LYNNWOOD, Wash. - It's a church where you might want to think twice about turning the other cheek. They call it Fight Church - a no-holds-barred, in-your-face introduction to the love and compassion of Jesus Christ... as demonstrated by the bone-crushing, teeth-rattling brutality of mixed martial arts.
"Jesus was someone who never gave up, he never quit," said Pastor Brandon Beals, who calls himself the Fight Pastor. "That's what MMA fighters do. That's what we're all called to do."
Fight Church is a combination of mixed martial arts, marketing and the Messiah. Beals holds fight night parties for major MMA bouts at Canyon Creek Church where up to 200 fans gather to watch the action, and hear the message of Jesus as a tough guy.
"It's just a good entry point for people to develop a relationship with us and begin to know who we are," said Beals.
Fight Church members want to build a ministry for the local MMA community.
"They have people to look after their physical needs, but not their spiritual needs," says Beals. "That's where we want to come in."
The church sponsors fighters like 28-year-old Demico Rogers from Renton. The soft-spoken graduate of Hazen High School who pays the bills by working as a Mercedes Benz technician hopes to become a role model for kids who think thug life is the only life.
"I want to bring them into the gym because once you get them in and they start training they develop a respect for the sport and they won't go out in the street and do that anymore," said Rogers.
But on Saturday at Snoqualmie Casino, Demico's faith was tested. He lost his first professional fight, learning that victory isn't guaranteed, even with Jesus in your corner.
"I'll be back," said Demico. "I believe."