Jena Vasquez by Trula Howe – Women in Combat Sports Series

Jena Vasquez has been involved in the world of combat sports in New Mexicofor more than a decade.  A mother of three, she first became involved in martial arts when her eldest son (then 5-years-old) started kickboxing; she and her husband soon joined in. At first it was only to stay in shape, but she soon became interested in competing. A couple months later, she had her first fight for Winkeljohn’s AKKA.

Because she had a background in accounting, she took over as treasurer of Rosales Karate and Kickboxing, then a non-profit organization. Tragically, just after that first match, she was involved in life-changing car accident, which put her in the hospital for 11 weeks. She returned to the dojo just 3 weeks after her return home, still wanting to train and fight, but her husband and Sigung Rosales forbade it.  Instead, Rosales recommended she start officiating for combat sports.  So she began to take classes to earn her judging credentials; she now holds Certifications in USA Boxing (Corner & Judge), ABC Boxing (Judge) and was the first Certified Female MMA Judge for the New Mexico Athletic Commission (NMAC).  Over the last 12 years, Jenahas officiated as a ringside judge for 600+ rounds of amateur kickboxing and boxing, as well as over 100 rounds of amateur and professional MMA.

In 2007, she and her entire family moved to Jackson-Winkeljohn’s MMA as members. She began to work for Mike Winkeljohn, first as his personal assistant, then, because of her experience in working for the NMAC, she also helped to put together a couple of smokers.  In 2010, she was referred to Fresquez Productions “Double Threat” card, which featured UFC veteran Keith Jardine and Holly Holm, making her MMA debut.

This was a tremendous experience for her, not just being involved on such a notable card, but also because she had been a judge for Holm while she was still an amateur kickboxer.  Most recently, she was asked once again, by Lenny Fresquez and Doris Robinson of Fresquez Productions, to assist on the “Clash in the Cage” card, which features Holm vs. Finney, and Marx vs. Lovato. “ It has been an honor and a privilege to work for Mr. Lenny Fresquez and Mr. Mike Winkeljohn; the experience and opportunity mean the world to me.” Recently, she left Jackson’s and Winkeljohn, to pursue a business partnership with Scott Marlow, Judgment MMA Management and Associates LLC (www.judgmentmma.com), an organization put together for the purpose of managing of MMA events, sponsors and fighters, both amateur and professional.

Vasquez continues to be one of the Southwest’s “Go-to-Girls”, as a judge, matchmaker and promoter.  “I work hard and I purposely go the extra mile because I enjoy helping others.  When I became involved in MMA on the professional level (officiating) my goal was to be prepared for if my sons ever decide to get into the Cage.  I wanted to know exactly how everything works from Sanctioning bodies to fighting organizations, contracts, promoters, managers, sponsors, coaches, gyms and teammates.  I do mean every aspect.  I’m growing and learning every day.  I’ve made a lot of good friends along the way and hope to make many more.”

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