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Fighting to Change

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Sometimes sports can turn a troubled life into one with a lot of promise.

Mixed martial arts has done that for 17-year-old Nick Beirl. Beirl is set to to fight in Saturday's Night of Champions at the TRAC in Pasco.

But, that is just part of his winning story.

As a young boy, Nick Beirl saw his parents divorce creating a separated home. That left Nick without proper guidance and to a life of violence and street fights. And with that, he got expelled from Kamiakin High School.

"Just being with the wrong kind of people at the wrong time," said Beirl. "All the stuff, you know, that leads up to a lot of kid's anger issues. I decided I'm not gonna try to fight people on the street anymore. I want to do something that will actually help me get somewhere in life."

At 14, Nick dealt with his anger by training to become a mixed martial arts fighter.

"He loves it when he gets out there," said Beirl's Trainer Anthony Hamlett. "He is egging you on, saying, 'Come on let's fight'. He's a showman. He brings the crowd into his fights."

His life started to come together. A year and half later, Nick re-enrolled at Kamiakin. In July of last year, he joined Hamlett's gym to continue preparation to be an MMA fighter.

"He's a very intense coach," said Beirl. "He pushes us to the limit to where we're just about to break, but he won't ever let us break."

The 17-year-old is currently 6-1 and flourishing in the cage.

"I've definitely moved on from immaturity to a more mature and developed outlet of life," said Beirl.

The Night of Champions starts at 7pm Saturday at the TRAC.