I got to speak with Kelly Kobold regarding her upcoming network TV debut in EliteXC on October 4th against Gina Carano, funny stories about her teammates from Minnesota Martial Arts Academy and Team Bison, and her introduction to MMA.
Michael Hess – So what have you been up to so far today?
Kelly Kobold – Well, trained today, and right now I’m sitting at work, it’s been a very slow day though, so not a whole lot going on here. I work at a real estate office.
MH – How were you first introduced to mixed martial arts?
KK – You know, I met a boy in college, who is a fighter, Sam Morgan, he is also with EliteXC actually, he’s fighting Duane “Bang” Ludwig, on October 3rd, so the night before my fight, out in Denver. So we became friends in college, and he brought me to one of his fights, and I got into a minor dispute with a girl in the crowd, we
were very cordial with each other, we were almost friendly. I think we irritated each other more than anything, but just in the spirit of the night we decided that we were going to fight, and that is how I kind of got into it. Just a little bit tipsy on a wine cooler or two, and got a little mouthy with a girl in the audience, and all the sudden I had a fight. (laughs) So that’s how I got started. My first introduction to MMA was Sam Morgan, and started training with Team Bison from there. I was coming up on my 3rd MMA fight before I’d ever seen a Pride or a UFC. I had no idea that what we were doing was legal, much less a legitimate sport.
MH – (laughs) So that is what made you decide to start training and competing was that initial incident?
KK – Yes. From there I was hooked, I fell in love.
MH – How did you get involved with the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy?
KK – Well the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy has produced some of the best fighters from Minnesota, and some of the best fighters in the world. Training full time I wanted to get the most diversified training that I could possibly get, so I’m cross-training I’d guess you’d say, I train at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy and with Team Bison. I’m able to train with plenty of different people, with different styles, and take something from both teams and implement it into my game plan.
MH – What is the difference between training with Team Bison and the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy?
KK – Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, for me, is more about technique, and Team Bison is about power, aggression, and game planning. Team Bison is kind of where it all happens for me.
MH – I got to interview Kaitlin Young a couple of months ago, and she said that Nick Thompson was a pretty funny character around the gym, do you have any stories about anyone at Team Bison or Minnesota Martial Arts Academy?
KK – Well, Brett Rogers, who is a top contender in the heavyweight division for EliteXC, I think I was at his 2nd MMA fight. His wife is a really colorful character, she’s hilarious. He was fighting Stan Strong at a local show, in I think
Ellsworth, Wisconsin. And he, you know Brett, he knocks Stan out, just completely knocks him out cold, and he’s lying there crumpled in a heap against the cage, Brett’s wife comes running through and pushes the paramedic out of the way to get into the cage to congratulate her husband. (laughs)
MH – So have you had any interaction with Nick Thompson? Because Kaitlin mentioned that he had pretty much done something to everyone at the gym…
KK – Well, yes, yes. I don’t know if it is something… I mean is this an article that you are going to print or are you going to play the tape somewhere?
MH – Print.
KK – The man’s central relationship is with the genetalia. Nick and I were both fighting on Bodog season 6, out in Vancouver, that was when I fought Julie Kedzie. We’re on a bus, we are actually headed out to the Indian Reservation where we were fighting, it’s an older coach style bus that’s got the vinyl plastic seats. He’s wearing just his gym clothes, it is warm out, and he’s looking down between his
legs, and he goes “oh my God, I sat in gum!” And of course, you look. It’s not gum, he has a testicle pulled out and he’s smushed it against the vinyl, and he basically tricked everyone into looking at his testicle. That sums up Nick Thompson.
MH – Could you tell us the full story about the woman at the YWCA locker-room who saw the bruises and bumps on you from training?
KK – This was at the Y, and I used to work out there a lot, and it’s a beautiful, wonderful, YWCA here in Minneapolis. It is just state of the art, it’s better than most of the Lifetime Fitness out there with pools and slides, and everything. They have this wonderful steam room/locker room set up for the women. I’ve never been
in the men’s so I couldn’t tell you about that. (laughs) I was out of the steam room, I was showering, and as I was getting dressed, it was in the locker room, a woman walks up to me, and she’s fully dressed, and I’m half naked standing there, and she hands me this business card. And she looks at me and hands it to me in a way where I grab the card and her other hand goes on top of mine, sort of like how you’d get a handshake at church from a little old lady. She says “honey, he’s not worth it.” The business card turns out to be a battered women’s center. I have a very strange sense of humor, and I looked at her and I say “but it’s all his friends too.” (laughs) Of course I kept a straight face through the entire thing and I looked down and to the left a little bit, and I’m sad. She’s just like “ahh!” She just leaves and goes “well think about calling the number.” You know, I never did really set the record straight about that with her. (laughs) I am sure there is somebody out there who still thinks there is this poor woman who goes to the YWCA who is passed around and beaten. I think there is a special room in Hell reserved for people like me. (laughs)
Another funny story, oh I got one about Sam Morgan, I don’t think he’ll think this is quite so funny. He’s still never quite gotten over this. I’d only been training for about 3 weeks, and prior to coming to Team Bison and training for MMA, I’d only ever had a women’s self defense class, at the Y actually, and I didn’t know what I
was doing. So I’m in with Sam Morgan, and we’re doing full on go, in a ring, punches, kicks, knees, everything. It was a full on go, you know KO, TKO, submission, anything you could get. I get clinched up with Sam to avoid getting hit in the head, and I’ve got this over/under position on him and I step in, and I had no idea what this was at the time, but my coach, Mike Reilly, yells over “high crotch, Kelly, high crotch.” I actually turned, I look at him, and Sam being the sport he is, says alright I’m going to let her get this high crotch, she needs to learn it. I look over at my coach, and I go “are you sure? Really? Well, ok.” He goes “yeah, yeah, high crotch.” And I push back and knee him full force in the crotch. (laughs) In the self defense class that I’d taken, that was a high crotch. I’m thinking “you said I could.” (laughs) I definitely had to be a little more
clear about that. That was one of my first nicknames ever was “Do That.” Because I would just mindlessly do anything that was shouted at me in the cage or in the ring. (laughs)
MH – What do you do in your downtime to relax?
KK – I don’t have any downtime. I love Netflix, reading, I read about a book a week.
MH – What type of books?
KK – I’m a little OCD about this. I start an author, and then I have to finish whatever that author has written. So just recently a couple of months ago, I finished with Dean Koontz and Stephen King. That was a long freaking list. Now a new author, well new to me, John Sandford, who actually writes a murder/mystery series out of Minneapolis here.
MH – Do you have any favorite bands or TV shows that you like to check out in your limited downtime?
KK – Tool is my favorite band. I absolutely love Tool. Then a close second is A Perfect Circle, mainly because of Tool. Because of Maynard. I’m a big fan of that. Although it’s really strange, Tool has got to be my favorite band, but my genre of music that I typically fall into is light rock. I’m definitely a Delilah girl. (laughs) It’s a little bit of an oxymoron there. The only time I ever really do listen to music is in the car. Otherwise at home or even during my workouts it’s whatever, whoever wants to put on at the gym. Although lately it’s been a lot of
straight up old school Johnny Cash. Let me tell you, you’ve never had a hard workout until you’re doing it to Johnny Cash. That’s interesting.
MH – So what is the most exciting part about being featured in this matchup in EliteXC on CBS?
KK – I would have to say fighting in front of millions of viewers is fairly exciting.
MH – So where are you at in your training for the upcoming bout against Gina Carano?
KK – Well actually I’m about a week away from peaking. (laughs) I’ve had a very good training camp, it’s been fabulous. I’ve been blessed with my work schedule, I’m able to train in the morning, work in the afternoon, and then train in the evening. I’ve got that routine down 5 days a week, and add an additional one on the weekends, and there you have it. So I’m able to get everything I need to get in, and I feel ready.
MH – So are you doing anything different in your training for this fight?
KK – Definitely I’m doing some different stuff. Absolutely have to pop the API, theAthletic Performance Institute. You’ve seen Kaitlin’s video online, my video has been posted on FighterGirls now and YouTube. Sean Sherk with the UFC Inside Access. I’m a true believer in the API, it’s just wonderful strength and conditioning, and it’s never boring. I sometimes have, you know, a little bit of a focus problem, I
gotta say I’m pretty ADD about stuff. The workouts, they hold my attention, that really says something. I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt, and my conditioning is great. API is definitely something I’ve done differently with this cycle.
MH – Speaking of videos, I’ve checked out a couple of your fights on YouTube including Adrienna Jenkins and Holly Thomas, and the way you came out to start those fights was incredibly aggressive, almost a brawling style, is that something you plan on bringing, and putting the pressure on Gina Carano to start this fight?
KK – Every fight that I try to do is very high paced. I try to push the action. I’ve got great strength and I’ve got great cardio, and I definitely try to push the action. So I don’t sit back and let somebody decide how fast the fight is going to go. I’m not a counter fighter. I’m an aggressive fighter.
MH – I read in a recent article that you said this is your “opportunity to show” what you’ve got, what do you plan on displaying on October 4th?
KK – I just plan on displaying strength and aggression, grit and guts, technique. I definitely use technique, but I definitely want to show that there are many women in female MMA, there are many women, not just Gina Carano versus some chick. I was fairly disappointed with how they’ve been promoting Cyborg. She fought on CBS and she won, and there’s very little media attention surrounding her fights. I definitely don’t think that winning this fight will make me the face of female MMA.
It is not a position I can steal from Gina Carano by beating her. I just think that it’s going to open up the division a little bit more, and force a little bit of the attention to be spread to other women as well. That is what I hope to accomplish by winning this fight. Of course I want to win because I want to win, because I love fighting and I love winning, but that is what I want to show the world.
MH – Well we are all looking forward to seeing this fight on October 4th in the EliteXC on CBS, and I certainly wish you the best of luck and thank you for the time to do this interview.
KK – Thank you very much.
MH – Do you have any sponsor you want to give a shout out?
KK – I do, yes please. Definitely give a shout out to Big Black Security, MMA Overload, Island Nutrition, Fight Chicks, API Athletic Performance Institute, obviously Team Bison and Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, MMA Warehouse, and Island Supplements.
MH – Oh I have one more question for you. When I was watching your fight with Adrienna Jenkins on YouTube, as you were being introduced, it looked like you may have been doing a little bit of dancing, can we expect to see some of that before your fight with Gina Carano?
KK – Well I’m a terrible, terrible dancer, but I do believe in staying loose and having fun, and I have fun dancing even though I’m awful at it. Yeah it keeps me loose, especially if I have a great entrance music song. Absolutely.
MH – Do you already have your entrance music song picked, maybe like AEnima by Tool?
KK – I wish, and actually it would be Swamp Song. I just think it’s amazing for a fight intro. They’re not going to let me use it of course. They are going to pick it for me. We don’t get to pick any of our own music at all. At least I don’t anyway. I am at the mercy of whatever they do. So I might come out doing a line
dance depending on what they put out there for me. Who knows. It all kind of looks the same anyway, like Jim Henson’s The Muppets.
MH – Well thanks again for the time, we really appreciate it, and good luck.
KK – Well thank you, and you have a good day, this interview has been very fun.