Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 49° Clear
Sports >  Area sports

Local MMA fighters Ashton Charlton and half-sister Anisha Nicholson will fight on same card on Friday

Sept. 15, 2022 Updated Thu., Sept. 15, 2022 at 9:15 p.m.

Anisha Nicholson and half-brother Ashton Charlton will fight on the same MMA card in Auburn, Wash., on Friday.  (Courtesy photos)
Anisha Nicholson and half-brother Ashton Charlton will fight on the same MMA card in Auburn, Wash., on Friday. (Courtesy photos)
By Charlotte McKinley For The Spokesman-Review

Fighting is a family affair for Ashton Charlton and his half-sister Anisha Nicholson.

Coached by Spokane’s Rick Little out of Sik-Jitsu training systems, the two have the unique opportunity to fight on the same card on Friday at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, Washington.

Charlton, 22, graduated from North Central High School and was the first of his siblings to start training in mixed martial arts after he watched his friend fight in 2019.

“The next day I was like, ‘Where can I come and train with you guys – when is practice?’ ”

Three years later, Charlton (2-1) has fought three professional fights – one of which was on the Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Pass.

Compared to her brother’s fighting resume, Nicholson, 24, is newer to the sport, having just celebrated her one-year training anniversary in August. A graduate of Post Falls High School, she won her only pro fight.

Like most women, she started kickboxing classes to get fit.

“I just wanted to stay in shape and get a good workout,” she said.

Little had other ideas.

“Rick Little was actually like, ‘Oh, wow, like I actually see some potential in you,’ ” she said. “I started going to MMA classes with my brother, and then from there, I just loved it.”

Unlike most women, she drives an hour one way from Spirit Lake to Spokane every day to train.

She credits Little’s gym to being akin to family as the main reason she makes the drive to train.

“Everyone there wants you to be the best you can be,” she said.

Her brother is no exception, which is one of the reasons she enjoys training.

“We’re always in there goofing around,” she said. “When we need to be serious, we’re serious. We’ll critique each other on what we need to do and give each other the constructive criticism that we need.”

Charlton said training alongside Nicholson and his older brother, Khanian Charlton, makes the sport a better experience.

“We collaborate, and I can see where they’re at in their development,” he said.

Critiquing and guiding his older siblings’ technique is something that came naturally to him, having been in their shoes before.

“It’s kind of hard sometimes getting told what to do by him,” Nicholson said. “I know he’s really just out there trying to make me better and helping me with everything he can.”

That can be difficult when Nicholson and Charlton have different challenges.

“She’s gotta focus on her fight, I gotta focus on my fight, but at the same time we’re gonna be helping each other,” Charlton said.

Being on the same card with her brother was something that Nicholson has wanted since she watched Charlton’s first fight.

“Wouldn’t it be crazy like one day if I fought and we fought on the same card, you know?” she said.

Her dreams will soon become reality.

“I’m excited that we can do it when we’re still in the beginning of our career,” she said. “I know later in our careers we’re going to be able to fight on the same card again.”

Having seen her fight and been in her corner, not to mention his own fights, Charlton thinks it will be a “crazy” time with both of their energies and not just one in the cage.

“I love that they’re promoting us together,” Nicholson said. “Everything’s just working out how I would want it to in reality.”

Alongside fighting on the same card as her brother, this fight is important to Nicholson because it is the first fight she’s had since the death in April of their father – Charlton and Nicholson’s biggest supporter.

Despite the hole their father’s death left, the rest of their family is excited for the two of them to fight on the same card.

Alongside Charlton’s mother, Nicholson’s mother and their other family members, Charlton thinks one fan is especially exceptional.

“It’s cool to see my grandma watching and posting pictures and going to fights.”

Charlton and Nicholson will fight at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, Washington, on Friday at 7 p.m. Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion and Spokane native Julianna Peña is set to make a guest appearance.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.