,” White said. “It has been something that kind of grew on me.” 

White is also mulling two other options in his life — attending Southern Maine Technical College and perhaps becoming an electrician or head to Houston to work on a ship.

For now, he is focused on his upcoming fight Saturday.

“I am fighting for my community, and I like to stick to my roots,” White said with pride.