Dancer turned destructor, Vail native Carmen Sawtelle makes her MMA fighting debut at Dobson Ice Arena |

Dancer turned destructor, Vail native Carmen Sawtelle makes her MMA fighting debut at Dobson Ice Arena

Carmen "Sage" Sawtelle, left, makes her mixed martial arts debut against Jesonna Ollis, right, at LFA 39 in Vail's Dobson Arena in May of 2018.
Randy Wyrick|

If You Go ...

What: Mixed martial arts fights, Legacy Fighting Alliance.

When: Friday, May 4. Doors open 4:30 p.m. Preliminary bouts start at 5 p.m.

Where: Dobson Ice Arena, 321 E Lionshead Circle, Vail.

Cost: $35 to $70.

More information: Ten mixed martial arts fights featuring a middleweight title bout and several local fighters. Get tickets at the door or at

VAIL — Vail native Carmen “Sage” Sawtelle, dancer turned destructor, steps into the cage for her mixed martial arts debut at the Legacy Fighting Alliance event Friday, May 4.

She’s the third fight in, so you’ll want to get there early to catch it.

You remember Sawtelle. She was born and raised in Vail, graduated Battle Mountain High School in 2012 and captained the dance team. She studied at Colorado Mesa University and found jiu-jitsu at Hybrid Nation MMA in Avon.

She won seven straight jiu-jitsu tournaments and caught the eye of Ian Heinisch, who knows talent when he sees it. Heinisch, by the way, is fighting for the LFA middleweight title against Gabriel Checco in the feature bout.

Anyway, Heinisch invited Sawtelle to try Factory X gym in Denver, and after a week, she was hooked, she said. She dropped everything and headed to the Queen City of the Plains.

Turns out Factory X trains a bunch of UFC fighters, and Sawtelle trains with them. Some of the lessons come hard and upside her head.

“Iron shapes iron,” she said.

She comes by her athleticism honest. Her dad, Glen, was a professional surfer. Her mom was a pro mogul skier.

Locals Matthew Powers and Ryan Marcinkevich train at Inyodo Martial Arts. They’re on the card, along with Hayward Charles, who fights Christiano Frolich in the co-main event.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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