A professional Kansas MMA fighter is in critical condition after deputies said a suspected drunk driver hit her while she was riding her bicycle.

“Our gym is suffering right now for her,” said Marcio Laselva. 

Marcio Laselva has coached Carmella James, 24, for seven years. 

“Everybody really loved her here. She’s just a clown and she’s tough and she helps everybody,” Laselva said.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said James was riding her bike early Tuesday morning when she was struck by a vehicle on Rock Road near 55th Street South.

“She was in her bicycle going to work at 5 o’clock in the morning because she didn’t have money for gas,” Laselva explained.

Laselva described James as a hustler; a woman who had big dreams of overcoming financial troubles.

“She wanted a platform to talk about Jesus, talk about changes, being a voice for the community that you can actually come out of all of these situations,” he said. “She wanted to be seen as an example that we actually can.”

Laselva said it was just a matter of time before James’ dreams came true.

“She was going to make it,” Laselva said. “We actually just signed a contract last week. She was going to fight in Louisiana and I just had to send him a message and say I don’t think she’s going to make it to this fight.”

Laselva said James suffered severe head trauma. He, her family and the local fighting community is asking for continued prayers in James’ fight for her life.

Laselva MMA and Fitness is collecting donations for James’s recovery. Click here to donate to the gofundme.

Larry Gaines, 34, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery and DUI (4th or more). He is being held in jail on a $100,000 bond.