Nikiski’s Britton wins gold at Masters Worlds Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Nikiski’s Mae Britton didn’t take any shortcuts en route to her winning gold at the Masters Worlds Brazilian Jiu Jitsu championships in Las Vegas, Nevada. Four years was all that was needed.

Britton claimed the championship medal Aug. 27 in the Masters 4 middleweight division at the tournament sanctioned by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation. Britton defeated Zenith Jiu Jitsu fighter Teri Froman in a decision.

“I just know (the referee) raised my hand after it finished and I was excited,” Britton said Wednesday via phone. “I just thank Jesus for that and a lot of mental work that it took.”

As a blue belt fighter — the second of five colored belts — Britton competes for Redemption MMA in Soldotna, and it was the coaching staff there that Britton credited for her rapid rise through the sport.

Working with Redemption MMA coach Isaac Kolesar, who began training with Britton in the Alaska Fighting Championship in 2010, along with Kenai’s George Grossman and Anchorage trainer Ryder Spadefore, the 46-year-old mother of four fought through mental and physical challenges to get to what she called the pinnacle of her Jiu Jitsu career.

“The coaches worked hard with me through the year, and from the adult side, you have family, kids and a job,” Britton said. “So you have to maintain that part, you have the choice to come in and work.”

The Masters Worlds championships is one of the most prestigious Jiu Jitsu tournaments in the world, Kolesar said, adding that Britton is not the first fighter out of Soldotna to compete at the Masters Worlds championship, but she is the first to win gold.

“A number of our members have gone there and won bronze, but never gold,” Kolesar said. “She’s the first out of our little school in Soldotna.”

Britton, a welder in Nikiski, had to battle back from a loss at Masters Worlds in 2015. Last year at the tournament, Britton fell to her opponent in the championship match in a submission that she attributed to her mental game.

“I just choked, my mental game wasn’t where it needed to be,” Britton said. “The mental game is probably my biggest hiccup.”

This year, Britton had a better time in Vegas, where 4,000 other Jiu Jitsu fighters arrived for the tournament, which features a one-and-done bracket system. One loss would immediately eliminate a fighter, so Britton had to be perfect.

She won her semifinal, advancing her to the final against Froman, an American fighter with Korean heritage. Britton said Froman, who is also a rugby player, attacked aggressively right from the start.

“That girl was fast,” exclaimed Britton. “When the referee calls you on the mat, you can tap hands, but this chick didn’t even want to tap hands.”

It only took five minutes for Britton to claim the victory, as she managed to get points awarded from the referee by putting herself in an advantageous position over Froman.

Britton competes in the “Gi” class, which means fighters wear the traditional Gi outfit, a cloth jacket with reinforced pants that is held together with a belt. Fighters are allowed to grasp and hold their opponents’ Gi in competition, unlike the “No Gi” class, which fighters are only allowed to grab natural handles of the body like the neck and elbows.

Britton holds a 5-2 record as an MMA fighter in Alaska, where she has been competing since 2007.

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