Samantha Teem from Oceanside, California is an amateur MMA fighter and overall wonder woman. All business by day as a CPA and warrior by night in the ring, Samantha is a true fighter girl that we’re excited to see out there fighting and continuing to make a place for women in the world of mixed martial arts. New to the game, this girl is pumped and full of potential in a sport which is rapidly growing and ready for a female invasion. Her competitive spirit and enthusiasm for the future of women’s MMA is what we here at Fighter Girls love to see!
Fighter Girls: How long have you been fighting? What first peaked your interest in MMA?
Sam: I have been fighting for about a year and a half. I got into the sport through my uncle who boxed when I was younger. He was always encouraging me to give it a try and after my first class, I was addicted!
FG: Is the rest of your family as supportive and encouraging of your fighting as your uncle was?
Sam: Most of my family still has a hard time watching me fight, but they do their best to be supportive. My mom especially has a hard time with it, she usually refuses to come to my fights because she gets so stressed out.
FG: What gym do you train at?
Sam: I kind of jump around from gym to gym. I do my cardio and boxing at LA Boxing in Carlsbad. I also do Muay Thai sparring at Triple Threat Fighting in Oceanside. I recently started training at Escondido Fight Club with my coach Adam Griffis. When I fight, I fight under the Blue Ocean Thai Boxing team.
FG: What is your favorite fighting style?
Sam: My favorite style of fighting is Muay Thai because it is so technical and has such an intriguing historical background.
FG: What is a typical day of training like for you?
Sam: A typical day of training for me would begin with either a strength or cardio circuit, followed by technique work on the bag or pad work. I usually finish it up with a good sparring session, either boxing or Muay Thai depending on the day.
FG: How do you feel as a women in a male dominated sport?
Sam: When I first started training, I wasn’t bothered by the fact that I was the only girl in the gym training on that level; I didn’t really even put that much thought into the issue, that was just how it was. The guys that I train with are awesome; they’re like family to me. For the most part, the only time I really get to train with other females is when I spar. The few girls that I do spar with are always a source of friendly competition and encouragement; we always push each other to reach our personal bests. I also think it is great for us to be able to compete in this sport and have the chance to prove that women are just as capable as the men.
FG: What do you feel is the greatest hardship for women in MMA?
Sam: Honestly, I don’t really think of what we as women go through in this sport as hardships. Yes we have to work twice as hard to gain the same amount of respect, and even then there will always be people who will frown on our participation in the sport. But the way I see it, we are simple breaking down gender barriers as every generation of women has done before us; we’re just doing it on a different playing field. The fact that we have to work so much harder to gain the same respect as the opposite sex just gives us that much more to be proud of. What we’re doing today is opening doors for our daughters and every generation of women yet to come in this field.
FG: What is your nickname and how did you get it?
Sam: My nickname is Bruiser; I’m not really a fan of it but it seems to have stuck. I got the name from my first coach because of how hard I kicked.
FG: What has been your most exciting/favorite fight?
Sam: Without a doubt, my most exciting fight was my recent title fight in Rosarito, Mexico. It was my first semi-pro fight, which I was not made aware of until the morning of. I was not at all expecting to get in the ring with no head gear or shin guards, but I have to say I absolutely loved it. My opponent pushed me further and tested me more than any other before her. Even though I lost by decision, it was the most exhilarating experience in the ring as of yet; it brought me to a whole new level as a fighter. I can’t wait for the rematch.
FG: What drives you to continue fighting and training?
Sam: What drives me to continue is all of the potential that the future holds. I love being able to participate in a sport that allows me to push myself and test myself to such extremes. I simply do this because it is what I love and I can’t imagine my life without it.
FG: And with all of your potential as a fighter, what do you feel the future holds for you and the world of MMA?
Sam: As far as the future goes, I hope to go professional within about a year, depending on how my coach feels. Overall, I just hope to continue in Muay Thai for as long as my body allows. To earn a title along the way on both the amateur and professional levels would be a dream come true.
FG: As a fighter, you obviously have a very strict eating and workout routine. What is your cheat/guilty pleasure you allow yourself?
Sam: My guilty pleasure when it comes to dieting is California burritos; they’re so addicting!
FG: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Sam: One thing people would not expect to learn about me is that I am going to school to become a CPA. Accountants usually have this stigma attached to them of being “pencil pushers” and very “by the books” so you wouldn’t expect one to be a fighter. But I look forward to changing people’s perceptions on that. Most of my coworkers don’t even believe me when I tell them about fighting. I usually have to show them a video of a fight for them to really believe me; but they’re usually pretty impressed!