Opening an MMA gym is the culmination of a North Dakota woman’s dreams


Lacota Domine knows this adage all too well. Domine now offers the community an opportunity to achieve their own mental and physical well-being through effort, pain and difficulty.

For Domine, owner of Dominion Boxing-MMA and Fitness in Dickinson, North Dakota, it has always been a dream to open a fitness center that can accommodate boxing and MMA. With her, she brought a family culture to rugs.

Since the age of 8, Domine has lived in Dickinson. While also running a fitness center, she also works as a school bus driver and is a mother of six. Domine’s two youngest sons are American boxing athletes and gym fighters.

“I’ve always wanted to own a gym, it’s always been a passion. Dickinson never offered it and if I could have grown up like these little guys I would have been in it since I was little, ”said Domine. “The only thing I hear about 90% of the time is, ‘It’s amazing. I looked for something like this. When did it open? How long has it been there? ‘

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Lacota Dominates preforming the floor and the pound exercise in his workout.  (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Lacota Dominates preforming the floor and the pound exercise in his workout. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Domine opened the gym in the spring with the goal of providing Dickinson and the surrounding area with health routine options.

From regular fitness classes to professional training, Domine and his four experienced coaches have skills that contrast well with each other and all share the same philosophy of caring for the needs of their individual clients.

Coaches include amateur muay thai / MMA Steven Chartier, American boxing and amateur boxing Channing Schmidt, professional boxer Ryan Bourland and professional kickboxer Howard Lemere.


Howard Lemere is a muay thai and kickboxing professional.  (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Howard Lemere is a muay thai and kickboxing professional. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Bourland, also known as Rhino, retired in 2018 after winning the super middleweight belt with a career 16-2 record. Lemere has his own gym in Williston, Combat Fitness, and has 28 years of kickboxing and muay thai experience. He has also trained professional boxers and UFC fighters.

“Boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, jiu jitsu, self defense, weight lifting, cardio, just fitness, you get pretty much everything,” Lemere said. “The good thing about Lacota is that she has pros here, real pro fighters who coach people and our goal is to get people in the ring or in the cage.”

Lemere is certified in self-defense. Dominion Boxing-MMA and Fitness has self-defense tactics that prepare people for real-life “smoke and mirror-free” situations, he noted.

“(He has) the simplest of movements and it’s mostly to get away from it all. This is not to conquer your opponent or attacker, this is the wrong way to view self defense. Self defense is to protect your life, ”Lemere said. “It’s the realistic part of self-defense, not the spinning jumps, hook kicks, or round kicks. A lot of them just aren’t practical.

Domine said she was extremely happy with the coaches she had on her staff and that they could collaborate and hone each other. Although Domine has her own goal of fighting professionally and training with Lemere, she emphasizes that the gym is suitable for all levels of fitness.

“I work on a personal connection with each client and I know their goals and if there need to be any adjustments,” Domine said. “We have skilled professionals who can go above and beyond if there are other things the client wants to do… If they want to fight, it’s here. If they want a good workout, it’s here. If they want to learn how to defend themselves or their family, it’s all there.

Domine has a strong passion for fitness and wants to be a part of the growth of Dickinson’s healthcare services and culture. As someone who has struggled with weight loss as well, Domine understands the challenges of embracing a new lifestyle.

“I meet them where they are. It’s a bit like taking them by the hand and guiding them step by step on a journey that is intended for them, ”said Domine. “I’ve been on many sides of fitness… I went through a season of my life where I was very overweight and I know what it’s like to be on both sides.”


Lacota Domine poses for a photo during a break from her training.  (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Lacota Domine poses for a photo during a break from her training. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)


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