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Interviews female fighters news women's martial arts MMA

Jeff Osborne – The promoter

Jeff OsborneJeff Osborne – The promoter Welcome to our second interview. This interview was done with Jeff Osborne. Jeff wears many different hats in the MMA world, mainly he’s one if the main forces behind one of the best shows in the US, Hook N Shoot and he’s also one of the announcers for a small show that you may have heard of unless you’ve lived under a rock since 1992 called the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Jeff is the main force behind the up and coming all women’s Hook N Shoot card coming up in April of this year. Her’s you chance to find out what it’s taking to put together the first all women’s card in the US.

 

Jeff Osborn Women’s MMA Fight Promotor UFC Commentator

Fighter Girls Tell us what you do for Hook N Shoot and who else is involved.
Jeff Osborne What used to be a one-man-show is now about a 10-person production. We have a 3-camera video crew, Bob from South Carolina and Troy from New York are our stage co-ordinators and help with contracts, Miguel Iturrate is the main matchmaker, Rich Santoro helps with regulatory code and is the U.S. Shooto rep, Darryl Neher along with myself handle all video operations from editing, mixing, encoding and all kinds of other good stuff. As far as my duties, I’m in charge of getting sponsors, local promotion, ticket sales, transportation, radio ads, I also produce the TV show and direct the actual show. Basically, we’re doing the job of around 45 people with about 10 of us.

Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: What possessed you to start Hook N Shoot?
Jeff Osborne – The promoter : I was a pro-wrestler for about four years and was told to put on 80 lbs and I would have a very lucrative job. Obviously, this meant steroids. I had the ability but not the size. I got so fed up with the way things were going and the behind-the-scenes crap that I had to leave it. I saw UFC 2 and walked away for good. In pro wrestling, there are so many make-believe egos and in this sport, there are almost no egos at all. I like that. Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: Tell us a bit about how the first few shows went.
Jeff Osborne – The promoter : First show was a sell-out of about 350 people. It was at a 4-H Boys and Girls Club in a small town called Boonville, Indiana. At the time, I had no clue what to pay people and I lost about $2,000 (later this would be minute)

FG: What is the extent of your involvement with the Shooto Organization in Japan and how did the come about?
JO: We are now basically recognized as the U.S. version of Shooto. They are quite possibly the most respected organization in Japan in the fact that they thrive on having the best fighters and entertain the crowd. They may not be rich, but they are true and have the utmost integrity with fans. We are now 100% Shooto and I’m very happy with the way things are going.

FG: How did you land the job and UFC?
JO: I’ve been doing commentary on our HnS fights for roughly 5 years now. They were familiar with me and our show, knew of my work, I submitted a tape and got it. My knowledge on the fighters also helped. I’ve followed the sport before it hit the U.S. with Pancrase and other groups. Knowing the fighters was a plus

FG: It must be fun being a UFC commentator, what’s your favorite part?
JO: My favorite part…that’s a hard one. I guess being able to talk about something I love so much and have the best seat in the house. The paycheck is also a favorite! Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: What is your Martial Arts background?
JO: Studied some traditional martial arts as a kid but nothing serious. I started training in BJJ and Muay Thai in 1994 after I left pro wrestling.

FG: Do you have any pro or amateur fights?
JO: Yeah, two amateurs and 4 pros. I’m technically 2-2 in MMA I guess. I’m a lover, not a fighter (ha ha)

FG: What are your favorite fight styles?
JO: I’m not a big fan of styles but I am a big fan of fighters who can use their styles to their best abilities. Yves Edwards style is great. He can avoid the takedown and deliver incredible knees and still manage to get out of tough spots. Aaron Riley’s style of boxing, submissions and being able to avoid the takedown makes for incredible fights. Rumina Sato is another who has created a style of his own.

FG: I’ve heard your into video and camera work, also, did you go to school for that?
JO: I chose not to go to college because I knew what I wanted to do. I had three different scholarships and two were fully paid but I chose not to go. I wouldn’t advise anyone else to skip college though! I just jumped in the video production business. There’s nothing like watching a creation take shape on video.

FG: Do you have any other jobs besides what we’ve gone into so far?
JO: I do so many things but it’s all MMA related. So many things to explain. I always get asked what I do for a living and I’m stumped!

FG: Are you married or single? Married.
JO: My wife rocks!

FG: Kids?
JO: My one and only. She’s so unbelievable that we chose not to have another in fear that it may turn out like me! Just kidding.

FG: What’s been your favorite fight that you’ve put on so far?
JO: Hmmmm, my personal favorite fight was Aaron Riley vs. Steve Berger. I worked so hard on an intro video that showed live to the audience and it sent chills up my spine. It was emotional for me because both were my friends and one had to lose. The match turned out to be the only non-UFC/Pride/Shooto to make it into the 2000 Match of the Year Top Ten. It wasn’t necessarily the match but the class they showed before and after it. That to me is why I love the sport.

FG: Who has been your most memorable fighter that you have met to date??
JO: I don’t know. I really don’t get that pumped about meeting anyone. I respect everyone and especially the fighters. No one strikes me as a “superstar”.

Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: What expectations do you have for your show this year?
JO: We will continue to grow as we have over the last 6 years. We like to keep things reasonable where other promotions have failed this year. I was a fighter before a promoter and have seen others mistakes in dealing with promoters. Some ask for so much money that it can drive a company out of business. I look at REMIX for example. Marloes Coenen got $95,000 for winning a tournament and the other girls got paid well too. Granted, I believe the fighters should be making as much as boxers but many are driving companies out of business. REMIX folded and only does two fights per year now, Battlarts in Japan folded, RINGS will officially close in February and so many other U.S. promotions are losing HUGE money. We want to be consistent and give people fights on a regular basis. Blowing a quarter of a million bucks on an unproven show is ignorant and before you know it, no one will be fighting.

FG: What was the reaction from the first female fight you did with Judy Neff and Shelby Walker?
JO: Actually the first fight was Judy vs. Jessica Ross back in March of 2001. This was our first fight and it was a sell-out show. I think people were curious to see what the women could bring to the ring and they weren’t disappointed.

FG: There has been a lot of talk about the all women’s card that you are putting, some very positive some not so positive. I am real curious on why you decided to promote it in the first place??
JO: The negatives are getting less and less. I think some people just want to see something fail. They want to see it fail so badly that they’ll even buy a ticket, which doesn’t make sense. Others are jealous of the women getting so much attention. The positives are that it’s so new, at least in the U.S., that virtually every form of MMA media is calling me wanting to cover it. We’re also getting interest from other magazines and such outside our sport. No special reason why I wanted to promote it. I just want to see who the best woman is!

FG: It must be tough when you have some people telling you it is going to fail, how are you dealing with that?
JO: The same way I deal with every day like. Some people react to negatives in bad ways. I tend to turn it around and shove it in their face when I’m done. Tell me I can’t do something and I will. I’m goal oriented and when I achieve a goal, I’ll set more. Life is boring without goals! Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: Anything you wish to say to those who have supported you through all this?
JO: I can’t wait to meet some of the women face to face. They have been incredible to deal with and great thing about negotiating and just talking to the women is that they just want to fight! I’m glad to be dealing with people who love the sport just as much as me.

FG: Anything you wish to say to those who have not?
JO: Nothing bad. At times, I think it’s funny because with the crew of women that we have on the show, they will do my talking for me and prove everyone wrong.

FG: Some people think that women should not fight, what do you say to them?
JO: Tell that to Judy Neff, Jennifer Howe or Marloes Coenen. The people who are saying that may have some issues to deal with. Last time I checked, this was America and you’re allowed to dream and do what you want.

FG: Are you getting a good response thus far from the fans?
JO: For the most part, it’s been about 95% positive. It’s usually the 5% that gets heard. The response has been great and we’re still a few months out.

FG: Do you plan on doing more all women’s card or mixing them up on the men’s cards?
JO: Yes, I’d like to have Erin Toughill vs. Marloes on our May show. We’re also looking at running single fights on our regular shows as well. Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: Do you think the women cross train enough?
JO: I still don’t think a lot of men cross train enough! Usually, a fighter is good at one or two things instead of the complete fighter. There will be some that are “great” but there will always be some who are the “best”. Women’s fighting is so new that the game will change greatly after this show. It’s going to be interesting.

FG: What do you think women should to get themselves noticed as fighter, besides fight well, that is.
JO: Your web page is a good start! ha ha. Seriously, I found many of the women on the show from your page. I would suggest putting together a sparring tape and sending it to us. We’re not here to outmatch people or have one-sided fights. That’s a waste for everyone! My goal is to produce the best quality matches so if I see someone who is better than a possible opponent, I don’t do the fight. Right now, the best way to get noticed in our industry is the web.

FG: Are the winners of this card going to go to Shooto in Japan?
JO: We’re hoping. This is the first full-sanctioned women’s Shooto event. Judy and Shelby was the first official fight and they’re now listed on Shooto’s ranking pages so I do expect things to get interesting down the road and hope they can come up with good Japanese women to do fights on their shows. Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: The 135lb weight class looks to be a top class for the women, are you planning on doing a tournament any time soon to crown a champion?
JO: I would love to do a tournament but Shooto rules are “no tournaments”. We haven’t done a tournament since 1998 and don’t plan on changing. I would rather do tournaments over a period of shows. It’s in everyone’s best interest to have the fighters fresh. I’ve seen tournis where one fighter has a LOOONNNNGGG fight and his opponent was in for about 20 seconds. You don’t get the best when you do them in the same night. I want to crown a champion around the 125lbs to 140lbs division. That’s where 90% of the fighters are. Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: What kind of turn out are you expecting for this card?
JO: Hopefully a good! 🙂 Seriously, I believe that it will rival our other shows with a good turnout. We’re already getting media attention and we still have a regular show on 3/9/02 to think about. We have had three shows drawing over 3,000 and two of them had a women’s fight. I’m hoping to make this the fourth. Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: Are you promoting this show any differently than the men’s shows?
JO: Not really. I don’t have a lot of help going into this but things are falling into place. I think the ladies will do all the promotion on the web and the curiosity of people here locally will handle the rest.

FG: It is also rumored that the ringside seats are almost sold out, is that true, and if so how does that compare to the men’s show?
JO: It’s not sold out but there is a lot of interest. It’s the earliest I’ve ever had people ask me for tickets! That’s a great sign.  Jeff Osborne – The promoter

FG: Did you have a hard time matching up the fighters or was pretty much everyone willing to fight each other?
JO: Everyone was willing to fight. Like Judy Neff said, some women will only want to fight certain people but I’m VERY confident in the women on the show. I just don’t want to outmatch anyone. The last thing I want is someone getting hurt. We have the best medical record of ANY group in MMA.

FG: I heard you got tons of responses from females fighters for this show, what does a fighter have to do to catch your attention to get on one of the cards?
JO: I got about 40 responses and about 30 were legitimate and serious. The best and the ONLY way to get on a show is a video tape. Be it sparring, training or an actual match, this is the only way you will get noticed. I don’t want some girl with 3 months of Tae Bo trying to get on the show by saying she is a kick boxer. Talk and email means nothing to me until a video shows up. That’s when I take them seriously.

FG: This will be a ground breaking and hopefully trend setting event in the U.S., all of the fighters involved would like to thank you for what you are doing. We will all work hard at trying to prove to the fans that aren’t convinced yet that we are capable of putting on a phenomenal show. Jeff, thank you for the interview and everything else.
JO: I would once again like to say thanks to the women who have agreed to compete. What sucks about the whole thing is that all the great people I’ve spoken to are becoming friends and it’s hard for me to know that 50% of my friends will lose. That’s the worst part but just getting in there to fight is the greatest accomplishment of all. Keep up the great work!

Jeff Osborne – The promoter

Jeff Osborne - The promoter
Jeff Osborne – The promoter

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Categories
Interviews female fighters news women's martial arts MMA

Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter interview

Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter
Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter

Here it is. The first official Fighter Girls interview. This was done with Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter in January, 2002. Sunshine is well on her way to establishing herself as one of the premiere thai boxers in America and overseas. Yes, she’s also the chick that knocked out that guy in a thai boxing match in Arizona, but thats not the way she wants to be remembered, and deservedly so. So thank you to Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter for taking the time to do this, and to everyone else, enjoy.

Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter

FG: What’s your full name?
SF: Deborah Sunshine Fettkether

FG: How or who came up with the name Sunshine? We love it, by the way.

SF: Fettkether is my married name. I’m not sure how my parents came up with Sunshine, but that’s what I’ve always gone by, never Deborah.

FG: What is your height and weight?
SF: I’m 5’8″ 147 pounds

FG: Who are your Coaches and Trainers?
SF: Bob Karmel and Raul Monreal at Back Alley Camp in Chandler, Arizona

FG: How about your training partners?

SF: Oscar Rosas, Danny Brandt and Ian Jarvis are some of my sparring partners. We have a lot of women in the Gym also, but I don’t spar them much because they’re smaller.

FG: Are you single/married?
SF: I’ve been married 4 years to my husband, Mike

FG: Where do you reside?
SF: In Mesa, Arizona

FG: Are you from that same area?
SF: No, I’m from back east. My Dad was in the military so we moved every 2 years or so. When he retired about 8 years ago, we moved to Arizona

FG: How did you get started in kickboxing?

SF: About 5 years ago, when I met my husband, we had both been into martial arts since we were 12 or 13 and decided to check out a new Muay Thai gym that had opened up in Tempe, AZ. We both signed up and I’ve been doing it ever since.

FG: Any styles besides kick boxing?
SF: I started in Tae Kwon Do. I’ve also done Shotokan, BJJ, Wing Chun Kung Fu, and boxing.

FG: How long have you been at it?
SF: Muay Thai, 5 years.

FG: Do you train mainly with men or women?

SF: For sparring, maily men. Although we have a lot of women at the gym, I don’t spar them much because of the size difference. The next biggest woman under me is 130 pounds.

FG: What does your daily training consist of?

Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter : When I have a fight coming up, I train twice a day. Once in the morning, then again at night. I also have to run in between training sessions. A workout usually consists of stretching, jumping rope(30 min straight), 3-5 rounds of shadow boxing, pad work with a trainer(anywhere from 5-12, 3 min rounds, depending on the number of rounds I’ll be fighting), heavy bag work, sparring(3 times a week), If I’m boxing we add double end ball and speed bag.

FG: Do you train full time or part time?
SF: I guess most people would consider that full time.

FG: What do you do for work?
SF: I work at a treatment center for kids with developmental disabilities. I do graveyard, so its mostly paperwork and because of the hours I have plenty of time to train.

FG: What do you believe gives you the edge in competition?
SF: I think my endurance and the training and preparation we do for every fight. If I’m going to fight 5 rounds I go into the fight knowing I could fight 10 if I had to.

FG: What weaknesses do you have that you are trying to correct?

SF: My aggressiveness. That’s something that doesn’t come natural to me and I have to work at it.

FG: Is there another fighter whose style you think you emanate or resemble?
SF: No, not really. I tend to do things my way.

FG: Who are your favorite fighters and why?
SF: I really like to watch Oscar De La Hoya fight. The way he boxes is so technically pretty, he’s fun to watch and to learn from.

About Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter

FG: Who would you most like to fight and under what rules?
SF: I just want a really good REAL Muay Thai fight against a good fighter that actually trains full time in Muay Thai. Not a girl that kickboxes and decided to take a Muay Thai rules fight so she trains knees for a month. Unfortunately, I have to look outside the United States to get that type of fight. I know of NO US female fighter with REAL Muay Thai training willing to fight me. I’m supposed to be fighting Sue Glassey full Thai rules in New Zealand on March 16. She’s a European Muay Thai champion, so I’m looking forward to that.

FG: Do you have any plans to fight in NHB/MMA in the near future?
SF: No, with boxing and Muay Thai I don’t have time to grapple. I’ve done jujitsu before and don’t enjoy it as much as stand up fighting. My first fight was MMA. I got choked out with a guillotine after about 6 minutes. It was suppsed to be one 10 minute round. I had only trained about a month on the ground and a couple months in Muay Thai. I had no idea what to do when she took me down, I wanted to stand. I’m suprised I lasted 6 minutes.

FG: How much longer do you plan on competing?

Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter : I guess another couple years or so.

FG: How many more times do you plan on fighting in that time?
SF: As much as possible. I love to train and fight. I’d fight once a week if it were up to me. Last year I had 6 pro fights, which isn’t bad, but I’d like to have more this year.

FG: What do you hope to do once you stop competing professionally?
SF: For one thing I need to finish college. My husband and I want to have kids. Actually, I’d be more than happy with one, but he wants a couple….we’ll see.

FG: Where would you like to see women’s fighting go?
SF: I’d like to see it get more popular and more accepted so that promoters are more willing to put female fights on their cards. I want to see female fighters looked upon as legitimate athletes who work just as hard as the male fighters.

FG: Do you think women get unfairly ranked in this sport?
SF: There are always going to be those close-minded people who think women should be at home doing laundry or something, and shouldn’t be fighting. Fortunately, those people are becoming fewer and fewer.

FG: Tell us about your recent trip to The Ukraine, How were you treated?
SF: Other than the bad judging and decisions we were treated very well. The decisions in the fights were very blatantly bad. Their Team was very good, really tough, but so was Team USA. I knocked my fighter down twice, she had to get treatment for her left leg because of damage from my kicks, but they still ruled it a draw. The Ukrainians are great hosts, very friendly and eager to show us their country and their way of doing things.

FG: And how was it different from fighting in the US?
SF: It was by far the biggest crowd I’ve ever fought in front of. Kickboxing would never draw those numbers in the US. The production of the shows was very good. Another thing was the cheerleaders….I’ve never had a team of cheerleaders cheering in between rounds before.

FG: What has been your most memorable fight to date and why?

Deborah Sunshine Fettkether Fighter : Probably my first pro boxing match. The girl I fought was really tall and had awesome reach. She had the hardest punch I’ve ever felt, even counting all the men I’ve trained with. She got me really good with a straight right in the second round. I felt my knees start to give out and my eyes closed for a second. That’s the closest anyone has ever come to knocking me out.

FG: Do you have any advice for the new up comers girls who re just starting out?
SF: I know it can be intimidating to walk into a gym full of male fighters and start training. You just have to tough out the first few days or so, know that you have just as much right to be there as any guy in the place. Eventually you’ll get used to it and start feeling comfortable.

FG: Who has been your biggest influence?

SF: As far as the martial arts go, I would have to say my first TKD instructor, Robert Kane. He was very traditional, focused more on street self-defense, not the flashy kicks and fancy forms normally associated with Tae Kwon Do. The way he presented the martial arts to me sparked an interest that will last a lifetime.

FG: Who is your favorite fighter to watch?
SF: Oscar De La Hoya, I also like to watch old Muhammad Ali fights.

FG: What is your record in the different events that you have competed in?
SF: 2-1 amatuer boxing, 10-3-1 amatuer Muay Thai and kickboxing. 1-1 pro Muay Thai. The Ukrainian fights are being called exhibitions by the US sanctioning body (USKBA), so they don’t count on my record.

FG: When was you first fight?
SF: In 1997, here in Arizona. It was MMA. I think we were calling them shootfights back then.

FG: Do you have any other fights scheduled?
SF: Feb 3 in Tanzania Africa vs. Monica Mwasanga and then March 16 vs. Sue Glassey in New Zealand.

FG: Do you find it difficult to strike a balance between being a woman and being a fighter?

SF: No, not at all. I guess I was born to do this, it just comes natural.

FG: Do you think that the people around you like your husband or other close friends don’t treat you like or forget that you’re a woman because you fight?
SF: No, not my husband at all. I don’t feel as though anyone else does either.

FG: What’s the one thing you most want your fans to know about you?
SF: A lot of people, especially locally, know me as “the girl that fought the guy”. I want people to forget about that whole thing. Its over with, it was almost 2 years ago, and I will not be fighting any more men.

FG: What is your favorite past time other then fighting?
SF: Shopping and going to the mall. My husband is the only guy I’ve ever met that likes going to the mall. So I suppose my favorite pastime would be shopping with my husband.

FG: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

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