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Aug29WedThere's nothing lightweight about Sage Northcutt's faith. August 29, 2018 by Jayne Thurber-Smith
To celebrate his win in Norfolk, Virginia, last November, then 21-year-old “Super” Sage Northcutt treated a raucous Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) crowd to a sermon that Saturday night.
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- Faith & Friends
Immediately after winning the fight, he commandeered the announcer’s microphone to give a message of hope.
“Whatever kind of problems you might be going through, any troubles, if you’re having a hard time at work, maybe having a hard time with your family, whatever it might be, you can overcome that,” he stated. “You have to keep your hopes up. It says in Jeremiah 29:11 that God has plans to prosper you, and to give you hope and a future. He’s not there to harm you. So be keeping the hope up, and look forward to the future!” As he exited with a corkscrew backflip, the crowd roared its appreciation.
Sharing the Message
“Sage brings a different element to the UFC,” Brett Robinson, Sage’s longtime private wrestling coach, told Bleacher Report last year. “You see a lot of bad-boy types who feed off the negative stuff. Sage is the opposite.”
Sage is one of the youngest members of the UFC, a North America-based mixed martial arts (MMA) organization, and has high hopes of becoming the youngest UFC champion. He may be classified a lightweight as a mixed martial artist but there’s nothing lightweight about his work ethic, or his faith. On his UFC profile page, he answers the question “Do you have any heroes?” with “Jesus Christ.”
“I come from a Christian family,” Sage says. “We keep God and the Bible first in our lives. He helps me put things in proper perspective.”
His father, Mark, says God’s power has been evident in Sage’s life numerous times throughout his young career, including broken bones healed through prayer. Early on, the Northcutts were given firsthand confirmation that God had big plans for Sage.
“When Sage was 14, a minister friend invited us to an evangelical crusade,” Mark recalls. “We were sitting in an audience of more than a thousand people. Suddenly the evangelist stopped talking and came down the aisle. He pointed at Sage and said, ‘Young man, stand up!’ So he did. Then the evangelist said, ‘This young man will reach millions with the gospel.’ ”
Afterward, the minister sitting with them said, “Mark, you’ve told me your kids are big into karate, and kids come from all over to stay with you to study karate. Have you shared your faith with them?” Mark said that they hadn’t.
“The gospel isn’t to keep to yourself,” the minister said. “It’s to share with others.”
“From then on, everywhere we go, Sage talks to everyone about his faith,” says Mark.
From Karate to MMA
Sage prays before every fight, that God would help him with whatever he has been training on.
“I always like to quote Bible verses when I pray,” Sage comments, “because the Bible says when you pray God’s Word, He can’t deny it. He doesn’t lie.”
He admits that being so vocal about his beliefs on such a public platform as UFC sometimes might make him a target for ridicule, but he’s OK with that.
“How we walk and show ourselves as God’s children might be the only Bible someone gets to see,” says Sage. “If people haven’t been brought up in a Christian home, sometimes they need us to show them Jesus. I want to share the gospel through my sport. I want others to know that God has all these blessings for us we don’t even know about, until we study His Word and see what He has in store for us.”
Besides introducing him to Jesus at an early age, Mark and his wife, Becky, also introduced a young Sage to karate. He was four when he started watching his older sister Colbey’s karate classes. He begged his mom to let him participate, even though everyone else was three years older. She let him, and he loved it.
Two years later, he and Colbey began travelling the world, participating in various karate events. His dedication resulted in a record 77 world titles by the end of his amateur career. He turned pro after high school, signing a contract with Legacy Mixed Martial Arts, and then in the fall of 2015 he signed with UFC.
Forward to the Future
Besides being teased for his outspoken faith, he also gets ribbed for his model good looks in a sport where his opponent often has a nose that’s been broken in one or two places.
“I try my best to keep my head out of the way of contact,” Sage laughs. “I also have a different kind of movement thanks to my karate background, which helps me avoid getting punched in the face.”
Sage was the youngest person ever to be on the cover of Sport Karate Magazine at the age of nine. He told them at that time he had two goals in life. The first was to one day fight in the UFC, which he’s already accomplished. The second was to star in an action movie, which he is now working on. He recently changed up his hairstyle to more closely resemble actor Dolph Lundgren, who played Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and will be making a reappearance in the sequel to 2015’s Creed, produced by Sylvester Stallone.
“My agent has sent an audition tape of me as Drago’s son to Stallone,” he smiles. “We’re just waiting to see what happens.”
Sage ended his Saturday-night sermonette in Norfolk by letting the crowd absorb all he had said and then concluded with, “I’m looking forward to the future!”