Monday, November 23, 2009

To Diet or not to Diet, that is the Question

Last time you heard from me, I was getting ready for another fight. I had gained some weight and was working on losing around 10 pounds. I was going to fight again in Onterio, California for a pretty good purse. Because of that, I turned down a couple of other fights. It was coming down to the wire, and I was dieting really hard. I was getting close to my target weight.I got a text message from the promoter three days before the fight letting me know that the whole show had to be canceled due to lack of funds.

I was very frustrated. I already had the time off, so John and I took a little trip to the coast to relax. I started adding a few more calories to my diet and BAM, back up 5 pounds. I swear, it takes no time at all to gain weight but all too long to loss it. I relaxed my training a bit and hit the beach a few times for a run. Then I hear that I might have a fight in Costa Rica in a couple of weeks.

I started cutting again which is hard to do when you're camping, but I managed. I never heard back from that promoter, so I started eating a little more and gaining a little bit. Then I had another offer for a fight in Paso Robles next weekend. Man, I had my work cut out for me. I was back to training hard and dieting again. They were looking for an opponent for me and asked the girl I was supposed to fight in Onterio. She was my last chance for a fight on this card.

She said she'd get back to us after 8pm that night. It was morning yet, so I had a whole day of deprivation. I ate very little and got a beach run in. I was pacing the floor waiting for 8 pm to come around. I didn't hear from my coach until 8:30. Her answer was "NO". I'm thinking it was because, she, like me, had probably started gaining some weight after it was announced we wouldn't fight. It was a let down, but at least I was able to get some dinner in me.

One good thing that happened, I found a cool place to train when I go to Eureka called Humbolt Jiu-Jitsu Gym. Great mma training, great people, very reasonable rates. I even got to train with a couple of females who were pretty darn good. I had a killer workout and learned a few brutal moves to try on my next opponent. If you go there (509 H St.), be sure to tell Nick that Avery sent you.

So, no fights coming up for the time being. I'm trying to stay close to my fighting weight, so I'll only have 5 pounds to lose if something comes up. I've been doing pretty good, but Thanksgiving is coming up, and I'm worried. We have two dinners to go to in one day- my parents and then his. Oh well. I'll just have to be sure to get in a good workout that day.

My next project, though, will be on December 19th. I will be having a fun run at Dog Island Park at 9:00 am. It will be rain or shine, and it will be free to all who want to take part. The event will be called "Just Move It Tehama Country" and is part of a national campaign from Indian Health Services, who's goal is to promote physical activity for Native Americans. There are a lot of health issues that face Native Americans which increased activity can help combat. This goes for everyone, who couldn't benefit from some physical activity? This run will be open to everyone. I encourage you to come be a part of this, you have nothing to lose, except maybe some holiday weight.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Weighty Issue

I was fortunate enough to attend a work related training in Washington D.C. last month. It was awesome. I got a lot of information on how to promote wellness for Native Americans. There was one downfall, however. Every morning, they provided us with a delightful breakfast buffet. It had cheesy scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, sausages AND bacon. I was running several miles every morning, so I came to the table with my appetite. I figured 'what the heck- I may as well enjoy myself' since I follow a pretty good diet most of the time. I would heap my plate full and sometimes even go back for seconds. No harm, I thought, I'm running it off. One day I even beat my personal best and did an 8 mile run.

I was feeling great- until I got home and hit the scale. I was up 9 pounds! I was floored! How could this happen? I really thought about the amount of calories I was taking in- and that little trip through the buffet probably more than doubled the amount of calories I usually have in a day. That, and only running- not getting in any weight lifting or sparring or wrestling- meant that I was taking in WAY more than I was burning off. I have a fight coming up on November 14th in Ontario, California, and I need to be at 125 pounds. This was NOT good. No longer do I have the luxury of cutting weight by sauna or dehydration (since the kidney failure). I have to cut this weight the old fashioned way- diet and exercise.

It's been really hard getting the weight off this time. I've cut back on the food, increased the exercise- but still- it's slow going. Right now, I'm only 2 pounds down. It's pretty frustrating. I just finished a brutal workout on Sunday- which is usually my light day. I flipped the tire, dragged the chunk of iron, used the sledgehammer, climbed the rope and ran the hill. I'm sore and tired and cranky. My poor husband gets the brunt of it. He overcooked my veggies the other night, and I was not pleased. When you have only veggies for dinner, they have to be delicious. I apologized, of course, but I'm sure I won't have mushy cauliflower next time!

Derek, my wrestler training partner, has been totally successful cutting weight. He got down to 133 this weekend. It sucks to weigh the same as him. He's usually over 150. Now that's he's all cut up and I'm puffy- he gets to call me all the nasty names until I make weight. His favorite right now is 'jelly roll'- the jerk! It is motivating me, though. I'm much more serious about avoiding the sweets, now.

On the plus side (literally), I feel a lot stronger. My punches are more solid, my endurance is good, and I feel really brutal. I have all kinds of nastiness in store for my next opponent. I just hope I can make weight!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Me Versus The 5 time World Kickboxing Champ!

I know a lot of you are wondering what happened with the big fight- the one last month against my hero, Kathy Long. Some of you were able to catch in online, and some of you got my updates on Facebook and Myspace. So here's what went down:

I showed up to weigh ins fat and sassy like I promised- drank as much fluid as I wanted and ate 2 meals beforehand. I still came in at only 127, and she only came in at 126. This was perfect, because we both agreed to come in 5 pounds heavier at 130. It was great to see her, she was a total lady. We did the post weigh-in pre fight pose off- but it was all smiles.

The day of the fight, I waited in the locker room like I always do, but I wasn't a bundle of nerves this time. I knew going in that I was fighting the 5 time world kickboxing champion, and, honestly, I had nothing to lose. I just knew that I would go in doing my best, and I was sure she would be awesome.

The bell rang, we smiled at each other and touched gloves, and it was ON! She came at me with what I think was a straight right that shook me to the core! I literally went weak in the knees! I looked over at my coach and my husband with a look of shock. I expected her to hit hard, but really- it was like she had fists of stone. At that point, I was thinking, this might be my first knock-out- only I'd be on the receiving end. I shook it off best I could and came at her with some punches of my own. I used my leg kick on her as much as I could to keep her at bay. I believe it went like that most of the first round.

In my corner, my coach was telling me I was doing great as he was jamming huge q-tips up my nose to swab the blood. My husband was forcing water down my throat- I tend to just want air between rounds- but he knew I needed to stay hydrated.

Round 2 was a little better, I was getting used to her punching power and attempted some take downs. I was able to take her down, but it was usually right on top of me. From there, I'd either heel kick her in her calves or clinch her to me until the ref would stand us up. When we were up against the fence, we would knee the crud out of each other- mostly to the legs.

Round 3 was same as the last round, but at the very end of it- I was on the bottom and was able to climb the fence to do a wicked escape right out her backside. She tried to catch me in an ankle lock, and then the round was over.

We hugged like best friends, and I told her she was awesome- and that she was STILL my hero. She smiled and told me I was really strong. (I flip tractor tires.) The ref grabbed our hands, and we waited for the judges to call the decision. It was a unanimous win for...... Kathy Long. I clapped. I was honestly happy for her. I limped back to the locker room- my legs were tore up from kicking and getting kneed. I was getting great reactions from the crowd- lots of "Great job! Great fight!" I was on cloud nine. I felt really good about my performance.

Then the pain started.... back in the locker my coach looked at a nasty knot behind my ear and took out his terrible cold iron (it's like a torture device for pressing out swelling). He pulled it out of the ice and mashed it against my knot. It was the worst pain I'd had all night. I wanted to scream, but I didn't want the other fighters to think I was a wuss. The knot went down mercifully quickly.

After that, I cleaned up best I could, so I could go out and enjoy the rest of the fights. Again, people were giving me lots of pats on the back and congrats. Then I ran into Kathy. We hugged each other one last time and got a post fight picture (which she had taken, and I have included for your viewing pleasure). You can tell by the looks on our faces that it was a great experience for both of us. All I have to say now is, thank you, Kathy, for the opportunity to fight a true champion. Best of luck in your mma future!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thank You, God, for the Second Chance!

Last time you heard from me, I was in pretty bad shape. I suffered from kidney failure as a result of being sick and getting dehydrated in my last fight. My doctor (Dr. McDaniel- who NEVER sugar coats anything) warned me that my fighting days were most likely numbered. I could have cried when he told me that, and he knew I was seriously bummed. Everyone did. I was moping around for days. My doc told me, though, that the final decision would be in the hands of my kidney doctor, Dr. Krahling. It seemed like it took forever to get in to see him. I waited whiled he looked at my latest blood tests. I expected the worst. I was thinking- maybe I can start doing Tai Chi or something. He looked at them and said I was fine. I did not believe what I'd heard. I asked if that meant I could work out again. He said, "Of course." I waited a second to let that sink in then asked if that meant I could fight again. He said, "Of course. You can do anything you want, just don't get dehydrated again!" I could have kissed him, but my husband was next to me (I'm just kidding, honey!).

I was so relieved and happy and excited! I felt like I just got a pardon from the Governor! First thing I did was call my coach, Mike Chu, and tell him that I was back! He was worried he lost a fighter. I asked him to get ahold of Kathy Long, my hero- whom I was scheduled to fight in August, and ask her if she'd let me be an alternate in case her opponent didn't make it to fight her. She wouldn't hear of it. She wanted me to be her opponent, and the other girl could be the alternate! I could have kissed her, but my husband was there (kidding, baby!).

I started training like crazy- I had almost a month off to recoup- a month of zero training a tons of junk food. I had to ask Kathy to agree to come in heavier- 130 instead of 125- she readily agreed. I couldn't chance losing weight- didn't want to skip any water whatsoever!
I questioned if I had enough time to prepare for her- less than a month to fight the former 5 time world kickboxing champion. I decided I could be ready- if I really put my mind to it.

Here I am, now, just a few days before the fight. I feel like a little kid before Christmas! This fight is my gift. I feel blessed to have this second chance. I've gotten a lot of flack from people, though. Most say I'm crazy for getting back into the ring after such an illness. I say I'd be crazy not to fight this fight- it's a dream fight- it's against the best of the best. This is a real test of my skill and my heart. I feel like if I don't fight her now, I may never get another chance.

It's kind of cool to go in fat and sassy. I've plumped up to 130 very easily, and I feel stronger than ever. Sure, I don't look as good, but I'd rather feel strong than look good. It's a beautiful thing to be able to eat 3 real meals a day the week of the fight, and to be able to drink as much water and fluid as I want up until weigh ins! My shorts won't be baggy on me for this fight!

So the fight will be in Ontario, CA on August 15th in case any of you make it down to Southern California. If not, win, lose or draw, you will hear about the results in next month's column. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fighting for my Health

I had another fight recently in Modesto. It was supposed to be against an awesome fighter, Jennifer Tate. A week before the fight, she had to pull out due to appendicitis. Just my luck. So they give me the option of fighting the girl I had just beat in Wyoming. Not wanting to miss a chance to fight, I took it. We agreed to fight at 125. I got there pretty easily. On the day of weigh-ins, I find out that she is over 130 and can't come down in weight. My luck, again. I agree to fight anyhow. At weigh ins, I was 123- she was 131. She must have plumped up to the 140s at fight time, but, due to some stomach virus that I developed on fight day, I never got over 123.

You never think to back out on a fight for not feeling good- so despite being pretty ill that day, I forged on. I entered the cage weak- but I felt I still had a good chance to win. The first round went great except for a head butt (my bad) early on which cost me a point. The second round- I had a tough time keeping my hands up- but I managed to do pretty good. She caught me in some take downs, but I had some wicked escapes and ended up on top a few times. The third round, I was plumb tuckered out. I fended her off mostly- I'd have to give her that one- except for after the bell rang (and the fight was over) she stomped on my head and flipped me off. Nice. A true lady, wouldn't you say? I caught this on tape and am submitting it to the California Athletic Commission for review. The judges gave the decision to her, but due to her unsportsmanlike behavior, I'm hoping they'll take the win away and call it a no contest.

After the fight, the real battle began (for my health, that is). I was sick as a dog- couldn't hold any fluid down. I was experiencing the worst flu-like symptoms of my life. The drive home was horrible, we had to pull over several times. I couldn't even keep Pedialyte down. Once home, I ended up in the hospital for severe dehydration and found out I had suffered kidney failure. I was pretty scared. It took 4 days of IV fluids to flush out my kidneys and get them up and running again. This is how much fluid they pumped into me- I went in at 123 pounds and left at 137 (I'm back down to my fighting weight, now).

I kind of understand how my poor dog felt- she was at the vet's office for almost a week getting pumped full of fluids for almost the same thing. They say dogs resemble their owners, for us it was the other way around. By the way, she is just about back to normal- perky as ever!

Here's the part that kills me; I had a fight lined up against my hero, 5 time world kickboxing champ- Kathy Long. It was slated for August, and I had to back out of it. At this point, I'm unsure if my kidney doctor will release me to fight at all. I'm trying to remain hopeful, but it's hard. If you want to be supportive- try to avoid saying "Oh well- you were too old, anyhow" or "You shouldn't have worked out so hard". Talk about adding insult to injury.

As I've been healing (lot's of bed rest and fluids), I've been enjoying more junk food than normal. My husband, who's been wonderfully supportive, has asked what I might do if I can't fight anymore. I joke that I might start doing the food eating contests- I can put away A LOT of Oreos! Anyhow, whatever happens, I will continue to work out and train people, but I will be hopeful that I can have at least that one last fight against Kathy some day.....

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

The Stikeforce fight never happened due to my opponent not making weight. She came in at almost 4 pounds over and was unwilling to cut one pound to be able to fight. So, no Showtime this time. It was frustrating, but I'm confident that I'll get another opportunity to be on Strikeforce.

This past weekend, I decided to push myself and take a jog down into Hogsback (a canyon that is a good, challenging hike). It was Memorial Day, and I invited one of my training partners, Derek Ellis, to go with me and my 2 labs. We stopped several times so everyone could stay hydrated. We made it down to the creek, and my female lab, Raven, collapsed. I figured she was overheated, so I had Derek help me get her into the water to cool down. It didn't help. She wasn't moving. I pulled her out of the water and thought about what I could do.

I seriously doubted my ability to pack her up out of that canyon (a mile straight up with some rock climbing- and my Raven weighing around 90 pounds). We tried to make a sling to carry her out, but that didn't work. We figured we could take turns and take lots of breaks. One nice teenage guy helped us get her up to the trail. From there, I started to feel desperate. She was like a dead weight.

That's when my heros came up behind us and offered to help us carry her out. Mikey Cramer, Steven Hayward and Jesse Hayward- THANK YOU! These guys took turns with us either carrying her or pushing me while I carried her. We were all spent by the time we made it to the top. A few times, I felt like my back was going to break under her weight. Amazingly, we got her out of there in record time, and they got us to our car which was parked down the road.

From that point, I called my husband who met me down town to see what we should do. I lucked out and ran into a friend, Scott Williams, who works for Fish and Game. He gave me some sage advice on how to get her cooled down and hydrated quickly. Thanks, Scott. Without his advice, she wouldn't have made it through the night.

First thing the next morning, we got her into Mill Creek Vet, where Mark Whinning came out to my car like a knight in shinning armor and scooped up my sweet Raven like she was light as a feather and immeadiately started the process of healing her. It was touch and go all week. I don't think I've cried that much in my life- so many emotions.. worry for her, guilt for taking her down there, fear of losing her.... It was a bad week to say the least.

Dr. Whinning found out that she had a heart condition and had damaged her liver through the ordeal. He kindly tried to relieve me of my guilt by letting me know that it was a pre-exisiting heart condition. That helped a little. He said he'd let us know by Friday what our options were. We were expecting the worst.

I got a call from my husband on Friday letting me know that Raven was being released and that she was probably going to be ok. I can't describe how much joy filled my heart right then. She made it, thanks to all the hard work of Dr. Whinning and his staff. I asked my husband to bring her by my work, so I could see her before he took her home. He pulls up, opens the door, and there's my precious Raven. I give her a hug and a kiss, and I'm able to go back to work with a weight lifted off my heart.

I had to write this as a warning to other dog owners. My dogs were both in pretty good shape- they were my running partners. I had taken them down into the canyon before, no problem. It wasn't that hot on Memorial Day, but it was hot enough. Don't take your dogs out for exercise unless it's early in the morning or after the sun has gone down. Don't take them hinking somewhere unless you can carry them out (not only are there heat issues to consider, we have tons of rattlesnakes around here). Always pack plenty of water for them. And, this goes without saying- but I've seen some cases of poor judegemnt in town, NEVER leave your dog in your car when you run errands. They will DIE.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Wyoming Fight

I had a "title" fight in Casper Wyoming last weekend. It was not a sanctioned title fight, but it was still for a nice, shiny belt. I had to cut 10 pounds (it's so easy to pack it on when you're not careful!) It was a pretty easy cut with some strict dieting a few days before the weigh in. I made it to 125 without having to get in a sauna.

The cutting was nothing compared to the actual trip- dang promoters (the people who put the fight on) had us fly into Denver, rented us a car and had us drive to Casper. An easy drive, they assured us. We found out that it would take several hours and that we'd have to drive through snow storm conditions. We'll never do that again! Fly us into Casper next time, or forget it!

The fight itself was quite a battle. I was prepared for war going in (both with my opponent and myself- it was a high altitude fight- and we had to fight 5 minute rounds- since it was for a title.) I was worried that my lungs would burst. I got some good running in, though, prior to the fight and felt pretty confident about my ability to last all 3 rounds if I needed to.

I had to contend with a blond, model in this fight, and fortunately, I'd just seen her fight in Oroville the prior month. You're probably thinking, oh- a model- easy win. Well, you'd be wrong. She was a tough opponent- definitely no push over.

The bell rang, we tapped gloves, and I immediately went to work. It felt like I was channeling Chuck Liddel (a straight shot, knock out brawler). I left my game plan in the locker room and just started slamming her with straight shots. I was so focused on hitting her, I didn't defend when she took me down. From the ground, I struggled for an arm bar. She dropped an elbow down on my face, and my eye nearly swelled shut. I reversed the position on her, and she caught me in an arm bar. I rained down some hammer fists and posted my knee on her head to get her off my arm. Then I dove on top of her and continued to rain down punches.

Now, here's where it gets sticky. She's yelling at the ref that I kneed her in the head (an illegal move on the ground) and that she can't see. He does nothing, so I continue to rain down punches on her. She clinches me to her- the ref stands us up for lack of action. She doesn't get up. She reiterates that I kneed her in the head and that she can't see. The fight doctor comes in, looks at her, leaves the ring. Her corner/manager comes in, and appears to be trying to talk her into continuing the fight. She refuses.

The ref announces at this point that I won with a TKO (technical knock out), and the ring girls wrap the belt around my waist. I'm happy, but spent. She gets helped out of the ring mumbling that I'm a dirty fighter. Whatever. I've got the belt and the win. My husband and my manager (and fellow fighters Ken and Cutter) were totally happy for me.

Next up, a tough fight in Fresno for Strikeforce on May 15th. It's at a nice low elevation and only 3 minute rounds. I can't wait. That will make 4 fights this year. If I get a fight every month, maybe I'll lose those pre-fight nerves. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The View from the Other Side of the Cage

You already know that I fight, but you might not
know that I train with other fighters and do some coaching on the
side. I had a unique opportunity to watch one of my star pupils fight
in Reno last weekend. It's almost harder to watch someone you care
about fight. I had heard the boy he was fighting was a Golden Gloves boxing
champ. I was honestly scared for my fighter, 33 year old Kenneth
Bailey, who is more of a wrestler. When I saw the kid, Chris Rose, it
compounded my worries. Kenneth stands at 5'9"- Chris was over 6'. Kenny
had to cut weight- he dropped nearly 18 pounds for this fight. You all
know how that can make you weaker.

I just interviewed Kenneth
to find out how he felt- this being his first legitimate fight and
all. He told me, "My adrenaline was pumping like crazy. It was one of
the hardest things I've ever done in my life (this from a guy who has
fought fires). Knowing family and friends were watching made me
nervous. My ground game was pretty good. I knew I had to take him
down to avoid his punches- he had a lot of reach on me."

someone who was watching, you could never tell that Kenneth was gassed.
He looked sharp and was busy the whole time. Chris would throw punch
after punch, and Kenny would effortlessly keep taking him down- raining
down fists to his face and body.

After 3 long rounds, the
decision went to Kenneth- it was unanimous! My husband and I were
sitting next to his family and his fiance and we all cheered so loud. We
were so proud of him for how hard he fought. He really put his whole
heart into it. Your first fight can make or break you. This one
definitely made him. He came out of it pretty unscathed except for a
tiny mouse (boxing lingo for a black eye). His opponent was quite a
bit more marked up.

is all gung ho for his next fight in Reno on May 2nd. Poor guy has to
drop 30 pounds for that one. I know that you are all thinking that
he's crazy, but believe me- at his height, you need to try to fight at
a lower weight class. At 167, he'll continue to fight guys that are
huge- guys that are dropping lots of weight for weigh in and packing it
all back on before the fight. If he chooses to fight at 155, I'll try
to get him to stay around that weight, so he'll just have a small
weight cut before each fight. He can make the cut, and I'm confident
that he'll do a great job with that fight, too.

On a more
personal note, it might interest you to know that Kenneth has gotten into
trouble in the past for fighting in the streets. Around 4 months ago,
he started training with us at our fight club. He's working on turning
his life around, staying out of trouble and being a good father and
husband. He said, "Instead of getting in trouble for it, I'm out there
doing what I love to do and getting money for it."

a former street fighter to say, "I like the sportsmanship aspect of the
sport. My opponent contacted me for pictures, and I had no problem
sending them to him." is really something special. It should help to
dispel the myth that fighters are rude, thugs. Kenneth is one of the
nicest guys you ever want to meet (outside of the ring). He's always
quick to share his knowledge with other fighters and nice enough to
train with the youngsters that come in to the club.

This guy
only misses a practice if it's an emergency. I warned him after his
fight that he'd need to take a few days off because his body would be
in pain, and he'd need time to heal up. Like clockwork, he showed up
at the gym on Monday to train. I asked him if he was hurting. He
said his neck was killing him- I asked if he felt like he got hit by a
truck- he did. He took the night off of training but still watched.
What a trooper. I'll stay home and soak in Epsom salts for days after
a fight. You really put your body through the ringer when you fight.

to Kenneth- he trains like a beast, and he's just a sponge when it comes
to picking up new techniques. I can honestly see him making it big
time- hopefully UFC. So, if anyone wants to sponsor him, better get him
while he's still got room on his shorts.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Fight of my Life!

I just got back from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I got asked to fight last Thursday, flew in on Friday and fought on Saturday- February 28th. The fight was for 135 pounds- I was at around 127 (I understood that was a lot of weight to give up, but I wanted to fight). I thought I'd "bulk up" for weigh in by putting 4 pounds in my coat pockets and wearing heavy pants and shoes. At weigh in, they made me take off my jacket and shoes. Dang! There went 6 good pounds. I still managed to weigh in at 129. She came in at 137. As long as there's less than a 10 pound difference, it's all good in Oklahoma.

I looked up at my opponent. She was 5'7" and Native American (Crow to be exact). Her name was Tonya Peery, and she looked tough. It was here that I thought- why do I have to be so cocky and fight out of my weight class? But I figured, I'd still go in and fight tooth and nail. I was thrilled to be able to use elbows and knees- first match for both. I thought- I'll probably be able to do some good damage to her with my sharp elbows.

We come out to the ring, and the crowd goes WILD! (People love women fights- we're so much more vicious than men!) We tap gloves, and I run towards her- I have to get past her punch- her arms were like 6 feet long! We start banging eachother with hard punches, and I was using my knees and kicks for all I was worth. I could barely get an elbow on her. She had me against the cage, and I heard "Stomp her feet!" So, I did... over and over again, hard. I was wondering how it wasn't breaking her foot. The bell finally rang, and I was glad. I was tired as hell- totally out of breath (I'd come down with a nasty cold prior to the fight).

Round two, same thing. We come out banging heads. She hits HARD. I think to myself- I'd better get her to the ground. Amazingly I do. I get on top of her and start doing my ground and pound for all I'm worth. The ref is watching us close, and I'm looking at him after several seconds like- "Are you gonna stop this carnage, or what?" Then the bell rings. I'm in my corner feeling like death warmed over- I could not catch my breath for the life of me. I was pissed that they didn't stop it- as I blew my wad trying to knock her out.

Round three, I figured I'd better change my game plan. I can't knock this girl out! I figured I try a submission. I pulled her down, accidentally on top of myself. From there, I tried to secure an arm bar. I didn't, and she thanked me with some ground and pound of her own. I grabbed her arm again, and miracle of miracles, I got it! I bowed as far as I could to hyperextend her elbow. I thought I felt her tap, but I waited until the referee broke us up before I let her go.

I fell to the ground, exhausted, happy and in pain. My lungs felt like they were going to burst. I didn't think I could stand up. My cornermen (my husband and another guy from Oklahoma) came in, hauled me up, congratulated me and took me over to the referee to raise my hand in victory. I hugged my opponent and dragged my tired behind back to the locker room.

I layed on the floor with an ice pack on my head for around a half hour. My head hurt (it had some gooseeggs on it), my left eye was swollen near shut, and worst of all- my lungs still hadn't recovered. I was asking myself- it is worth it? I had to answer- hell yes!! I was so excited! I had my hubby go call my mom, my new manager (Mike Chu- who got me the fight) and my buddy, Debi. He had to go outside- there was no reception in the building. Everyone was so happy for me- especially my hubby. He could not stop telling me how proud he was of me and how good I did. I was just in a daze, and very relieved that it was all over.

I had a chance to talk to my opponent after the fight. Nice girl. I told her how tough she was, how hard she hit. She was wondering why her foot hurt. I told her it was because I'd been stomping on it. We laughed. She invited me out to have a drink, and I would have- but we had to fly out first thing in the morning. That, and she drinks hard alcohol- and I wans't sure if she wasn't mad that I won and might have started a fight with me once the buzz hit her (I'm kidding- kind of).

I look at my year so far, and I'm feeling a bit like Goldilocks. Last month I fought at 115- too light. This month I fought at 135- too heavy. I feel like once I get a fight at 125- it'll be just right! I have to stop this insanity and fight in my true weight class. I'm really looking forwrad to the Kathy Long fight. We agreed to come in at 125. It'll be a hard fight, but at least we'll be near the same size.

So, here I am, glad to be back in good old Red Bluff. I have to take couple of days off of training- I've been coughing non-stop since the fight. The doctor says it's just a viral infection, but I feel terrible. It's 2 days since the fight and my eye is still black and blue, my foot hurts from stomping, my neck hurts, my knees are bruised and my shin is swollen from kicking. I'm a mess- but my pride is in perfect shape!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Finally got my License- Now if I can only get a Fight!

What a roller coaster I've been on the past week until now! I got a call from Tonya, the girl I grappled in December, asking me if I wanted to fight her on February 13th (the girl she was supposed to fight got knocked out 2 weeks ago- she's suspended for 30 days). I said of course! I contacted the California Athletic Commission to check on my pro license. I had to hustle to get some more paperwork in AND I had to send in my fight history to prove that I had enough experience to fight Tonya (as she has 7 pro mma fights- I have 2).

I did all the footwork. I contacted a friend of mine to see if he could be my corner for the fight (you have to have licensed corners). I even paid the $50 to get my friend, Debi, licensed to corner me as well- she knows how to get me to breathe when I'm psyched out. I was even in contact with the promoters- had a room set up, agreed on a contract for payment, it was all set. I was training my butt off- consulting with my judo coach on techniques to use on Tonya, running with my weighted vest up hills, sparring with anyone I could, eating as much food as I could (to try to gain up to 130 pounds- as she would be coming down to 135).

Then I hear from my matchmaker that the commission said I did not have enough experience to fight her. I was shocked! I was boxing when this girl was 6! My matchmaker asked if I'd want to do an exhibition instead (no elbows or knees allowed, and it won't go on either record). Of course you know, I was game. Again, it had to go to the commission. I waited all weekend for Monday to come around so I could find out if I was fighting. I continued training like a beast. I was hopeful and truly didn't believe there would be a problem.

Come Monday, I call my matchmaker. She tells me they nixed the exhibition. She didn't know why- neither did anyone else in her camp. I was seriously bummed. I called my cornerman and let him know I wouldn't be fighting. I let Debi know she didn't need to take time off to go with me. I contacted Kathy Long (my hero who I'm supposed to be fighting next month) to let her know I wouldn't be fighting.

Kathy told me that she is going to watch the fights and is supposed to be introduced at the fights, and they are supposed to announce our upcoming fight to get the interest going for it. She asked if I could go, too, so that they could introduce us both. Finally, a ray of hope! I got free tickets (for all my trouble) and am going the fights- to watch (thank you hubby- for the perfect Valentine's present!). I have real hope of a fight now- because why would they go to the trouble of introducing us and getting the hype going for the March fight unless it was for sure? I'm still not going to believe it, though, until we are in the ring facing eachother.

I will be bringing all my fight gear to the fight on the slight chance that someone doesn't show up and they need an alternate fighter! Call me a girlscout- I'm always prepared. So, I'm pretty relaxed right now, and I'm looking forward to all the awesome fights that are on this card (3 female matches!). Now it's just a matter of what to wear to the fights (so many shoes- so little time)........ Yes, people, we female fighters care about how we look, too. If I'm stepping into the ring to be introduced next to someone as beautiful as Kathy- I'd better bring my A game!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hungry for a WIN!

The Fight

How to lose 14 pounds in 7 days

Last week, I read that they desperately needed a 115 pound fighter for a mma tournament in Evansville, Indiana for a January 17th fight. I was 128 pounds at time, but I'd been looking for a fight FOREVER! I took it. I knew the weight loss would be hard, but I didn't realize how hard until I started cutting food. I don't like to tell people how I do it- it could encourage people to use it as a viable weight loss method (and it's NOT- not healthy and quite dangerous, in fact!)

By the time I weighed in on January 16th, I was at 114 pounds. I was weak as a kitten, but I was proud that I had made the cut. I dragged my carcass over to a chair and immediately started the rehydration and reintrodution of food of my poor, emaciated body. I did nothing but drink fluids and eat easily digestible foods for the next several hours. By fight time the next day, I was up to 122 pounds. Yet, I was still weak- and scared. I thought I might still end up in the hospital for severe dehydration before the day was over. I had no grip strength, and it was even hard to run in place to warm up before the fight.

What scared me the most, though, was that IF I won my fight- I'd have to fight another lady, and IF I won THAT one, I'd have to fight a last one for the GFIGHT championship 115 pounder belt (for 3 five minute rounds, no less!). I knew in my heart that I would be lucky if I made it through the first fight. I also knew, though, that I would give it my all- that's my nature.

I met the woman I was to fight, and all the other women in the tournament, previously at weigh in. It amazed me that they were all awesome people. No attitude, no nastiness- just pure athletes. All excellent fighters with amazing records. Everyone was supportive of everyone. In fact, my opponent and I even had waffles together (at different tables) the morning of our fight.

It might interest you to know that my opponent, Van Do, trains out of Cung Le's Gym. Cung Le defeated Frank Shamrock with a kick to the arm that literally broke it in half! No slacker in her own right, Van has an IKF kickboxing title from 2005 and some gold medals from various tournaments and quite a few wins of her own. She is also a mature fighter like myself- (she's only 38, though).

Back to the fight- they called me out, I waited in the ring for Van. She came out- we tapped gloves- and it was ON! We banged eachouther pretty hard with some head shots, and soon after that- I was on my back holding on to her, waiting for the ref to stand us up. On our feet agin, more punches thrown (I can't recall if any kicks were thrown), she was on top of me again. She got me in an arm bar, and I was able to stand up and drive her into the mat head first to get her off me. More punches, and then she got me down again- I immobiolized her on me. Mercifully, the bell rung.

I had not been that exhausted in a fight in years. My tank was empty, I had nothing left. The dehydration took it's toll. My corner told me to keep it standing (keep her at the end of my punch). I said I'd try. The bell for round 2 rang and more punches were thrown. At some point, she got me in a position that I've been in before in judo class. I felt myself getting thrown over her hip (I think I said- "Oh crap!" as I was going over.) She got me in another arm bar- this time I didn't have the juice to fight her off. I lay there with my arm getting bent backward for what seemed like hours. I did not want to tap out. It didn't hurt yet. I was going to let her snap my joint just to prove that I was tough, but my common sense kicked in. I tapped. She won. We hugged. They raised her hand, and I went back to my locker room space.

My husband was back there with me, taking out my braids, feeding me Gatoraide and telling me how good I did and how proud he was of me. Then (and I hate to admit this- but I feel it paints a more honest picture) I broke down into a million tears. I probably depleated myself of whatever fluid I'd finally built up from those racking sobs. I was inconsolable. My husband just keep rubbing my back and telling me he was proud of me. I finished crying, called my parents and told them I was all right (they get so worried). I put on some decent clothes, wipped off the tears and joined the rest of the fans to watch the fights- and to show them that I was fairly unscathed (just a scratch on my cheek- Van, to my only credit, had a couple of black eyes from my punches).

When it was all over, and we were all back in our hotel rooms, we got together with Van and her coaches and had a drink together to celebrate the end of a chaotic week. I helped her take out her braids, and we talked about getting together to train some time. I told her I'd never fight in her weight class again- I'd stay at 125 where I'm strong. It's a funny sport where you can face eachother in a cage and try to pretty much beat the crap out of eachother and cause as much damage as you can in one instant- and in the next instant, you can be sharing a drink and laughing like old friends.

Meanwhile, I've been doing nothing but relaxing and eating and drinking as much as I can tolerate to try to get my strength back so I can start trianing (hopefully tomorrow). I'm looking forward to my next fight- which I am told will be in Palm Springs in March against my hero, 5 time world kickboxing champion, Kathy Long. We'll be fighting at 125 pounds- perfect! My husband always wants to know why I can't get an easy fight- I tell him it's just not in my nature.

GFIGHT in Indiana



I finally got a fight!!! I put my hat in the ring for a desperate call out for a 115 pound fighter for gfight in Indiana on January 17th. Since my pro license is just getting processed, I didn't think I would qualify yet. Jeff, the event coordinator, assured me that I would be able to fight. That took a lot of reassuring, because, Lord knows, I don't want to go all the way to Indiana and not be able to fight. He set me and my husband up with flights and rooms.

I was thrilled, to say the least! I've been trying to get a fight for around a year. Here's the catch.... it's old school elimination fights. I fight the first girl for 3 three minute rounds. If I win, I fight the next girl for 3 three minute rounds. If I win THAT one, I fight for the belt for 3 FIVE MINUTE ROUNDS!!! This will be all in a row- bam, bam, bam! Do you understand how hard it is to fight for FIVE minutes? Try sprinting for 5 minutes with someone on your back and you might get a slight understanding. I'm ready for it, though. I've been training for 5 minute rounds. I've just never had 3 fights in a row. Should be VERY interesting!

Now for the really hard part. I have been trying to gain weight for several months because it seemed like all the good fighters are at 135 pounds. Luckily, I haven't been too successful. I sit before you at a mighty 125 pounds. These fights are at 115 pounds. This means I have to do terrible things to myself in order to lose 10 pounds by Friday's weigh in. I'll spare you the details because I certainly don't want to encourage an anyone to lose weight like a wrestler- it's not healthy and can be dangerous. 10 pounds for me, though, not dangerous- I've got the muffin top going on. Hopefully, that will be the first to go- I haven't seen my six pack in years. Wonder what it looks like?

I'm ecstatic! I can't wait to tap leather and go at it! It's what I've been waiting for! My poor husband, on the other hand, is as nervous as a mother hen. He keeps asking, "Are you SURE you can lose the weight?" (Of couse I can- I used to lose 12 pounds in 2 days when I wrestled for Chico State.) He says, "Is there going to be anyone else who can corner you?" (Debi is trying to fly out to help). I assure him that he can corner me. I just need someone to feed me water and yell at me to whip her butt. He is more than qualified (he's pretty loud).

Anyhow- I have to go get some wind sprints in and do some light sparring to get ready for this. Wish me luck!

I Didn't Know it was a Jujitsu Match!

The Great Grappling Match

I got a call from my matchmaker (that's the person who sets up fights for me) to ask if I was interested in competing in a grappling match (which is pretty much a wrestling match with submissions) against Tonya Evinger. I'd been trying to get a fight with her all year, and, so, my response was "Of course!". I was excited! They told me the promoter (a typically dirty lot- who are not to be trusted) who give me $500 to grapple and $500 more if I won- in addition to gas money, room and board. I was all over that. I took time off of work- got my posse together (my husband, Debi and Katelynn) to corner me.

I was told that Tonya, an excellent wrestler, would be coming in at 140 pounds. I was cool with that, though I was at 125 at the time. I worked to gain as much as I could and brought heavy clothes and 4 pound hand weights to make my weight more impressive at the weigh in. With all that- I weighed in at 135.

We found out that the promoter would only be able to get us $100 after we got down there (LA area). I was not pleased- but I was game to grapple. Tonya was irked, too, and was not willing to bust her hump to cut weight at that price. So, she came in probably over 150. She's 5'8"- so you can just picture us looking like little sprout and jolly green giant. I didn't care- I was there for the match.

She brought her entourage with her (including a camera crew that is covering her life for a possible reality show on Spike tv). A couple of her girls spotted Debi and Katelynn and wanted matches with them. Of course, you know, my girls were totally game! When it came down to brass tacks, though, whoever wanted Debi- she backed out. Maybe she found out that Debi had a kickboxing title? Who knows.

So, Katelynn and I are getting ready- we're both a little nervous- these girls are awesome wrestlers and jujitsu trained (we are judo trained- this is a jujitsu match). Katelynn goes first. The girl rushes her to the side and gets her down! Katelynn defends like a champ and almost catches her in an arm bar at one point, but the girl has too much ground game. In the 5 minute match, she defeats Katelynn by points only (no submissions). Katelynn was pretty disappointed, but eveyone who watched could see how much potential she has. I was SO proud of her!

Next, I was up- I was pretty much warming up next to Tonya- weird for me to talk to someone prior to a match. She was very cool- no attitude whatsoever. I have to admit- I liked her. I've watched her fights on tv a few times and was always impressed with her talents. We get in the ring, touch hands and I'll be darned if she didn't get around to the side and get me down on my back rather quickly! (I'd been training for a front attack.) We had eachother in headlocks at the same time. We got out and were both attempting arm bars and head locks for the rest of the 5 minute match. She was on top the whole time, but she didn't submit me. So you can guess who one. She got me on points. I was just glad she didn't submit me, but, like Katelynn, I was a bit disappointed with my performance.

When it was all over, Tonya let us know that they might air the matches on Spike tv (if they pick up the pilot). Katelynn and I talked about the fact that the world will have an opportunity to see how well Red Bluff girls fight from our backs. We are both looking forward to MMA matches against these girls so they can see our stand up skills (that's where WE shine!)

My Girls- MMA's future superstars!


Once upon a time, way back in the early 90's, there were 2 female kick boxers (that would be me and Debi). I say only 2 because back then, female fighters were very rare indeed. We had to travel far and wide to find other females to train with. We even went as far as Bakersfield to train with Kathy Long (a legend in kickboxing).
I was always asking other female athletes to come give fighting a try- adding that it was a phenomenal workout both for the aerobic and the strengthening benefits. Still, very rarely would I get any women to come try it. Most looked at me like I was crazy.
So, fast forward to the present. Something wonderful has happened! Females are more adventurous and more open to trying new methods of training and working out. I currently have at least 8 girls (all in high school) who are very active in my Fight Club!
Some nights, it's almost all females upstairs. It makes my heart swell with pride! These aren't just your aerobicizing females either. These are hard hitting, hard throwing girls that mean business. They are there to learn all aspects of fighting. At least 3 of them want to compete in boxing now and MMA when they turn 18 (you have to be at least 18 to fight MMA in California).
I used to think that maybe Debi and I were weird- perhaps a little bit violent. We like to beat people up. We don't mind getting bloody. A black eye, to us, is like a beautiful make over- a badge of honor (although 2 black eyes makes you look lame- like you don't know how to keep your hands up).
Now I realize that a lot of females have the same desire to step into the ring and throw down. A lot of females like to test their skills against each other. A lot of females don't mind getting a fat lip (you don't need collagen injections- come to Fight Club- we'll give you that bee stung look).
Remember those old Virginia Slims commercials? You've come a long way, baby! Well, they were dumb because they encouraged women to smoke. But I'd like to swipe that slogan just for today. Ladies, be proud- you really have come a long way!

Getting a Pro License

Current mood: amused

Well- it looks like I have to get my pro license if I want a stab at some good fights (not just casino fights- which I'll still take). What a pain! I didn't realize all the doctors and tests it took. I need to see a general physician, an opthamalogist, a neurologist (and probably a gynacologist, a chiropractor and an ear nose and throat specialist). I have to get an MRI, an EKG, hepatitist A,B and C tests, HIV test, unspecified urine test (drug test?), and who knows what else.

What cracks me up the most is the MRI- what, you can't fight if you have pre-exisiting brain damage? What do they think getting hit in the head repeatedly does to you, anyway?

Another thing that gets my goat- to be licensed in Nevada (I'm working on California and Nevada licences) I have to get a SPECIAL licence because I was born before 1972. If I felt like an old broad before, I'll feel like a REALLY old broad when I have to present my special license. My husband jokes that I may as well get licensed through AARP while I'm at it.

Oh well- I'll do it because I want to fight. I'm just praying for some sponsorship- because my insurance will only cover so much. Anyone out there want to sponsor a professional fighter? I'll put your name all over me! Shorts, shirt, sports bra... whatever! Seriously- let me know. It'd be a great advertising opportunity (and a tax write off?)