Not a guy you'd expect fighting in a steel cage

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. JT May III
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Imagine being locked in a steel-caged ring with an opponent who has been trained to inflict punishment every chance he can for a Mixed Martial Arts fight. The fight is scheduled to last a total of nine minutes or simply three rounds. There are three ways to exit before the time expires; knockout, submission or someone stopping the fight.

This is a typical evening for Senior Airman Andrew Lawrence, 66th Training Squadron, water survival instructor.

At first glance of this 5'4, 135-pound Airman you immediately don't think MMA fighter. He's mild-mannered by nature and probably one of the nicest guys you'll meet, but make no mistake he's a proven warrior in the ring who holds a record of five wins and two losses.

"He's an exceptional leader who has the willingness to accept any tasks assigned to him," said Staff Sgt. Michael Pole, 66th Training Squadron, water survival instructor. He's the first one to work and last one to leave."

The Placerville, Calif, native wrestled in high school and always had a passion for physical sports that offered creative outlets.

The urge to start mixed martial arts started three years ago, when he went through Survival Evasion Resistance Escape instructor training as a student. During his training, he was taught the level one and two combative courses.

Even though it was not pure wrestling, he liked the challenge of mixing strikes and kicks.

Airman Lawrence's aptitude for mixed martial arts caught the attention of other SERE Specialists who thought it would be a great idea to pursue further involvement.

On a normal day he starts training in the gym at 4:30 a.m. He begins his cardio workouts, which last an hour and consist of hill running and sprinting exercises to name a few. After the cardio portion, he jumps in the base pool and swims the width of the pool for 30 minutes, with every other lap underwater.

Once this is done, he practices his strikes and kicks on a punching bag for 30 to 40 minutes.

Airman Lawrence is dedicated to training and believes that you get out what you put in.

He also finds time to volunteer as a wrestling coach at a local high school affording him the opportunity to give back to students.

Airman Lawrence will continue to fight in the future because he loves the "mano-a-mano" challenge and says it's a great way to foster camaraderie in his shop because everyone loves to come to his fight to support him and cheer him on.

"Takes a certain kind of individual to get in the ring," said Airman Lawrence. "Nobody likes to get punched in the face that just sucks."