Giving up a promising MMA career just before hitting your stride would weigh on certain people, but not Jennifer Tate.
The Lodi, California-native, who starred in the 2007 reality TV show “Fight Girls”, found out she was pregnant just before what could have been the biggest fight of her career and a chance to avenge the only loss on her MMA record.
“(Fighting is) fun. I dont think anybody would just want to get in (the cage) and continue (fighting), someone could get in there once or twice to try it. To continue to do it, you have to love it,” she explained.
After three years of taking time off to raise her four boys (three sons and a step-son whose ages range from 11 to 10 months-old), Tate decide to dive head first back into training.
In early November 2012, Tate flew out to train at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp Phuket, Thailand to work on her standup skills with an eye on having three muay thai fights.
“It’s a whole different scene here. You got six rings, you wake up across the street, you got your private training, everything BJJ, you got someone to do your laundry, got all the food you can eat, there is no pressure so you can just train,” she said, “the only pressure here is the pressure you put on yourself. I needed a clear conscious and go train.”
Coming from the world of Tae Kwon Do and amateur boxing, Tate always had the hand skills to do damage.
The elbows, and knees that go into muay thai was something she was not use to in 2007 when Tate was thrown into a fight against WMC World Champion Miriam Nakamoto while on the show. It was the first and only defeat in Tate’s muay thai career, though she came out of the fight hungry to learn more about the art of eight limbs.
Since the show, Tate has amassed an MMA record of 6-1, earned her blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the legendary Cesar Gracie, and beat an undefeated female muay thai fighter in Bangkok at the Queen’s Cup in 2009.
But it’s when she talks about her kids that her face lights up.
“I can’t wait to go back to California grab all my boys, and hang out in a cabin in the snow,” she said as her boyfriend and longtime trainer Moses hold hands.
“Having two babies back-to-back is physically and mentally draining. It’s stressful, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Tate first found out she was pregnant right after her last victory at the FCF-Freestyle Cage Fighting grand prix in January 2010, whose winner would get a contract with Strikeforce. She defeated Kaitlin Young via armbar in the second round, setting up a rematch against Sayna Baszler (who is the only woman who had defeated Tate).
“Before the fights they ask you to take a pregnancy test. I took it and it came out negative. After the fight, I flew home and lo and behold my mom who knows everything told me totake another and it was positive,” Tate recalls.
Though she is still a mother to four boys, the sport still calls to her.
“Its a little itch I wanted to srcatch. I have a pretty full plate. A woman’s work is never done. If Mom’s happy, then everybody’s happy. This makes me happy,” she said.