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!