by: jim clark, Eagle Creek's Matt Lindland is known for being a contender in the ring; now he wants to take on the Oregon House.

Matt Lindland has already proved himself as a world-class fighter in the ring as both an Olympic wrestler and a mixed martial arts superstar, but now he's ready to battle in an arguably more brutal arena: the Oregon House of Representatives.

Lindland, 37, says he is running for the House District 52 seat because, according to his campaign statement, 'the Oregon Legislature is in trouble. (I am) running … to change the way business is done in Salem.'

If he plays his cards right this election season, the man known to his fans as 'The Law' could become 'The Law-maker.'

Lindland is a professional mixed martial arts contestant, trainer and manager. He owns Team Quest Gym - a martial-arts focused training center and athletic club - and is a partner in Sportfight, a firm that brings Ultimate Fighting Championship events to the Rose Garden. He also hosts a Sportfight cable television program.

Lindland won the Olympic silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2000 Sydney games, and won gold medals in the Pan American Games in 1999 and 2000.

He hopes to transfer his success and hard work in athletics to the political field, an area in which he, admittedly, has no experience.

Lindland was not available for comment.

Smith says she has 'no reaction' to Lindland's candidacy.

'I don't know him and I've never heard of him,' Smith said. 'He's never contacted me, which is unfortunate. I guess I just have a lot of questions.'

'(My) conservative values are consistent with those of the common-sense, hard-working people of District 52,' Lindland said in his voters' pamphlet statement.

If elected, Lindland says he would champion private property rights, limits on taxation and government spending, bringing accountability to public education, pro-life and 'traditional family' values and individuals taking greater responsibility for their lives.

'No matter how much revenue the state takes in, it is never enough,' Lindland said. 'The tax-and-spender Democrats, who have targeted District 52 for takeover, need only a few House seats to be able to raise taxes at will. Meanwhile, Republican bills that would require efficiency audits of wasteful state bureaucracies never even get a vote.'

Lindland says his formidable physical strength is only a shadow of his mental and ethical strength.

'Often, politicians go to Salem with good intentions but are not strong enough to maintain their values when the lobbyists come calling,' Lindland said. 'Not (me). The voters of District 52 would be hard-pressed to find someone better suited to stand up for them in Salem.'

Lindland's fans have reacted to his candidacy on message boards all over the Internet.

'Matt's extremely intelligent,' one commenter wrote. 'I think he can pull it off.'

'I will move to Oregon just to vote for him,' another remarked.

'Rep. Lindland: 'You don't want to pass my bill?! Why don't you come down here to the floor and say that to my face? Yeah, didn't think so,'' joked another fan.

'How is he going to fight AND be a representative?' asked one commenter.

It is unclear how Lindland would balance his legislative duties with his fighting schedule. Late last month he told mixed martial arts Web site that he just signed a contract with a new fight promotion group.

'I signed a very nice contract for three fights within the next 12 months,' he told the Web site. 'June is supposed to be the first event and then from June (2008) until June (2009) I'll have at least three fights.'

He said he would make more than $36,000 for the several-bout contract.

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