I had the opportunity to chat with Priscilla Choi, an ambitious Muay Thai fighter who celebrated her 3rd amateur victory on April 7th in San Diego at Playboy Fight Night against Kristina Alvarez. She talks about her training and plans to go pro this year.
FighterGirls: Where are you training and who are your coaches?
Priscilla: I am currently training at Throwdown Elite Training Center in San Diego. My main Muay Thai/striking coach is Tony Palafox, who I have been training with since November of 2009. I have also had some help with “Serge”, who has been in charge of my conditioning, and Jhanex Alviz, our other main Muay Thai instructor, who I have been sparring with.
FG: What’s your training like, are you strictly Muay Thai or do you train MMA as well?
PC: I am like an old dog who won’t learn new tricks. I have been doing Muay Thai for about 3 years now, and have had the luxury of having many friends who are great jiu jitsu, wrestling, and MMA instructors, but I have only tapped into it a handful of times. However, this old dog will force herself to learn new tricks…(I’m actually only 24). I actually just recently sparred a few chicks about a month ago to help a girl get ready for her MMA fight and to my surprise, pulled some MMA moves out of my ass. I’ve been in the MMA industry for quite some time, working for OTM Fight shop in PB, and I guess, being a fan and a gym rat, picked up on some moves. So, if the opportunity presents itself, and when my coach gives me the “go”, I will be all over it.
As far as my current Muay Thai training goes, I recently just got, thankfully, a 9 to 5 job, so my schedule is pretty packed. I work from 7:30 to 4, head straight to the gym, always do cardio, and either do mitt work with my coach, spar, or take classes. Although, I have never been a runner, cardio has become my best friend and sprints are the answers to my “gassing out” prayers for my fights. Then 7 o’clock rolls around and I am rushing home to my new puppy, who needs to be walked and pooped, shower, eat dinner, watch some t.v., pack food and gym clothes for the next day, then im in bed by 10:15. Thats my day Monday through Friday, then sparring Saturday mornings with the big boys.
Sparring is one of my favs, actually, it IS my fav. There are not too many girls for me to spar, so I am so lucky to spar with the bad asses of Throwdown. I am usually the only chick in the ring, and the boys are not allowed to hold back with me. Well, Im sure they still do, considering, I cannot physically equal up to a man’s physique or physicality, but we definitely bang. Its so much fun! One particular instance where I shot myself in the foot, was when I kept bugging WEC fighter Greg McIntyre to let me spar him, but being the nicest guy that he is, said that he wouldn’t because he was told “he has no control”. That didn’t stop me, and I finally got the opportunity to spar him one evening. After a few minutes in the round, I thought I was doing pretty well holding my own and working on my technique, then I started going a little bit harder on power and then as soon as I knew it, I got knocked the f*** around with one of Greg’s crosses. That shit made my eyes tear and my head spin, literally. I had a great time though!
FG: This was your 3rd amatuer fight correct? Who were your first two opponents?
PC: Yes, this was my 3rd sanctioned amateur fight. My first opponent was from my old gym Undisputed and the second was from my current gym, Throwdown. Her name was Shanti.
FG: I noticed when you walked out you were smiling and didn’t seem nervous at all. Is there something in particular you do before a fight to stay calm and focused?
PC: Haha….before the fights, I went to the gym to meet my coach, so that we could head out to the fights together and I was out and about, talking to all of my friends who were there training. One of them in particular asked me why I was mingling and didn’t have my game face on. I told him, that was my game face. I love competition and take it extremely seriously, but I love it for the enjoyment, so you can see that in my face. Im just happy to have a fight and to be doing what I love. I don’t get fights that pull through often. Before this fight, I have 4 fights fall through in the last 2 years, so getting the opportunity to fight and showcase what I have been working so hard for, was a blessing. Also, its just my personality. I have always been a social butterfly outside of the gym, and before and after my fights. Its who I am. I think its annoyed one of my old coaches in the past… but I know he loves me ☺
FG: How long have you been training and what got you started?
PC: I have trained for almost 3 years now. Never had any martial arts experience or desire for it before, except for Billy Blanks Tae Bo! I’ve always had a fighting spirit, and a feisty attitude. An ex-boyfriend used to called me “put-up-your dukes Choi”! haha, screw him ;). But I really got into it because I have a friend, Clark Gracie, who I didn’t know what his last name meant at the time, and he was a jiu-jitsu instructor at a gym in PB, and he invited me to come by sometime and watch him instruct. So I finally came in one Saturday and instead of watching his students roll, I was more interested in the Muay Thai class that was going on and decided to just go for it and sign up at that gym. I met my first coach there, Eddie Loco, who became like my father, friend, coach, pain in the ass, boyfriend I never wanted, and coach. With him, I took my first fight after 6-8 months upon signing up at the gym. Then it was love at first fight.
FG: What are your plans for this year…anyone in particular you would like to fight next?
PC: I do plan on going pro. If it’s to just take 1 pro fight or 20, that’s what I plan for my future. I do hope to be apart of the female Muay Thai/ MMA world. i will take on as many fights as possible, whenever they present themselves to me, especially since it is hard for me to find a fight. However, I will always continue to work in the business world. Even though I love fighting, I think it is equally as important for me to use my degree, business management, and see where I can go from there.
FG: We thank Priscilla Choi for her time and wish her the best of luck in the future.