Interviews female fighters

Interview Samantha Teem MMA Fighter

Interview Samantha Teem MMA Fighter

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. Samantha Teem competitive spirit and enthusiasm for the future of women’s MMA is what we here at Fighter Girls love to see!

Interview Samantha Teem

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!

Samantha Teem
Samantha Teem

About Samantha Teem

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.

Samantha Teem Female Fighter

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!

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Published on: Mar 19, 2013 @ 23:59

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Interviews female fighters news women's martial arts MMA

Interview Debi Purcell MMA Pioneer

Interview Debi Purcell MMA Pioneer

Interview Debi Purcell MMA Pioneer  Check out Debi Purcell’s interview with Banana Fusion Magazine. Fighter Girls founder and Women’s MMA pioneer Debi Purcell chats about continuing to live her life to the fullest and what women MMA means to her.

Interview Debi Purcell MMA Pioneer

Hi Debi, please tell us how did you get into this sport?
I started JKD, Muay Thai & boxing when I was pretty young, then later was working out with some of the original UFC fighters before the first UFC and thought when I heard about it, “I am going to do that one day” (laughs), I then moved to South Orange County which was absent of Muay Thai gyms, so I took up Taekwondo and started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where one of the Gracie’s was teaching gi after the tkd classes. After that I started training with Chris Brennan where I was introduced to submission grappling and started competing & training in a cage.

I then found Marco Ruas and after working with him for a while and getting my butt kicked daily, I started to feel like a true mixed martial artist. I had been looking to get a fight for a very long time, asking any promoter who would listen but had an impossible time. Finally after so long of me searching, Brad Kohler with UWM found a fight for me so I was able to have my debut in MMA.

Interview Debi Purcell

Debi Purcell Female Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

Debi Purcell (the cheerleader) vs Debi Purcell (the fighter). Why did you make that transition?
I was a cheerleader because my dad was a football coach and my brothers players. As a child, all I really wanted to be was a olympic gymnast, but as I grew into a teenager I was pretty rebellious loving punk music (unpopular at the time) and fighting, so fighting resonated with me more. I was really in love with the training & the philosophy though, and found it a perfect outlet for myself. Since childhood I’ve always had the need to train my body and mind, but never quite felt right fitting in with the masses or keeping up with the Jones so Debi the fighter seemed like a better choice, although at the time not the most popular one .

Debi Purcell Early Years and Childhood

You have achieved a lot so far in your career. What more are you looking to accomplish?
Well thank ya for that ! What I want to accomplish now more then anything, is spending as many moments as I can living my life in joy and experiencing as many new exciting things as possible. I like to explore the unknown and I apparently have a desire to pioneer new things vs following what most people think is worth doing at the time, not always the easiest path but seems to be my way. Yesterday MMA wasn’t popular, today it is, tomorrow who knows, so doing what makes me happy in the moment is pretty much the most important thing to me. It’s also very important for to me to inspire others to follow their passion & never give up no matter where it may lead them. How that translates to a career achievement I’m not exactly sure. (laughs)

What accomplishment are you most proud of? And why?

For being brave enough to do what makes me happy despite how it looks on the outside or anyone’s opinions of it. I am proud of going to school and learning HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), Dc’s Mechanical as that was difficult for me but gave me a solid base on how energy works. For all the work I’ve done in MMA, I’m probably most proud of myself for never giving up when it seemed impossible for opportunities in the fight game & for creating opportunities for myself and others when there were seemingly none. I would say my greatest accomplishment thus far though ( and it took me a awfully long time) is realizing I don’t have to “be” or do anything to feel worthy, that I am just because I exist. We all are, it’s just difficult to see at times.

What can you tell us about

Well It was started 16 years ago ( I think) and was originally started as a space to help bring the women and promoters together in the sport. There was so few of us. I wanted to find fights for myself and for others and have a place for the women to unite, get news, share information & gossip (laughs). The site was rebuilt quite a few times and thanks to other fighters and people giving their time graciously we were able to be that source.

Interview Debi Purcell

My partner and best friend Chad and I exhausted a lot our finical resources throughout the years to keep it going, so I am just fortunate everyone helped so much and believed in it as much as me. I do believe it was instrumental in helping women’s MMA grow at the same pace as the men, as opposed to trailing far behind, that was always very important to me. Today it is becoming more of a store for the ever increasing Fighter girls apparel line, so although we still have news we are focusing mostly on the girls we sponsor and apparel. We work with some amazingly talented girls and women so I am especially grateful for them.

And what do you think about WMMA now, and how it is evolving so rapidly?

Well I am overjoyed that women are finally getting the same recognition and opportunities as the men. And I think the world is finally seeing it as just MMA as opposed to women’s MMA (laughs). I think its evolving rapidly because MMA in general is evolving rapidly.

Do you think women fighters will ever be seen as true MMA fighters and not sex symbols in all parts of the world?

I am only asking because of what happened with Miesha Tate vs Cat Zingano match that was supposed to be held in Sweden and was rescheduled because it was too sexual for the Swedish fans…
Yes of course, like I already said, even with the men there have been fighters fighting on the big show(s) because of marketability as opposed to being the best fighter deserving to be there. I think as a rule in general women in sports will always be noticed more if they are pretty and marketable aka sex symbols, but I don’t see a big deal in that actually. Only if they do not have the talent to back it up.

Interview Debi Purcell MMA Pioneer
Interview Debi Purcell MMA Pioneer

Interview Debi Purcell

What is different about MMA (mens and women’s) then some other sports is that it’s not always the best competing against the best, a lot of it is who you know, how marketable you are, etc. This can make it disheartening for professionals who put their life into something never knowing if they will be able to make it strictly on their ability and dedication, and that I find utterly ridiculous. As far as the fight you’re talking about I hadn’t heard about that. But my guess is, there is more to the story then it just being to sexual for swedish fans, maybe they just prefer watching men sweat against and on top of each-other.

Who are you favoring in that match by the way? And why?
I do not pick favorites. I do have a incredible knack for calling fights, but usually just share with friends.

Which female/male fighters are you a fan off?

I am still a huge Chris Cyborg fan and think she is the best women fighter in the world today. I also respect Rhonda Rousey’s skills (she’s a good example of having skill and being marketable ) and I knew she’d be a star the first time I watched her fight.

You sometimes refer to yourself as ‘clothes freak”. I am curious to know the story behind that nick name.
HA! Well I’m just a “freak” by nature, that’s what people tell me anyway. I just really love clothes. I created my own style and made a lot of my own stuff when I was a teenager because I was broke and there wasn’t much sold in stores I liked. I did the same thing with Fighter Girls. I couldn’t find anything I liked to train or fight in so I just started designing stuff for myself. I will probably always have a passion for clothes and be a “clothes freak”

Interview Debi Purcell MMA Pioneer
Interview Debi Purcell MMA Pioneer

And your fighting nickname “Whiplash” and Queen of the cage?

Some guy was clowning me on the web years ago, so I coined it to make fun of myself & of the arm chair warrior. I also received the Queen of the cage when I was the first female Fighter for King Of The Cage Promotion

Any specific person you owe your success too?

In Life Kevin Moore, Chad Moechnig, my parents, Seth, Bashar. In MMA and life Marco Ruas, Jeremy Williams, Gennaro Hernandez, and all the kick ass women of MMA who’s dedication & integrity made possible what is now reality for a lot of people. Thank god I’ll never win an academy award I’d be up there thanking people for hours.

What do you do in your spare time… If you have any? (Laughs)

Well I just got back from doing ayahuscua in the jungle with the Ecuadorian shamans where I shared visions with an 83 year old shaman. Simply amazing! I thought nothing could top that, and then I went to Dominican Republic to swim with the humpback whales with a channeler group and was blown away all over again. The whales are our family and want to communicate with us (this is another area I want to explore more often). I also am planning to solo hike the pacific crest trail from Mexico to Canada 2700 miles, which I’m guessing will take me 3.5 months and spend as much time in nature and alone as possible mediating. Sounds stupid I know, but thats what I do in my spare time (laughs).

What future projects are you working on?

Doing my damnedest to not think about the future and stay in the “now”. Oh yeah and I’m writing a book about my experiences in MMA, it should be very funny and enlightening if anyone ever sees it. If not it’ll be funny and enlightening to me, HA! Also, I am heavy lucid dreamer & very intrigued with energy transformation, space time & parallel realities & think my linear future will have something to do with exploring that.

Final words?
I hope these are not my final words! Published on: Apr 16, 2013 @ 00:01

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Debi Purcell - Founder of Fighter Girls Debi Purcell



Debi Purcell MMA fighter
Whiplash! Queen of the cage
Interviews female fighters

Interview MMA Fighter Amanda Haller

Interview MMA Fighter Amanda Haller

Interview MMA Fighter Amanda Haller Amanda Haller training out of Crest Combat Conditioning in Grand Junction, Colorado is new to the women’s MMA scene with an interesting start-up. Haller competes in the NPC (National Physique Committee) as a body builder and works as a personal trainer at Fruita Health Club.

Interview MMA Fighter Amanda Haller

Amanda fell in love with female mixed martial arts and with just over a year of training under her belt, she is out there learning the sport and fighting. With a love of women’s MMA and a determination that can’t be broken, Amanda Haller is a true Fighter Girl. Take a look at our interview with her and see how this buff beauty does it all!

FG: What was it that got you started in MMA?
Amanda: My dad is a boxing fanatic! Some of my earliest memories are of watching boxing with my dad. When I was young I told my dad I wanted to be a fighter so he got a heavy bag and taught me how to throw a punch. Years later I brought my kids into an MMA gym to try kickboxing, about a week later I was training there 5 days a week.

Interview MMA Fighter Amanda Haller
Interview MMA Fighter Amanda Haller

About Amanda Haller

FighterGirls: Before MMA you started out as a bodybuilder competing in the NPC as well as working as a personal trainer. How did competing in the NPC prepare you for and bring you to MMA?
Amanda: I started out competing in the NPC. Within 6 months of my first competition I became a personal trainer about a year later started training MMA. I feel like because I had trained for and competed in the NPC the conditioning and diet aspect of MMA wasn’t as big of a shock for me. I was already used to weight lifting and high intensity cardio so training for shows has definitely helped me stay in shape while I am not training for a fight.

FG: How long have you been fighting and what type of fighting do you train in?
Amanda: I have been training for over a year but I took my first fight in January. I train in kickboxing, boxing, Jiu-Jitsu. I love cage work and ground and pound. I usually want to take it to the ground pretty quick.

Amanda Haller Female Fighter

FG: How do you feel as a woman in a male dominated sport?
Amanda: I think that most male fighters are accepting and supportive of female fighters. I primarily train with guys. When we train I am just another member of the team, they do not go easy on me or give me breaks, I am expected to go just as hard as they do. It is very empowering to train (or even out train) guys that are stronger and bigger then you. I would recommend training in a combative sport to any woman. Whether it’s to compete or just for fitness, knowing that you have the tools to defend yourself is an awesome feeling, you are really able to find out what you are made of.

FG: What do you feel is the greatest hardship for women in MMA?
Amanda: Being taken seriously and finding opponents

FG: Who do you feel doesn’t take women seriously in MMA?
I find that other fighters, male and female are extremely supportive and
absolutely take each other seriously. I feel it’s spectators who tend to take female fighters less seriously, but with women in the UFC now and organizations like Invicta things are starting to change.

FG: What is your nickname and how did you get it?
Amanda: Sweet tooth, I have a massive candy addiction!

FG: What has been your most exciting fight?
Amanda: My debut I fought Riri Whiting. It was easily one of the most exciting fights on the card. With 20 seconds left in the first round my arm was broke due to a key lock submission from guard.

FG: Ouch, a broken arms sounds like it could have been a set back. How did that effect your outlook?
Amanda: Having my arm broke in my first fight was a huge set back..I absolutely felt discouraged, but more importantly felt more motivated then ever. Not being able to train only made me want to train more. I think this injury truly tested my dedication to MMA and only made me realize how much I love this sport. Although I definitely wish the break hadn’t happened I have been able to learn a lot about myself. I know I will come back a completely different fighter. Healing is going great. I am back to where I left off with my training and will be fighting June 8th in Denver, Co.

Interview MMA Fighter Amanda Haller

FG: That’s great determination you have! What is it that drives you to continue fighting and training?
Amanda: I love this sport! I have never been so passionate about anything so it’s easy for me to get up and go to the gym or get into the cage for a fight, but lately there have been more and more young girls and teenagers in my gym. When they tell me they came in because they saw me fight or get excited when I help them train, it makes me realize how much good women’s MMA can do. It’s helping girls feel confident, strong, and empowered and that definitely drives me to continue.

FG: What does the future hold for you in the world of MMA?
Amanda: Going pro and holding a title is a must. I feel like MMA will always be a part of my life so a long term goal would be to open a gym and coach others.

FG: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Amanda: I am a total soccer mom (she laughs). I have a 9 year old daughter and a 6 year old son. My son has been wrestling since he was 3 and also participates in boxing classes. My daughter still trains Jui-Jitsu and judo. My kids are my biggest supporters, I couldn’t do any of this without them.

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Published on: Apr 16, 2013 @ 00:00

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Interviews female fighters news women's martial arts MMA

Zee Pitbull Vjesalicu MMA Fighter Interview

Zee Pitbull Vjesalicu
Zee Pitbull Vjesalicu

Zee Pitbull Vjesalicu MMA Fighter Interview

Zee Pitbull Vjesalicu Interview is one of female NHB’s pioneers of the sport, she has an impeccable record of 10-0, and is one of the sports Top lady contenders. What drives this lady to train so hard, WHY has she not fought in at least a year, and what makes her tick? Some have said that she’s is one of the most ducked female fighters in the sport today, find out what she thinks of that and more.

Female MMA Fighter Zee Pitbull Vjesalicu

FG: Zee could we have your full name.
ZV: Zvyonzek Radzhek Vjesalicu

FG: How about your height, weight and date of birth?
ZV: 5’4 ..I don’t like to tell people my age, as I do not want to be judged
By it, but I will say that I am over 30 but under 35.

FG: Where were you born, and why did you decide to move to America?
ZV: Poltava Ukraine. I came here to attend school on an exchange program but sport had lots to do with it as well.

FG: What age did you start martial arts training and why?
ZV: I started Judo in 1985, did some boxing training..then found Jiu-Jitsu in 1996.

FG: What belts do you hold in MA.
ZV: 2 time IFC Light Heavyweight Champion
2 time Chicago Challenge Light Heavyweight Champion
Extreme Shootout Light Heavyweight Champion
World Extreme Fighting Light Heavyweight Champion
Canadian Open Jiu-Jitsu Champion 1998
Canadian Pankration Champion 1999
Sacramento Capital City Grapplers Superfight Champion 1999
NAGA Heavyweight Grappling Champion 2000
Grapplers Quest Superfight Champion 2000
There could be more but I don’t remember all the fights I have fought.

Zee Pitbull Vjesalicu Interview

FG: Do you train full time or part time, and can you tell us a little about it.
ZV: Training is part time right now as work takes first place. There is not enough money in fighting right now for me to do it full time. I am working more on stand up right now as I know the value of being able to be multidimensional in MMA.

FG: What is your record?
ZV: 10-0 in NHB

FG: Tell us about your first MMA fight.
ZV: It was in the IFC in Baton Rouge back in 1997. I won’t lie here. I was scared not of the fight itself but more of losing as people, especially my friends had expected me to win. But once we tied up and were in the clinch there was no time to be scared. It was autopilot from there on. I have to say after that fight I was hooked.

FG: What made you want to fight MMA the first time?
ZV: I guess I wanted to try something new and I had the Judo background. I thought what the hell, I had always done well in street fights before. That is not something I am proud of but when I was younger I used to scrap a lot. I have to say that I would much rather fight in a venue than on the street.

FG: How was it for you as a female fighting so long ago, did people accept you?
ZV: I think at first they thought it would be like a freak show. But I never provided people with thoughts of anything but “I am for real”. I guess it also in the way one carries themselves

FG: Why do you fight, what makes you tick?
ZV: I like to test my physical side plus sport is sport. I have no hatred for anyone I face n the ring or cage. It is sport where two people compete to see who is best.

FG: You were a power lifter, correct? Could you tell us a little about that?
ZV: Yes, I started through one of my roommates who lifted and I got me involved. I competed only for one year but won every contest that I entered. My favorite and best lift was my bench press. My best Bench was 335 lbs at a bodyweight of 165 lbs.. I stopped lifting competitively because of the drug issue. Basically most of the people who competed at the National or International level were on something and I just did not want that to be in my life.

FG: You play/played hockey for a lot of your adult life, how did you get started in that?
ZV: My brothers and father played. So, It was natural for me to play as well. I love hockey, actually I live for it. There is nothing that I would rather do, as much as I like MMA, Hockey is my best sport by far. I also have been teaching which is rewarding. I just got back from Vancouver playing AAA hockey there. Wherever I live, there has to be hockey, otherwise I won’t move there.

FG: What do you think about how female MMA is viewed, and what do you think could be done to help improve it?
ZV: Actually, I think it is changing big time because there are so many good fighters fighting now. I think when I started people were not sure about it.

FG: Who would you most like to fight and why?
ZV: I don’t have any one I would say is on my list right now. Anyone right now will do. And I am not being cocky here, it is just that I have not fought in over one year so I am kinda itching to get back in there.

FG: Rumor has it you are going to be fighting Erin Toughill for Ultimate Athlete What is your feeling on this fight, and do you think it will be a easy fight for you?
ZV: I have no problem with fighting Erin. I know she will be good competition and she will be gunning to win like all of us who step up. I don’t underestimate anyones skill because anyone can be tapped out or knocked out if they are not taking other fighters serious. Anyone can land that lucky punch or secure that submission. The level of women fighting now is good enough that we all should be concerned.

FG: There is a significant height difference between the the two of you, do you feel that will help you or hurt you?
ZV: I have fought people much taller than I, so I don’t think of that as being an advantage or disadvantage.

FG: It has been a while since your last fight, are you exciting about doing MMA again?
ZV: Of course I look forward to fighting again.

FG: I have heard that there is a lot for women refusing to fight you, and that is why you have not fought latly is that true? And what do you have to say to those women??
ZV: Well this is what I have heard from promoters. I have spoken with many promoters over the last year trying to get something going, and I even mentioned several fighters names that were in my weight class (Under 200 lbs). And then the promoter came back telling me that these fighters had excuses why they did NOT want to fight me. So, I have to say it is a bit discouraging when there are few competitors to begin with. It is hard to stay motivated or stay in the fighting mindset when there is little or no competition.

FG: Any words of advice for the new up and comers girls wanting to fight?
ZV: Just get the necessary training and listen to your trainers about when they think you are ready to fight. And make sure this is in fact what you want to do. Don’t allow someone to pressure you into doing something for them.

FG: Who coined the name PITBULL? It suits you, BTW.
Pitbull came from my Power Lifting because I was short and stocky build, but strong..No, Actually I am more of a Cat person.. So Pitbull is just a facade.. LOL!

FG: What do you think of the all womens Hook n Shoot card coming up ?
ZV: Well, It looks good so far. I am hoping that everyone shows up and puts on a great show! Good luck to all the participants..

FG: Are you going to attend?
ZV: I would like to attend but I haven’t been invited yet.

FG: Where would you like to see female fighting go in the next few years?
ZV: I would like to see women’s fighting on every card where there are men’s fights.

FG: Do you think women will ever make into pride or UFC?
Well, I spoke with Dana White and he said they are thinking of women in the UFC but the level of skill has to go up a little more before they will put women on. Plus they want to match people properly. Mismatches do not do the sport good. So, matching the best is always a concern.

FG: How much longer will you continue to fight?
ZV: I have no idea? I guess when my body say “STOP”..

FG: What are your future plans?
ZV: I want to continue playing hockey of course and training MMA. My dream would be to open up a MMA School and help others. A lot of people have helped me so I would like to help them back.

FG: Who is your favorite male fighter?
ZV: I would say Sakuraba because he is exciting and unpredictable but also I like Vanderlei Silva because he is fearless.

FG: What kind of music do you listen too?

ZV: I like everything except Rap and Country.

FG: Zee, I have met you in person and from your pictures thought you would come across has very hard, or aggressive, but in actuality you are very soft spoken. Do you surprise a lot of people when they first meet you?
ZV: I think that people do judge people by looks.. sure especially in the fight game but meeting someone in person is much different. I have met many fighters who were nothing like what they look like. I was sitting next to Tito Ortiz on a plane coming back from one of my fights and he was really a nice guy, easy to talk to, which surprised me. Being big and muscular people think I must be hard in personality as well, but I am not. I try to show people that I am not mean or difficult to get along with. I do have a soft side.

FG: If there is one thing you want your fans and other people to know about you, what would that be?
ZV: Gee, not sure about this one. I guess that I am a perfectionist. I like to do things to the best of my ability. I also like to help people achieve their goals.

FG: Zee it has truely been a pleasure, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
ZV: Thank you for Interviewing me, I appreciate it.

Zee Pitbull Vjesalicu Interview

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Published on: Mar 13, 2002 @ 18:21

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Interviews female fighters

Interview Brenna Larkin MMA Fighter

Interview Brenna Larkin MMA Fighter

Brenna Larkin, the new women’s 125 lb champion, claimed her title this weekend at the Tuff-N-Uff tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. Interview Brenna Larkin MMA Fighter Larkin and her opponent Cynthia Calvillo went three rounds for a close and exciting fight. The first two rounds were close combat for these two tough women, both with undefeated records. In the 3rd round though Brenna was able to establish some distance with boxing and with a unanimous judge’s decision, won the fight. Rocking her Fighter Girls gear and a shiny new belt, Brenna was looking and feeling great basking in the glow of well deserved and hard fought victory. With an abundance of brains and talent, Brenna Larkin is certainly a rising star of women’s MMA.

About Brenna Larkin

Interview Brenna Larkin MMA Fighter
Interview Brenna Larkin MMA Fighter

Here at Fighter Girls we were able to talk with Brenna and get the scoop on what it’s like to be a female fighter. From law school to babies, we found out how this fighter girl ticks and what keeps her going strong!

Fighter Girls: What type of fighting do you train in?
Brenna: I train in MMA. I try not to over or under emphasize any one aspect of the sport. My goal is to be a well rounded fighter, not a wrestler with good hands or a striker with good ground.

FG: How long have you been fighting?
Brenna: My first fight was about three years ago. I had been accepted into law school and I was afraid that if I started school without having fought that I would use school as an excuse to never do it. So I decided to man up and make it happen and I am glad that I did.

FG: Law school and fighting, sounds like a tight schedule! Is it difficult to keep a good balance between school and fighting?
Brenna: It is very difficult to be a full-time law student and an MMA fighter. When I am training for a fight, my whole life is consumed with preparation and thoughts of the fight. Everything else takes a back seat. That includes friends, family and definitely law school. The two things don’t really balance. One inevitably winds up giving way to the other. So, to substitute for balance I basically work it like a pendulum. I focus on fighting when I can afford to put school on the back burner (my last fight was during an easy semester and not near finals time) and I focus on school when I have to (last semester was really busy, so I didn’t fight). I just fought a great fight, so now the pendulum will have to swing back the other way and I have to focus on my studies for a while. It is all about timing.

Brenna Larkin Female Fighter

FG: What got you interested in MMA and fighting?
Brenna: I was a wrestler in high school because my little brother joined the team and I didn’t want him to be able to beat me up. I fell in love with wrestling and I continued to wrestle in college. Whenever I would lose a match I would think to myself that if only I were able to hit the chick I would win. One day, I saw Gina Carano fighting Julie Kedzie and I thought to myself “I could do that!” Ever since then the desire to do MMA kept nagging at me until I eventually made it happen.

FG: What is your favorite style of fighting?
Brenna: My favorite style is no style. I admire the ability to control the fight and try to finish it from whatever position a fighter is in. The reason I love MMA is because it allows the fighter to use every weapon at his or her disposal. I like fighters who try to finish fights as opposed to those who try to out-point in order to win. So I suppose my favorite style is whichever one finishes the fight.

Interview Brenna Larkin MMA Fighter

FG: What is a typical day of training like for you?
Brenna: Hmmmmm…. it depends on the day, and it depends on whether or not I have a fight coming up. I always adjust my training so that I am scheduled to peak at fight time, and I adjust my training depending on who my opponent is and what her style is like. I have different days that emphasize different things. One day I will focus on wrestling and grappling, another on striking and mitt work, another on sparring. It really depends.

FG: How do you feel as a woman in a male dominated sport?
Brenna: To be honest, this is not something that I think about that often. I don’t think of myself as a “woman” so much as I think of myself as a fighter and a competitor. That is the way my teammates and training partners think of me, too, so I haven’t had much time to feel “different.” I think that women probably get more attention than the guys just because we are rarer. As a general matter, I think we get just as much respect as the guys do. There will always be people who don’t think women should do this or who don’t like the sport, but there are also people who don’t think men should do it either. Haters are going to hate. I don’t concern myself with them overmuch.

Brenna Larkin Training, Fighting, Personal Life

FG: That’s a really great attitude to take. Do you think there are any hardships though that women face in MMA which men do not?
Brenna: Babies. We have them and men don’t. A normal “career woman” can manage to go to work and make money while having babies to a certain extent. Women in MMA have to take some serious time off for that stuff! By nature our careers are just bound to be shorter than the careers of most men in the sport. The baby years and the fighting years are the same years and the two things don’t overlap very well.

FG: Do you have a nickname?
Brenna: I think my nickname will be “Lionheart” but I haven’t busted it out yet. My fiancee and cornerman Ed West gave it to me because he thinks it describes me as a fighter.

FG: Women’s MMA has a lot of great fighters, do you have a favorite?
Brenna: I always give the smartass answer and say my favorite female fighter is me! The truth is there are a lot of female fighters out there who I admire and respect. If I start naming names the list will be too long. I also find that I always end up really respecting my opponents. Respecting them helps keep me safe and helps make me feel terrific after I fight them.

FG: Of all the great women of MMA, is there anyone in particular you’d like to fight in the cage?
Brenna: I don’t have anybody specific in mind but as a general rule I want to be able to fight the best. Whoever is on the top of the rankings or whoever has the fancy belt is the chick that I want to fight. I want to be on the top and the way to the top is through the women who are there already.

FG: What has been your most exciting/favorite fight?
Brenna: Hands down the last one. I just fought Cynthia Calvillo for the Tuff-n-Uff flyweight title and the chick was tough! She came out there to win and she fought like a champion. The fight really allowed me to showcase a lot of different skills and it pushed me to achieve and to go beyond my past accomplishments. The tough fights bring out the best in me and really help me grow as a fighter.

FG: Sounds like it was a great fight! Along with great fights like this, what drives you to continue fighting and training?
Brenna: The knowledge of my unrealized potential drives me to continue. I know that I have what it takes to be a great champion. I have taken little steps towards achieving the goal of being recognized as the best in the world. I’m on my way but I haven’t got there yet. I know I have more to do in the sport and I know I have more skills to develop and perfect. The dream of becoming the perfect martial artist drives me to continue (even if it is impossible to fully achieve). I have a need to actualize my full potential.

FG: So what does the future hold for you in trying to realize and actualize your full potential?
Brenna: I will go as far as I possibly can towards achieving that end. Ideally, I will defend my ammy title, go pro and be a wild success on the world stage for years to come. At the same time, I understand this is a sport and athletes always have a finite shelf-life. For that reason, I try not to plan much further than the next fight because I know that anything can happen. No matter what the future holds for me, as long as I go as far as I possibly can, I will be content.

FG: You were cutting weight I’m sure preparing for the big fight you had this weekend. Do you have any cheats you allow yourself food-wise?
Brenna: Even when I am cutting weight (actually, ESPECIALLY when I am cutting weight) I allow myself almond M&M’s. A girl’s gotta have her chocolate!

FG: One last question for you Brenna, what is one thing the avid followers of Fighter Girls should be surprised to learn about you?
Brenna: I always cry at movies, and I almost always cry at weddings. I’m the biggest sucker / softy I know. Oh yeah, also a hopeless romantic. Then again, my fiancee is very romantic so maybe I am not so hopeless after all… (I think that’s actually three and a half surprising things about me). Interview Brenna Larkin MMA Fighter

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Published on: Mar 7, 2013 @ 23:54

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Interviews female fighters

Interview Maddie Mata Leon Sheng

Interview Maddie Mata Leon Sheng

Interview Maddie Mata Leon Sheng MMA interview with Maddie Sheng is a 13 year old fighter from Smithsburg, Maryland who’s passionate about mixed martial arts and fighting competitively. Here at Fighter Girls we’re so excited to meet girls like Maddie who are dedicated and talented female fighters, giving the boys some stiff competition and a run for their money!

Interview Maddie Mata Leon Sheng

Maddie Sheng is a 13 year old fighter from Smithsburg, Maryland who’s passionate about mixed martial arts and fighting competitively. Here at Fighter Girls we’re so excited to meet girls like Maddie who are dedicated and talented female fighters, giving the boys some stiff competition and a run for their money!

Maddie has been fighting for years already and is excited to continue to do so, learning more fighting styles and working on advancing in her sport. With brains, bite and more than a bit of talent, Maddie Sheng is a force to be reckoned with and a role model for young fighters. Nothing’s going to stop this Fighter Girl from competing and continuing to earn the respect of her fellow fighters!

Interview Maddie Mata Leon Sheng
Interview Maddie Mata Leon Sheng

Fighter Girls: What type of fighting do you train in?

Maddie: I fight Jiu Jitsu at Frederick Fight Club in Frederick Maryland under Vicente Junior
3rd Degree Dela Riva black belt.

FG: How long have you been fighting?

M: I have been competing in Jiu Jitsu Tournaments in both Gi and NoGi since I was 7 years old.

FG: What got you interested in MMA/fighting?

M: I started training for exercise and self defense.

FG: What is your favorite fighting style?

M: I like Jiu Jitsu, but I’ve also trained in Muay Thai. I would also love to try burmese kick
boxing next year!

FG: What is a typical day of training for you like?

M: I train 5 days a week in both Gi and No Gi. I am also a straight A student and in Honors English and Mathematics.

FG: How do you feel as a female in a male dominated sport?

M: I am proud to represent strong confident women in the sport.

FG: What do you feel is the greatest hardship for girls in MMA and fighter?

M: Finding other girls to compete against. Most of the time I have to compete against boys. I don’t always win, but when I do I certainly earn the boys’ respect.

FG: Looking at the women of MMA who are out there now, who is your favorite fighter?

M: Gina Carano!

Interview Maddie Mata Leon Sheng

FG: What is your nickname and how did you get it?

M: Mata Leon (lion killer in Portugese) One of my fist submissions I learned was the rear naked choke which is also called the Mata leon.

FG: Do you have a favorite or most exciting fight?

M: This last tournament in Baltimore Md, called “THe Good Fight” grappling tournament. I submitted a bigger boy.

FG: What drives you to continue fighting and training?

M: The self defense, physical fitness, and one day to get my black belt.

FG: What does the future hold for you in the world of MMA?

M: I don’t know, but I will let you know once I start kick boxing!

FG: As a fighter, you obviously have a very strict eating and workout routine. What is your cheat/guilty pleasure you allow yourself?

M: Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Chip Muffins

FG: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

M: I like to draw and I am a pretty good artist.

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Published on: Mar 4, 2013 @ 23:47

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Interviews female fighters news women's martial arts MMA

Olga Bakalopoulos “The Greek Sensation”

Olga Bakalopoulos female fighter
Olga Bakalopoulos “The Greek Sensation”

Olga Bakalopoulos “The Greek Sensation”

Olga Bakalopoulos: “The Greek Sensation” Prepares for the Evolution of Women’s MMA. Don’t let the looks deceive you. Olga Bakalopoulos can probably knock or choke you out. Not what you would expect from a nice Greek girl from Canada, but typical of the type of female warriors who will step into the ring for Hook N Shoot Revolution on April 13.

“I enjoy the sport, I enjoy the contact, and I like testing myself out,” Ms. Bakalopoulos told MaxFighting. “Being aggressive, it’s a lot of fun. I like to put on a good show.”

Olga Bakalopoulos Female Fighter

Fighting Shannon Hooper on April 13, it’s the third mixed martial arts bout for the 23-year-old, who holds a Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. But unlike many Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, Olga can bang as well as grapple; bad news for Ms. Hooper, but good news for Bakalopoulos’ cornerman, MMA legend Bas Rutten.

Olga Bakalopoulos fight trainers

“Bas was the first person I trained with as a fighter, him and Marco Ruas,” she said. “I remember seeing some of his fights and I thought, ‘oh my god, this guy is so passionate about the sport.’ And just the way he fights, every punch, every kick, he puts 100 percent in, and I want to be just like him. He influenced me a lot and really got me more into the sport. He taught me to not just give little knocks when you’re punching somebody or when you’re kicking. Every punch and kick counts.”

Rutten has also advised Olga on the game outside of the ring, a game that sometimes holds more danger than the one inside the ropes. “He told me to make sure that when I do a fight that I’m 100 percent,” she said. “People may say, ‘ok, just do the fight,’ but if you don’t feel 100 percent, don’t do it. He told me that he did that once, he let his people influence him, and he ended up losing because he didn’t feel right. So I just listen to my gut instinct on everything.”

Olga Bakalopoulos BJJ Blackbelt

Olga’s instincts have led her to a number of BJJ tournament wins that not only prepared her for the MMA world, but that introduced her to the joys of performing for a crowd. “I got into jiu-jitsu and I did my first tournament,” she said. “I remember I was really nervous. I was thinking, ‘what is the crowd going to think of me?’ But then, the more and more I did it, I noticed that I actually liked it. I would win more often and then I would notice that the crowd was amazing. When I did my first NHB fight in 2000, I didn’t even notice that the crowd was there. And then when I watched the fight on tape afterwards, I noticed that the whole crowd was into it, chanting my name, and it was really cool. It’s a rush for me.”

Her BJJ background also gives her an edge when it comes to her preparation for opponents that may have little available film on them. “In the first two fights I had, I had no idea what these people looked like or anything about their fighting style,” she said. “It’s the same in jiu-jitsu. You really don’t know anything about the girls either. Even though I’d like to know what they can do, then again, I’d rather not know, and just go in there and do it. I’ve actually seen a little of what Shannon is about. She seems interesting and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a good fight, and I definitely plan on winning.”

Olga Bakalopoulos On The History Of Female MMA

With a crowd-pleasing style and looks that will undoubtedly attract male fans, Olga has all the tools to become a star in the budding sport of female MMA. And when asked if she would like to be remembered as a pioneer in the sport, she says, “I definitely hope so. To me, the first women in the sport are people like Zee (Vjesalicu) and Becky Levi. They’re both amazing fighters, but it’s still in the first stage. But yeah, in 15 or 20 years I would love for people to remember me, not just as a good fighter, but as someone who was pretty and could also kick ass. A lot of people, when they see me, they say, ‘oh, I can’t believe you’re a fighter, you’re so pretty, blah, blah, blah,’ and it’s like ‘oh wow.’ They really can’t picture me fighting, but when they see me fight they’re like, ‘oh god, you’re like another person.’ So it’s cool, I like that.”

Obviously, the stereotype is that the only place for an attractive woman in combat sports is as a ring card girl. Not surprisingly, Olga has some strong feelings about that subject, and while she resists the temptation to choke out those who think women don’t belong in the sport, she hopes to lead by her example instead.

Olga Bakalopoulos On The Rights Of Female Martial Arts

“In every other sport you see women having a place,” she said. “Women have as much right to be in this as the guys do. In the beginning, it wasn’t all that great but now you have women like Lucia Rijker and Laila Ali, they’re just phenomenal fighters. Every year, the sport gets bigger, more women get into it, and they’re saying, ‘hey, I can do this.’ It’s going to be awesome.”

But not all women are breaking down the doors of gyms around the country to begin training in the finer points of the guard and triangle choke. “The two fights that I had, the women who came up to me were mainly girly-girls where they would say, ‘hey, that’s so cool,’ but there was not a lot of interest,” said Olga. “I find that that in the jiu-jitsu world, I’ll have women come up to me and say, ‘hey, that’s really cool, how can I get into it?’ But not so much in the NHB world. I still think it’s still a little scary for most women, who really can’t see themselves doing something like that.”

Another tough sell for Olga were her parents, who do take solace in the fact that most muggers in Los Angeles wouldn’t stand a chance against their daughter. “You know how parents are,” she laughs. “They were worried and scared and they haven’t been to any of my fights but I showed them some of my tapes when I’ve gone back home. It’s kind of hard for them to see me doing stuff like that because I don’t come across as being aggressive. Well, I do, but not so much after fighting somebody. I never got into fights in high school or anything like that. For them, it’s a big scare. Of course, my mom is pretty happy with the fact that I can take care of myself and be out here in LA by myself.”

Olga Bakalopoulos on MMA training and working

In Los Angeles, Olga resides in the unofficial US capital of MMA. And seeing Californians like Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and the Shamrocks make a healthy living from the sport inspires her to keep training for the day when fighting will pay all the bills. But for now, like most up and coming fighters, she still has to deal with the working world. “We all have to work,” she said. “I train and fight full-time though. I train five times a week and do security at clubs on weekends. And I get sponsorships from certain places, so that does help out, and it keeps me training, and that’s what I’m focusing on right now. I want to train as much as I can and fight as much as I can while I’m young. Hopefully this will open doors for me later on.”

Wherever she ends up, you get the impression that Olga Bakalopoulos is going to end up as a star. And if she has her choice, her field of excellence will be in combat sports. “I’m in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and NHB 100 percent,” she said. “I plan on getting my black belt in jiu-jitsu and I’ll hopefully fight a lot more in NHB this year. I’ve only had two fights, and both of them were in 2000. I did a lot of jiu-jitsu tournaments last year, and hopefully with Hook N Shoot, there will be more doors opening. I would love to fight in Japan, and I will stay in it for as long as my body can take it and as long as I’m still excited about the sport, which I think will be for a while.”

Editor’s Note: Ms. Bakalopoulos asked us to run the following paragraph regarding her trainer, Marcus Vinicius:
“I am presently training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under 4th degree Black Belt Marcus Vinicius. I have been training with Marcus at the Beverly Hills Jiu Jitsu Club in Beverly Hills, CA. since Feb. 1999. He expects me in class everyday to train and he pushes me to my fullest potential. Without him I couldn’t have placed Second at the World wide Championships in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. I have to give thanks to Marcus Vinicius for his incredible support and invaluable guidance. I love him! I will be forever indebted to him”.

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Published on: Mar 25, 2002 @ 17:06

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Interviews female fighters news women's martial arts MMA

Interview Ashlee Evans-Smith MMA Fighter

Interview Ashlee Evans-Smith MMA Fighter

Interview Ashlee Evans-Smith Female Mixed Martial Arts are on the rise and so is amateur fighter Ashlee Evans-Smith. An up and coming fighter from sunny Southern California, Ashlee is dedicated to her sport with a drive and ambition for greatness. Down to earth and hard-working, it’s easy to fall in love with Ashlee and get behind her as a fan as we all have at Fighter Girls.

Interview Ashlee Evans-Smith

Female Mixed Martial Arts are on the rise and so is amateur fighter Ashlee Evans-Smith. An up and coming fighter from sunny Southern California, Ashlee is dedicated to her sport with a drive and ambition for greatness. Down to earth and hard-working, it’s easy to fall in love with Ashlee and get behind her as a fan as we all have at Fighter Girls. She will be fighting at the CFA womens tournament this weekend March 2nd vs Tori Adams. With Evans-Smith on the card, it’s sure to be an exciting fight. Ashlee Evans-Smith is one of the fresh new faces of women’s MMA and she’s here to fight!

Ashlee Evans-Smith female fighter
Ashlee Evans-Smith

About Ashlee Evens Smith

Fighter Girls: What type of fighting do you train in?

Ashlee: I train at a very well-rounded gym where we have Boxing ,Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu and wrestling. I come from a wrestling background as well.

FG: How long have you been fighting?

A: 2 and half years.

FG: What got you interested in MMA/fighting?

A: I’ve always loved wrestling & had an aggressive nature. But it was after I graduated from college & was unsure of where to go after finishing my collegiate wrestling career that I had a chance meeting with a former Strikeforce champion, Eugene Jackson, up in the Bay Area. He took me under his wing & trained me for almost a year until I ended up moving down to Southern California.

FG: What is your favorite fighting style?

A: I love wrestling & always will. It will always be my first love, but now that I’ve moved into the pro ranks as an athlete, these Muay Thai knees & elbows are fun and dangerous!

Ashlee Evens Smith Fight Training

FG: What is a typical day of training for you like?

A: A typical day of training would be waking up around 7:30 AM, eating a good healthy breakfast and then heading to strength and conditioning at 9 AM. I would train anything from battling ropes sled push/pull, versa climber, kettle bells tire swings, polyometrics, medicine balls, shuttle runs… all depending on how far out from a fight I am.

After strength and conditioning I’d jump in the car and head straight to MMA training, where we would cover jiu jitsu, wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai or sparring – depending on the day the week.

If my schedule permits I might get a chance to do a double day and come back later that night for some one on one pad work and some extra cardio or grappling and then finish my night off with a shower and some yummy food and do it all over again the
next day!

FG: How do you feel as a woman in a male dominated sport?

A: I have been a woman in a male-dominated sport my entire life. At least it feels that way. Coming from a wrestling background where men “ruled the world” prepared me for a sport like mixed martial arts where men once again are “the president,” but women are slowly moving up in the ranks from secretary to treasurer now and If you look at the path that women’s MMA is taking who knows, we may be vice president next week 🙂

FG: What do you feel is the greatest hardship for women of the MMA?

A: People talk about how it’s hard for women in this sport to do certain things but I have to be honest and say that I must be one of the lucky ones who have been embraced by most people, gyms and organizations that I’ve come across. I think there
will always be haters out there but in my opinion the world wants women’s mixed martial arts to take off, it’s doing so right now and I can only see the world embracing us more and more.

Who Is Ashlee Evens Smith?

FG: Do you feel there are any advantages to being a woman in MMA?

A: Since WMMA is not as big as men’s I do see some advantages for the women right now.
I think it’s a little easier to get sponsors and to be put on certain promotions. Since the talent depth is still growing certain fighters may get an opportunity to be on a big card or fight for a title with an 0-0 record or little experience at all. It’s a great time to be a female fighter. The flood gates are opening.

FG: What has been your favorite/most exciting fight?

A: I love all my fights! I get the same rush of excitement & roller coaster of emotions every time. I learn from each, win or lose!

FG: What drives you to continue fighting and training?

A: I don’t know what else I would do if I didn’t compete. I love bettering myself in whatever sport I’m doing at the time & I can’t see myself not fighting.

FG: What does the future hold for you in the world of MMA?

A: The future is bright. As cliché as it sounds the world is my oyster. I know that if I keep training hard and performing in the cage I can have whatever I want. The same goes for anyone who puts their entire heart into something they love.

FG: As a fighter, you obviously have a very strict eating and workout routine. What is your cheat/guilty pleasure you allow yourself?

A: Oh man! I like to say that I am a “fat kid at heart” because man do I love food! (She laughs) My top three weaknesses would be:

1. Mexican food
2. Ice cream
3. Chocolate

FG: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

A: Um…I’m a punk-rock loving, non-meat eating atheist? …& I’m a Cancer? (She laughs)

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Published on: Feb 28, 2013 @ 23:33

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Interviews female fighters news women's martial arts MMA

Jill Coleby Female MMA Fighter Interview

Jill Coleby Female MMA Fighter Interview

Jill Coleby Female MMA Fighter Interview Jill Coleby is an 18 year old kickboxer out of Canada that is looking to make the switch to MMA someday. Interview done by and used with permission of Showdown Fightwear. This interview was done and used with the permission of Showdown Fighterwear in Canada. We’d like to thank them for letting us use it. At first glance, Jill Coleby may not look intimidating standing at 5’5″ and weighing 120 pounds but rest assured,  Living and training out of Ingersoll, Ontario,

In addition to fighting professionally, Jill is also a Karate instructor with a special interest in working with children and teaching women’s self-defense. In person, Jill is well mannered and well spoken. In competition her punches and kicks do her talking. In and out of the ring, she is an inspiration and role model to her training partners and her peers at the Coleby’s Kickboxing Academy.

Jill Coleby female fighter

Jill Coleby Female Fighter Interview

At only 18 years of age, Jill is building a solid foundation in kickboxing and looks forward to one day competing in the Mixed Martial Arts arena.

Showdown In addition to kickboxing professionally, you are also a full time (straight A) student. What are you studying in school?
Jill Coleby I currently attend high school, where my focus is on Science and Physical Education. I plan on studying kinesiology at University.

SD How do you think your training partners and coach would describe you (as a person? as a fighter?)
JC I think that my coach and training partners would describe me best as a determined woman with her goals in mind. They know I will never give up and they also know how responsible I am. I believe they even enjoy my sense of humour on the long car trips. They recognize that I am a sensitive person as well and that I know what I have to do and how to do it. They have a lot of respect for me!

About Jill Coleby Kickboxer Fighter

SD As a professional kickboxer, you also have a first-degree black belt in Shotokan Karate. How did you make the transition from traditional karate to full contact? (was it easy for you? what needed to be adapted mentally and technique / strategy-wise)
JC Fights that I witnessed at my own dojo inspired this transition. I just loved the sport. At the time, I told my instructor Shawn Tompkins that I wanted to start kickboxing and he made me promise that if he trained me to fight, that I would be serious about it and give him 110%. Of course I was all for the challenge. And man was it a challenge! The type of fighting that I was used to was point sparring, basically a game of tag. This made the transition to full contact difficult. I had a hard time hitting people when I first began. Shawn spent many hours working with me on how to hit properly and how to change my techniques from flashy tournament karate style, to dangerous, full-contact strikes. The work did pay off though, and I enjoy the mental and physical challenges that kickboxing presents to me.

SD You have competed all over the world and your current record is (6-2) with one KO. Of those fights, which was your most memorable? Why?

JC I think that my most memorable was my first fight, where I knocked out my opponent. I loved it. It was awesome that I won but, for me, I finally got to see how effective the techniques I had been working on for years, really were. I also remember the look on everyone’s face that day and how proud of me they were. That is probably my most memorable. I also remember my first loss very well. I know the entire fight, all of my mistakes and how I felt before and after. This is my biggest tool when I fight now. I remember what it felt like to lose, and I try not to repeat it. It was a great learning experience.

SD To whom (or what) do you attribute your success in professional competitions?
JC My family and friends. They are all great to me. I have made a tonne of changes recently and they were all right there behind me. They are the ones that cheer me on at my fights and they have to listen to all my stories and suffer with me through my losses. They have been through some of my life’s most difficult situations and they still love me for it. Thanks guys!

SD What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
JC My greatest strengths are my jab and my heart. I am an extremely determined person and once I decide that I want something, I make it happen!! My biggest weakness would have to be that I sometimes think too much and I am too stubborn. This can make coaching me or just being around me difficult at times, but somehow people seem to pull through it all!

Jill “the Bonecrusher” Coleby is a Showdown Fightwear sponsored athlete and competes for the Coleby’s Karate and Kickboxing Team.
Promoters interested in having Jill compete in professional matches can contact her at

You can also contact Jill Coleby at:
Coleby’s Karate and Kickboxing Academy
28 King St. East
Ingersoll, Ontario
N5C 3L8
Tel: (519) 425-5372

Thanks again to Showdown for letting us use this interview.

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Published on: Feb 27, 2002 @ 18:25

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Interviews female fighters news women's martial arts MMA

Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card

Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women's card
Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card

Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card

Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card This interview was conducted with Tara LaRosa on Feb 12, 2002. Tara LaRosa female MMA fighter tells us how she began martial arts and her upcoming fights. Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card.

AG Hello Tara how are you doing today?
TL Pretty good, you?

AG Tara can you tell us where you were born?Also age?
TL I born and raised in Woodstown, NJ. Born Jan 8th, 1978… I am 24 years

AG Could you give us some back ground on your self?Style,wt,experience?

Tara LaRosa Fighter Early Years

TL From an early age up till my senior year in college I’ve been involved in team sports: field hockey, basketball, softball. I started training in MA my senior year in high school (’96). I started out in traditional karate (shotokan),and after leaving NJ, I trained in judo for a little bit at college in NC. In late 2000 and into 2001 I began competing more seriously in judo. At a tourney in NC I met Casey Oxendine (Ruas Purple)and Ian Boxhorn, who introduced me to MMA. Later in the year, at a tournament in TN, I was recruited to Team ROC in Hillsboro, NC. I now train in BJJ and MT under Aitor “Spencer” Canup, Jason Culbreth, and Greg Thompson. I am 5’6 135 lbs, and have done some judo tournaments, 3 tough woman tourneys, and a few grappling/jiujitsu tourneys. I am 1-0 MMA. Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card

Tara LaRosa Beginning Mixed Martial Arts

AG Can you tell us what made you decide to pick up MMA training?
TL It was a natural progression of the levels of martial arts training. From the rigid techniques of shotokan, to a more physical and practical judo, to IMO the highest level of martial arts training and competition… Mixed Martial Arts (NHB).

AG Can you tell us what makes you tick? What drives you to want to fight?
TL I constantly have to prove to myself that I can be successful at something. Also, as a kid I got picked on a lot and I would never fight back, I often wondered what would happen if I did, or if I could take someone on and win. Throughout my 24 years I have constantly been told, that there will always be someone somewhere better, stronger, faster, and smarter. I want to be that person. I have always dreamed of competing in something and being recognized on a world wide level… not necessarily to be the best, but just to be on that level… is my dream. Being the best would be icing on the cake. LMAO… I have a LONG way to go and a tough road ahead of me. Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card

Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card

AG Who would you credit as for being your inspiration in life?
TL Hummm, good Q. There have been a lot of people that have affected my life. In the MMA world I look up to the abilities of Jens Pulver. Coming up how he did, and having the heart and will to be the best and achieve as much success as he has, is nothing short of awe inspiring, he is well deserving of all that he has accomplished. Plus I like the way he deals with all the critics and trash talkers by stepping in the ring and proving them all wrong. Throughout my life I would have to say, my father/ my family. He has built a large, successful independent business from the ground up with his own hands with only my mother beside him, while a lot of people tried to tear him down. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him.

AG Is it true that you have a high tolerance for pain?
TL LOL… where did that come from!? LOL. Uhhh… well, as a fighter I guess I have to have some sort of tolerance for pain, I guess I can take a shot or a crank pretty well.

AG You have an up coming battle in the all woman’s HNS card VS Shelby Walker can you tell us a little about it?
TL I am very excited to be a part of this show. For those of us trying to make a career of MMA, I believe that this will be a monumental show. For a rookie like myself, I believe I will gain a lot of exposure from it…not only in the US, but as I am told, in Japan as well. This means I have to have the performance of my life… and that makes me very nervous. Pressure is good though, it keeps me on my toes.As for Shelby, I believe that this will be a good match. We both have
about the same amount of training and experience. She has had one more fight than I have… but I have done more tournaments than she has… if that counts
for anything?

AG Can you tell us what started the animosity between you two ladies on the UG?

TL (groan) Everyone asks me about this. Another girl had taken up an issue with me, Shelby and two other girls jumped on the hype bandwagon and everything snowballed and skyrocketed from there. For clarification, I do not fight out of anger this a professional sport and a professional show… not Jerry Springer.

AG Can you give us a prediction about your fight VS Shelby?
TL Well, my previous fight was up and down and went to decision. I am more prone to a ground fight, but I am comfortable on my feet as well. I
can’t really make a prediction on how the fight will end because there are so many variables and options that come into play in the ring, that it’s really
difficult to know how to call it. LOL, I know people hate hearing answers like that. LOL. It would be nice to win.

AG Is their any chance after the fight that you two will get along?I mean if you watch most if not all fighters in MMA they end in a hand shake or a hug?
TL I have no problems at all with shaking her hand and telling her nice fight. After that, I don’t know… call Miss Cleo, maybe she could tell you.
It’s all professional, my job is to be the best fighter I can and to promote and educate people about MMA in the most positive way possible. The way she conducts herself is up to her.

Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card

AG Can you let your fans know what to expect from this match up?
TL To those who have seen me roll before, expect a new style. I have been working the bugs out of my old ways and adding some new strategies… over
the past few months things have been coming together and I am injury free. To those who have never seen me before, do not expect anything flashy, I’m
not much of a spaz, I fall under the “cerebral” category.

AG Can you tell us what you think of Debi Purcell’s efforts for
promoting a all female web site ?
TL Debi who? LOL…j/k. I think it’s a great idea, she has worked very hard and put a lot of time and effort into this site. For this I thank her,
it has been a tremendous help to many people myself included. …now, as long as she can keep the riff raff outta here…LOL j/k.

AG Do you have any last words for your fans on the UG?
TL Thank you to everyone for all the support, advice, info, and reality checks I appreciate it. I have made some cool friends. Oh….and, NO, I
will not post pix! I hope to meet many of you at the show. To Spence, J-, and Greg, I can’t thank you enough, I am forever indebted for everything you have shown and done for me, thank you And to Casey and Ian and the TN crew, you guys are my best friends I could not do this without your support, without you none of this would ever have happened, I’d still be training in a GI 2 nights a week and not have a clue about what “a clinch” or “the guard” is. Tara LaRosa Hook N Shoot women’s card

AG Tara thank you so much for taking a moment out of your time for us at

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Published on: Feb 25, 2002 @ 18:29

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