The Navy St. gym is just days away from possibly crowning another champion, for real. Juan Archuleta will fight Patrick Mix for the vacant Bellator bantamweight title in the Bellator 246 headliner on Saturday, Sept. 12.
Similar to his past fights, Archuleta will represent the fictional gym, Navy St. Along with Joe “Daddy” Stephenson, Archuleta was a member of the Navy St. gym on the show “Kingdom.” The show aired for three seasons on Audience Network from 2014 to 2017, but recently made a resurgence on Netflix this summer.
Byran Balasco, the writer of the show, attended one of Archuleta’s first fights. Balasco sat next to Archuleta’s family, becoming inspired by Archuleta’s performance and the atmosphere of the event.
“Every different type of feeling he [Balasco] wanted to feel from a crowd, from a fight, he was like, ‘Dude, it was awesome.’ I was like, ‘Thanks man, I appreciate it,” Archuleta said.
“Joe Stephenson, a man of great ideas, he said, ‘Hey, I have an idea, if it’s OK with you, let Juan fight out of Navy St. for the rest of his career.’ He [Balasco] was like, ‘Dude, would you do that?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, absolutely, I don’t mind fighting out of Navy St., I would love to.”
Archuleta’s contributions to the show stretch beyond his cameo appearances. He served as the MMA consultant for a portion of the show.
The 32-year-old sees his story in many of the characters on the show. His decision to choose between the UFC or Bellator is one of those moments. Fast forward to now, Archuleta is seven fights into his Bellator career with an opportunity at promotional gold.
The show may never return for a fourth season, but if it does, Archuleta hopes to bring the Bellator belt to the screen.
“That’s why at the end they tell Ryan, we’re either going to Bellator or the UFC because I was son that fence and they wanted to bring the reality into the show,” Archuleta said. “Obviously I went the Bellator route, so it was cool to see that transpire and happen.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.