When Mark De La Rosa opens the show Saturday against Raulian Paiva at UFC Rio Rancho, he’ll set in motion a history-making chain of events that will conclude when his wife Montana touches gloves with Mara Romero Borella a couple hours later. As soon as that main card matchup is underway, the De La Rosas will become the first UFC husband-wife duo to fight on the same card.
Just don’t ask them to get too excited about it before then.
“When we get those two wins, Saturday night when the fights are over, it will sink in then, ” explains Mark.
“At the moment I don’t think about it too much,” agrees Montana. “But later, down the road, it’s going to be like ‘Wow, we fought on the same card together! We made history.’”
It won’t be the first time they’ve done so. Their very marriage resulted in UFC history as the first husband-wife team on the roster at the same time. And just a few fights into promising careers in their respective flyweight divisions, it stands to reason there will be more chances to add interesting entries to the UFC record books.
But, of course, they didn’t get married to have interesting footnotes written about them. Inseparable since meeting in their late teens, the couple have the unique experience of excelling at the highest level of their chosen profession with the love of their life alongside them for the highest highs and the lowest lows.
“It definitely had its ups and downs,” Montana admits of being in fight camp at the same time as her husband. In addition to the dieting and the grueling hours in the gym, there’s the matter of running a household and caring for daughter Zaylyn.
So who packs the lunches and does the laundry when Mom and Dad are both in camp?
“Montana is a superwife / supermom. She does all that,” beams Mark proudly. “We have a tough training schedule, but as soon as we get home she’s no longer a fighter. She’s an amazing wife and amazing mother. Supermom.”
No easy feat, to be sure. But being in the rare position of perfectly understanding their spouse’s profession is one of the anchors that helped push them through these last few weeks.
“We trained together a lot, we helped each other out a lot in camp. We were there emotionally for each other. We were focused on ourselves, but also each other.”
So does that mean fighting on the same cards will be a regular thing? Not so fast.
“I think Saturday when the fights are over,” Montana laughs. “We’ll see if it was a good thing or a bad thing.”
It might be silly to say something like “the family that fights together stays together,” but when it comes to Zaylyn, it’s not surprising that she’s showing an interest in the family business.
“She wants to go to the Olympics for wrestling,” Montana says of her daughter, who will be in attendance Saturday for the milestone. Mom is a three time All-American wrestler in high school herself, so truly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“It might lead to fighting, but whatever she wants to do, we’re going to support, for sure,” says Mark.
So as they write the blueprint for future husband-wife duos in the UFC, what advice would they offer those seeking the fighting/family balance?
“We need advice!” Montana shouts.
“We’re still figuring this out,” Mark agrees. “If you ask me about a year from now, I can probably give you some solid tips, but right now we’re still figuring it out.”
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