Tuesday, April 15, 2014

IFBB Pro Alana Shipp Interview




Photos Credits
Photo 1: Bluddi.com
Photo 2: Mike Yurkovic
Photos 3-4: Dan Ray/Muscular Development

Each year we welcome several know IFBB Pro bodybuilders. In 2013 there were several, but the one who impressed me the most was Alana Shipp. The physique was obviously amazing, but she had a stage presence, a look of confidence in herself, like she was commanding the stage and your attention. On top of that, she has a tremendous attitude, the right mind set to achieve big things in the sport. I am not alone in that thought as for my site the fans voted her as the 2013 Amateur Bodybuilder of the Year, up against some very good competition. She is set to make her pro debut soon at the Toronto Pro in May. I think very quickly, Alana will become a serious threat at pro shows. Due to where each of us is located, we had to do this interview on-line as opposed to recorded or on the show, but still, was very happy and honored to be able to have Alana do this interview. Here is your chance to learn a little more about Alana Shipp.



Q: First, what initially got you interested in weight training?
A: was desperate to lose weight and hired a trainer who incorporated weights with cardio. I realized then that I enjoyed lifting.

Q: How long were you training when you decided to compete and why did you want to compete?
A: I was training for about 4-5 months. As my body began leaning out. My trainer saw the muscles surfacing and suggested it and suggested I give it a try. I felt I had nothing to lose so I went for it.

Q: You currently reside in Israel, how did you end up living there? Is bodybuilding at all popular there?
A: My husband came here for a job and my kids and I joined him here over 5 years ago.
Bodybuilding is not very popular here and definitely not for women but it seems to be catching on a bit more.

Q: Going back to the first show, were you nervous at all?
A: was extremely nervous going back to the 1st show. However, I felt like I dug deep and did everything I needed to in order to prepare for that moment so I had to ignore the nervousness and give me my best. When I step on stage all nervousness vanished and I came alive.

Q: After it was over, did you know you wanted to keep doing it?
A: After it was over I was sure I wanted to do it again because it came and passed much too fast. Not only that, I didn't feel like I took the time to enjoy it enough because of nervousness. I wanted a chance to do it all over again while appreciating every moment.

Q: Were your family and friends supportive of your bodybuilding?
A: My family and friends have been very supportive of my bodybuilding. Much more than I could ever have imagined. Without their support this would not have been possible.

Q: You won your pro card at Nationals last year, did you feel going in like you had a real shot at it?
A: I'm a person who typically doubts myself but my coach drilled in my head that the pro card was mine leading up to Nationals last year. I had no option to believe anything else other than I was leaving Florida as a pro. I felt very confident that I had a real shot at it.

Q: After pre-judge you obviously knew you had a good chance at it, did that make you any more nervous for the finals?
A: After pre-judging I relaxed a lot because I felt even more confident that I had won. I pretty much just enjoyed the rest of the time after that.

Q: When you realized you were now a pro, do you remember what went through your head?
A: All I remember thinking was "I did it. It's official. I'm a pro."

Q: Some of the pros I interview say that it didn't sink in right away, that it took something, did you have a moment where it sunk in that you were now a pro?
A: It took a while to sink in for me that I was a pro. There are some moments even now when I still can't believe it. For a long time it felt like a dream. I don't know what it will take for it to really sink in. Maybe after I step on a pro stage.

Q: Does the pro card carry more responsibility in your mind as far as how you represent the sport?
A: I don't think it carries more responsibility as far as how I represent the sport because I've always given 110% of myself. I continue to do just that.

Q: When are you making your pro debut?
A: My pro debut will be at the end of May at Toronto Pro.

Q: From Nationals, was there a specific area you wanted to improve?
A: I always want to make improvements to my physique. An area that I've worked the hardest to improve is my back. I continue to be a work in progress.

Q: Competing on a pro stage, do you expect to feel more nervous at all?
A: I expect there will be some nervousness competing on a pro stage as it's something I've never done before. Actually, I think there will always be some nervousness stepping onstage but I welcome that feeling. It will keep me on track

Q: As an amateur you competed at lightweight, do you feel adding more size is important for you on a pro stage?
A: As an amateur I competed at the METS at lightweight, I added size and competed at Nationals as a middleweight. I've also added a bit more in preparation for my pro debut. Ultimately, I would like to add around 10 more pounds to my weight at Nationals.

Q: Is the Olympia the goal, now that you have a pro card, is that the next challenge?
A: Yes, Olympia is the next challenge for me.

Q: Less and less of the local shows have bodybuilding for women, and when they do, there are not as many competitors, as a bodybuilder yourself, does that upset you?
A: Yes this is upsetting. When I began competing, my goal wasn't to be a bodybuilder, I wanted to compete in a smaller category. I feel my body led me down this path. Now I enjoy being a bodybuilder. It's hard to work so hard and have limited opportunities to display that hard work.
Q: Do you see any way to start getting more women to do bodybuilding?
A: I don't see a way to start getting more women competing as bodybuilders but I hope to see more do it, as well as more shows that include female bodybuilding.
Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: First of all I would like to thank you for this opportunity. I'd like to thank my amazing family and friends as well as my coach and my incredibly supportive teammates. Without the support of the people mentioned above, I would not have made it this far in this sport.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rumble in the Cage 49 Report




The following is my play by play of Rumble in the Cage 49 held on April 5th 2014 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. This card was a pro/am.

1. Amateur Welterweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Kyle McCloud (0-0 Unified MMA) vs Chris Pinky (0-0 Champions Creed)

RD 1: They trade punches. They clinch on the cage. McCloud drops him with punches. They stand clinched but Pinky gets a takedown and they grapple trying for position. They stand clinched on the cage. Knees to the leg by Pinky. More knees by Pinky. The ref separates them. McCloud drops him with punches and lands more as the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 McCloud

RD 2: Pinky shoots and they clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Pinky. The ref separates them. They trade punches and then clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Pinky. They separate. Takedown by Pinky into guard. Pinky moves to half guard. Punches to the leg by Pinky. Body shots by Pinky.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Pinky

RD 3: Takedown by Pinky but the are up quick and clinch on the cage. Takedown by Pinky into half guard. Pinky gets mount. Punch to the head by Pinky. More head shots by Pinky. Body shots by Pinky. Head shots by Pinky.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Pinky
My score card: 29-28 Pinky

Result: Chris Pinky via Unanimous Decision (scores not read)

2. Amateur Bantamweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Jordan McDonald (1-3 Outlaw MMA) vs Ben Fehr (1-2 CMC)

RD 1: They trade jabs. They trade hard punches. Fehr drops him with punches but McDonald is up quick and they clinch on the cage. Fehr gets a guillotine and drops down with it and gets the tap.

Result: Ben Fehr via Tapout (Guillotine) at 0:50 of Round 1

3. Amateur Heavyweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Dale Moore (0-0 Esteban's Combat Sports) vs Dan Bradshaw (0-0 Guerrilla MMA)

RD 1: Takedown by Bradshaw and he gets his back. Nice reverse by Moore and he is on top in guard. Moore stands and drops down head shots. They stand clinched on the cage. Punch to the head by Moore.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Moore

RD 2: Hook by Bradshaw. They clinch on the cage. Punch to the head by Bradshaw. More head shots by Bradshaw. Body shots by Bradshaw. The ref separates them. Cross by Moore. They trade jabs. They clinch on the cage and trade head shots. They separate. Bradshaw hurts him with punches. They clinch on the cage. Head shots by Bradshaw.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Bradshaw

RD 3: Leg kick by Bradshaw and another. Bradshaw lands punches on the cage. They clinch on the cage. Head shots by Bradshaw. The ref separates them but Moore verbally taps.

Result: Dan Bradshaw via Verbal Tapout at 1:30 of Round 3

4. Amateur 160LB Catch Weight 3x3x3 Rounds
Hayden Harrison (2-1 Canuckles) vs Cornelius Krahn (1-2 CMC)

RD 1: Cross by Harrison. Takedown by Harrison into guard. Head shots by Harrison. Harrison stands and drops down punches and then drops into side control. Harrison looks for an arm triangle but can't get it. Harrison stands and drops down punches and then gets his back. Krahn rolls and gets on top in guard. Harrison gets a triangle and the tap.

Result: Hayden Harrison via Tapout (Triangle) at 1:59 of Round 1

5. Amateur Middleweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Darcy Cassie (0-1 Cardinal MMA) vs Colton Cronkite (1-1 CMC)

RD 1: They trade leg kicks. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Cassie into guard. Cronkite defends well. They stand. Body kick by Cronkite. Cross by Cassie. Cronkite shoots and they clinch on the cage. Slam by Cronkite into guard. Punch to the body by Cronkite.
I scored RD 1: 10-10

RD 2: They trade hard punches. They clinch on the cage. Cassie tries for an arm but can't get it. Takedown by Cronkite into half guard. Cronkite is bleeding bad from the nose. Cronkite gets mount and lands head shots. Cassie tries to roll but Cronkite gets a triangle for the tap.

Result: Colton Cronkite via Tapout (Triangle) at 1:48 of Round 2

6. Amateur Featherweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Charles Haskett (0-1 MMA University) vs Miguel Tock (1-3 CMC)

RD 1: Tock throws a punch off the touch of the gloves, very dirty. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Tock into half guard. Haskett looks for a guillotine. Body shots by Tock. They stand and drop down and Tock gets his back and lands head shots. Body shots by Tock. Tock gets a body triangle and then the rear naked for the tap.

Result: Miguel Tock via Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:55 of Round 1

7. Amateur Lightweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Nic Grandbois (2-4 Unified MMA) vs Josh Goodheart (3-1 Brandon Academy of MMA)

RD 1: They clinch on the cage. Goodheart looks for a guillotine and gets it for the tap.

Result: Josh Goodheart via Tapout (Guillotine) at 0:28 of Round 1

8. Pro Light Heavyweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Jordan Murray (7-11 Lethbridge Fight Club) vs Josh Heinz (0-0 CMC)

RD 1: They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Heinz. Knee to the body by Heinz. They drop down but stand quick. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Murray and another. Takedown by Heinz against the cage and he lands head shots till Murray Taps.

Result: Josh Heinz via Tapout (Strikes) at 2:20 of Round 1

9. Pro Welterweight 5x5x5x Rounds
Tyler Siwak (0-0 Scheer's MMA) vs Josh Kitchen (5-3 PAC Martial Arts)

RD 1: Siwak hurts him with punches and Kitchen drags him down but Siwak is on top in guard and lands elbows to the head. Punches to the head by Siwak. They stand clinched on the cage. Knee to the leg by Siwak and another. Punch to the head by Siwak. Knee to the body by Siwak. Head shots by Siwak. Knee to the leg by Siwak. Head shots by Siwak. Knee to the leg by Siwak. Knee to the body by Siwak. Punch to the head by Kitchen. Knee to the body by Kitchen.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Siwak

RD 2: Push kick by Kitchen. They clinch on the cage. Punch to the head by Kitchen. Takedown by Siwak into guard. Kitchen goes for a triangle and Siwak moves to side control. Kitchen gets half guard. Punch to the body by Siwak. Kitchen defends well. Body shots by Siwak. Head shots by Siwak. Punch to the body by Siwak. More body shots by Siwak.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Siwak

RD 3: Hook by Siwak. Uppercut by Kitchen. They clinch on the cage. Kitchen lands an illegal elbow to the back of the head and is warned as action stops. Siwak is cut from the elbow. After the doctor checks him they resume. They trade punches. Body kick by Siwak. Jab and cross by Kitchen. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the head by Kitchen. Foot stomp by Siwak. Takedown by Siwak into guard. Punch to the head from the bottom by Kitchen. Punch to the body by Siwak. Punch to the head by Siwak. Elbow to the head by Siwak. Siwak gets his back and then gets mount. Punch to the head by Siwak. Siwak gets his back but Kitchen gets half guard. Siwak gets side control and looks for an arm triangle as the round ends.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Siwak
My score card: 30-27 Siwak

Result: Tyler Siwak via Unanimous Decision (Scores not read)

10. Pro Light Heavyweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Trenton Rowell (0-2 Iron Fist MMA) vs Adam Kaupp (0-0 CMC)

RD 1: Kaupp shoots in and gets a takedown into half guard. Rowell rolls and is on top landing hard head shots. They stand clinched on the cage. Knees to the body by Rowell. As the drop down Kaupp injuries his foot and taps.

Result: Trenton Rowell via Tapout (Injury) at 0:45 of Round 1

11. Pro 215LB Catch Weight 5x5x5 Rounds
Shawn Pauliuk (1-5 Way of the Dragon) vs Devon Neis (4-3 Black Dragon)

RD 1: They trade hard punches. Pauliuk drops him with a hook and gets on top. Neis is bleeding bad from the nose. Pauliuk goes for a guillotine and Nies escapes. They stand and trade hard shots. Neis is bleeding really bad from the nose. They trade more hard punches. They clinch but separate quick. They trade more hard shots. Leg kick by Neis. Jab by Pauliuk. Cross by Neis. Neis lands punches and the cage. Pauliuk looks gassed. Neis lands more hard punches till the ref stops it.

Result: Devon Neis via TKO at 2:56 of Round 1

12. Pro Welterweight Kickboxing 3x3x3 Rounds
Matt Krayco (0-0 Dynamic MMA) vs Peter Neufeld (0-0 CMC)

RD 1: Leg kick by Neufeld. Leg kick by Krayco. Jab to the body by Krayco. Leg kick by Neufeld. Leg kick by Krayco. They trade body kicks. Leg kick by Krayco. They trade punches. Leg kick by Neufeld. Hook by Krayco. Two leg kicks by Krayco. Cross by Krayco. Leg kick by Neufeld and another. Uppercut by Krayco. Cross by Neufeld.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Krayco

RD 2: They trade leg kicks. Leg kick by Krayco. Leg kick by Krayco. Leg kick by Neufeld. Hook by Krayco. Leg kick by Krayco and another. Hook by Neufeld. Cross by Krayco. Hook to the body by Neufeld and another. Jab by Neufeld. Body kick by Krayco. Hook by Neufeld.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Krayco

RD 3: Cross by Neufeld. Leg kick by Krayco. Body kick by Neufeld. Cross by Krayco. They trade punches. Jab by Neufeld. Leg kick by Krayco. Hook by Neufeld. Cross by Neufeld. They trade jabs. Leg kick by Krayco. Cross by Neufeld. Leg kick by Neufeld. Jab by Krayco. Cross by Neufeld. Leg kick by Krayco. Cross by Neufeld.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Neufeld
My score card: 29-28 Krayco

Result: Matt Krayco via Split Decision (scores not read)

13. Pro Lightweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Jose Rodriguez (10-2 Scheer's Marital Arts) vs Derek Boyle (11-6 CMC)

RD 1: Hook by Rodriguez. They clinch and move to the cage. Knee to the leg by Boyle. Knee to the body by Rodriguez. Boyle is cut by his eye. They separate. Hook by Rodriguez. Leg kick by Boyle. Cross and hook by Rodriguez. Leg kick by Boyle. They trade punches. Hook by Rodriguez. Cross by Rodriguez. Leg kick by Boyle. Rodriguez catches a kick and takes him down but they are up quick. Leg kick by Rodriguez. Cross by Rodriguez.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Rodriguez

RD 2: Leg kick by Boyle. Hook by Rodriguez. They trade hard punches. Cross by Rodriguez. Leg kick by Boyle. Cross by Rodriguez. Jab by Rodriguez. Jab to the body by Rodriguez. Takedown by Boyle into guard. Boyle gets side control and lands head shots. Rodriguez rolls and they are in north south. Boyle gets on top in half guard and lands head shots.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Boyle

RD 3: Leg kick by Boyle. Cross by Rodriguez. Hook by Boyle. They trade punches. Hook by Rodriguez. They clinch on the cage but separate quick. Jab by Boyle. They trade punches. Leg kick by Rodriguez. They clinch and separate quick. They trade punches. Rodriguez is bleeding from the nose. Hook by Rodriguez. They trade hooks. Leg kick by Rodriguez. Double jab by Boyle. They trade crosses. Hook by Rodriguez. They trade jabs. Hook to the body by Rodriguez. Hook by Boyle. They trade punches. Leg kick by Rodriguez. Rodriguez shoots by Boyle sprawls.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Boyle
My score card: 29-28 Boyle

Result: Derek Boyle via Split Decision (scores not read)

Submission of the Night: Colton Cronkite

Knockout of the Night: Devon Neis

Fight of the Night: Shawn Pauliuk vs Devon Neis

Monday, March 24, 2014

Shofight: Legacy Report





Here is my play by play of Shofights Legacy. It was an all amateur card. There were also a couple grappling exhibitions that I chose not to do play by play on.

1. Welterweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Josh Craft (1-0 Branson Fight Club) vs George Still (7-12 Integrated Fighting Systems)

RD 1: They trade punches and clinch on the cage. Head shots by Craft. Takedown by Craft into half guard. Head shots by Craft. Body shots by Craft. Still rolls and gets on top in side control and goes for an arm. Craft rolls and gets on top and gets mount. Head shots by Craft. Craft goes for an arm triangle. Still escapes and gets his back and looks for a rear naked. Still flattens him but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Craft

RD 2: Cross by Still. They trade punches. They clinch on the cage. They drop down and Craft gets his back. Body shots by Craft. Still rolls and gets on top in side control. Craft escapes and is on top but stands and drops down punches. They stand and clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Still. Still gets a takedown but Craft lands on top in mount and lands head shots. Craft gets his back and a rear naked for the tap.

Result: Josh Craft via Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:50 of Round 2

2. Bantamweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Truman Wrone (0-0 Harrison Fight Club) vs Curtis Harris (0-1 Iron Core Gym)

RD 1: They trade hard punches. They clinch in the center and Wrone gets a takedown into side control. Harris gets guard. Short head shots by Wrone. Harris escapes and they stand clinched on the cage. They separate. Double jab by Wrone. Body kick by Harris. Jab by Wrone. They trade hooks. They clinch but separate quick. Leg kick by Harris. Body kick by Harris.
I scored RD 1: 10-0 Harris

RD 2: They trade punches. Hard hook by Harris. Body kick by Harris. Wrone looks gassed. Uppercut by Harris. Harris shoots in and gets a takedown into side control. Knees to the body by Harris. Harris gets mount and lands head shots till the ref stops it.

Result: Curtis Harris via TKO at 1:55 of Round 2

3. Light Heavyweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Rowdy Trivett (0-0 Cantrell's) vs Lance Lee (14-18 Blue Collar Combat)

RD 1: They trade punches. Takedown by Trivett and he gets mount. Head shots by Trivett. Trivett gets his back and lands body shots. Trivett looks for a rear naked. Lee escapes and gets on top in guard. Head shots by Lee. They stand. Uppercut by Trivett. Clinch on on a cage. Body shots by Trivett. Trivett drags him down and the are in north south. Body shots by Trivett.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Trivett

RD 2: Leg kick by Trivett. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Trivett and he gets mount. Punch to the head by Trivett. Trivett gets his back. Body shots by Trivett. Trivett gets mount again. Head shots by Trivett. Trivett gets his back again and lands body shots. Trivett lands a couple punches to the spine that the ref ignores.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Trivett

RD 3: Hard cross by Trivett. Takedown by Trivett and he gets mount. Head shots by Trivett. Trivett gets his back and a rear naked for the tap.

Result: Rowdy Trivett via Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:02 of Round 3

4. Featherweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Ruben Marin (2-0 Branson Fight Club) vs Ryan Hunnell (0-6)

RD 1: Cross and hook by Marin. They trade punches. Push kick by Marin. Hook by Marin. Cross by Marin. Marin drops him with a hook and gets his back. Marin lets him up. Jab by Marin. Body kick by Marin. Front kick by Marin. Cross by Marin. Marin drops him with a cross and gets on top landing more punches till the ref stops it.

Result: Ruben Marin via TKO at 2:21 of Round 1

5. Light Heavyweight Title 4x4x4 Rounds
Dalton Knight (5-1 Team Gladiator) vs Kyle Noblitt (3-1 Noblitt Family)

RD 1: Leg kick by Noblitt. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Noblitt. Body shots by Knight. Knee to the leg by Noblitt. Takedown by Noblitt into half guard. Noblitt looks for a D'arce choke but can't get it. Noblitt gets mount and lands head shots. Noblitt goes for an arm but can't get it. Punch to the head by Noblitt. More head shots by Noblitt. Knight gets half guard but then Noblitt gets side control.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Noblitt

RD 2: Spinning body kick by Noblitt. Noblitt lands hard punches on the cage. Knight shoots by Noblitt sprawls and gets his back and lands head shots. The ref warns Noblitt's corner for swearing. Noblitt gets mount. Noblitt tries for a kimura and then a key lock but can't get it. Punch to the head by Noblitt. Body shots from the bottom by Knight. Head shots by Noblitt. Noblitt tries for an armbar but Knight escapes and Noblitt gets mount again and tries for a key lock as the round ends.
I scored RD 2: 10-8 Noblitt

RD 3: They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Noblitt. Punch to the body by Noblitt. Knee to the leg by Noblitt. Takedown by Noblitt into mount. Head shots by Noblitt. Punch to the body by Noblitt. Noblitt goes for an American and gets it for the tap.

Result: Kyle Noblitt via Tapout (Americana) at 3:05 of Round 3

6. Amateur Strawweight Title 4x4x4 Rounds
Garren Lorenz (5-3 UMMA) vs Miles McDonald (7-2 Hybrid MMA)

RD 1: They trade leg kicks. Hook by McDonald. Cross by Lorenz. Hard hook by McDonald. Takedown by McDonald but Lorenz looks for a guillotine. They trade body shots. McDonald escapes the guillotine and gets mount. Nice job by Lorenz to escape and they stand. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by McDonald into half guard. Body shots by McDonald. Punch to the head by McDonald. McDonald goes for an armbar and then triangle but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 McDonald

RD 2: They trade hooks. Body kick by Lorenz. Leg kick by McDonald. Jab and cross by Lorenz. Slam by McDonald into half guard. Body shots from the bottom by Lorenz. McDonald gets mount and lands head shots. McDonald gets his back and a rear naked for the tap.

Result: Miles McDonald via Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:40 of Round 2

7. Amateur Welterweight Title 4x4x4 Rounds
Ross Campbell (9-0 Branson Fight Club) vs J.J. Huff (0-0 Cantrell's MMA)

RD 1: Campbell shoots and they clinch on the cage. Body shots by Huff. They separate. Leg kick by Huff. Takedown by Campbell into half guard. Campbell gets an armbar and the tap.

Result: Ross Campbell via Tapout (Armbar) at 1:10 of Round 1

8. Amateur Welterweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Clint Davis (0-0 Harrison Fight Club) vs Chet Mellington (1-0 Outkast MMA)

RD 1: They trade jabs. Hook by Mellington. They clinch on the cage and separate quick. Leg kick by Mellington. Cross by Mellington. They clinch and separate quick. Cross by Davis. Jab to the body by Mellington. Leg kick by Mellington and another. They trade jabs. Leg kick by Mellington. Mellington puts him out with a hook.

Result: Chet Mellington via KO at 1:33 of Round 1

9. Amateur Flyweight Title 4x4x4 Rounds
James Gerkey (5-0 Team Respect) vs Ray Allard (11-5 Cantrell's MMA)

RD 21: Leg kick by Allard. Jab by Gerkey. They trade punches. Body kick by Gerkey. Leg kick by Allard. Leg kick by Gerkey. Slam by Gerkey into guard. Gerkey gets side control. Head shots by Gerkey. Hammer fist to the body by Gerkey. Allard pulls guard. Body shots by Gerkey. Gerkey gets side control and then gets his back and gets a rear naked for the tap.

Result: James Gerkey via Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:56 of Round 1

10.Amateur Featherweight Title 4x4x4 Rounds
Katherine Farrow (0-0 Capital Punishment) vs Katy Collins (6-7 Branson Fight Club)

RD 1: They trade jabs. Cross by Collins. They trade punches. Takedown by Collins into side control. Head shots by Collins. Collins gets mount and lands more head shots till the ref stops it.

Result: Katy Collins via TKO at 0:55 of Round 1

Submission of the Night: Kyle Noblitt

Knockout of the Night: Chet Mellington

Fight of the Night: Garren Lorenz vs Miles McDonald

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Evolution Of A Zombie



Photos 1-2 courtesy of Mike Wrobel/Shoot It MMA
Photos 3-4 courtesy of Cali Fights Magazine




"I can't say that I've fully achieved my dream yet. I'm just starting to evolve."
Sean Combs

"I always thought of the zombies as being about revolution, one generation consuming the next."
George A. Romero

Fans in Ohio and the surrounding states have long known about Jessica Zomcik. Thew knew her to be among the best amateur fighters in the sport. She compiled a 9-3 record with only three defeats, two to Tamikka Brents and one to Amanda Wilcoxen which she avenged one year later. However outside of the area, Zomcik was not as well know except to the most die-hard of fans. Why? Jessica doesn't brag or boast. She doesn't tell you she is the best, she goes out and shows it. The only drawback to that is that unless you see those fights, you don't see what she is showing. While not being a big talker, one thing she does have is charisma, a natural charisma. You may see her fight and become a fan of her fighting, but once you meet Jessica, you can't help but become a fan of her as a person. Rarely, if ever, will you come across someone who has met Jessica and not liked her. Luckily, with women's MMA increasing in popularity, with more people covering women's MMA and with more and more information and video becoming available, more and more people outside the area have gotten to know about Jessica, more people have become aware, and it culminated in her winning several female amateur fighter of the year awards for 2013.

Jessica described herself in a previous interview with me as being "a tom-boy growing up", but also added that she didn't start playing sports until 10th grade when joining the high school football team. She wanted to be a kicker, but says she didn't do well so was put on the offensive line. She even went on to play semi-pro football for four years until some injuries put an end to that.

Her foray into MMA began when she met someone who was into the sport and he took her to watch a class and her former coach invited her to try a class. She said it took forever to understand the moves and get her body in such awkward ways. Even today she says she is still learning and that is one of the things she loves. She says she enjoys "learning how to manipulate your body". She adds that "people can't do somersaults and I know how to manipulate my body in such a way and submit you with these odd moves. It's fascinating, you are constantly learning. Just the other week I thought I knew how to throw a jab and Steve (Traczyk) showed me a little thing and I was like 'Oh my God, you put pressure here and not there'. It is a constant evolution of knowledge. In a previous interview with me when I asked what advice she would give to potential fighters, she perfectly explained her feelings when she said " You have to change your entire life, your social life is very minimal, your hair and skin are not going to be nice anymore, you will be hungry and will cry, but you will have so much fun."

In July 2009 Jessica made her amateur debut at NAAFS War on the Shore winning via TKO over Janel Kraftt in just twenty-six seconds. She says that afterwords she was surprised it went so fast saying "I didn't know why they were stopping it. I was like "oh, I won? That quick? That easy?' I couldn't believe it, it doesn't feel like it should be over that quick." What did her parents think of her fighting? "My parents were used to my odd choice in sports so they backed me one hundred percent."

Jessica followed that up by winning her second fight with a first round submission over Alyssa Vasquez before suffering the loss to Wilcoxen that she later avenged. She had a great career going till her loss to Tamikka Brents and taking 21 months off. In that time she joined a new gym, Evolve, a gym with a large number of fighters and making big waves. On the gym move she said "I had to get somewhere where I could make it to the top.... it was the best move I could make.

Evolve is loaded with some great amateurs and is now making some waves in the pros. She went 4-0 as an amateur under the Evolve banner winning four fights in impressive fashion. After her second fight with Evolve, a dominating decision win over Jena Baldwin, there were many in the sport who felt Zomcik was ready to turn pro. However with Jessica and her coaches, there was no rush. Evolve's John Cook says "fighters make the jump to pro way before they are prepared to compete at the next level.... the level of competition has grown exponentially." Cook adds that those who go pro early "usually have short careers.... if you are passionate about fighting and want to continue competing, you better be damn sure you are ready." Jessica's striking coach Steve Traczyk adds "We believe you need to be a martial artist who has trained for years in at least a few disciplines. That's what Jess is, a true martial artist." Zomcik's response when asked about it was that "she never felt ready, I wanted to hone my skills." She added "if you aren't ready, you don't have a long career."

After the first two fights with Evolve being with the NAAFS, Jessica got an offer to fight in Las Vegas for a Tuff-N-Uff tournament. It would seem a great opportunity for her, a chance to travel and not be the local fighter, experience that could help in the pros, where she will have to travel more. Jessica concurred saying it was a good experience with the weight cut and travel and not being liked. She went into those fights and put on outstanding performances showing both her stand-up and ground skills in winning both fights in the second round, finishing Bryanna Fissori via armbar and Shannon Reed via TKO. In fact, Jessica has finished the majority of her wins. When asked if their is a mindset to being a finisher she says about that some people are "more determined, not into squeaking by. Willing to put yourself in a dangerous situation.

So, how has Jessica become a better fighter since joining Evolve? Jessica says it is her stand-up, getting timing and distance down, as she says "all the little things." John Cook says "she's not even the same person." He says that she came to Evolve with excellent Jiu Jitsu, she was lacking in striking, wrestling and strength. He says that Steve Traczyk works tirelessly round after round to perfect her stand-up. He adds that wrestling with both himself and Sonny Marchette has had a huge impact on her confidence to both take opponents down and avoid being taken down herself. He also mentions Evolve's top flight strength and conditioning program is something that has helped Jessica. Traczyk also points to helping with her mental game and diet. He says "she was really good when we got her and we helped make her a champion." He adds that "she has brought just as much to our team with her leadership and knowledge. About training with mostly males, Jessica on numerous occasions has stated it's positives. John Cook says Jessica is "treated as a fighter, not a girl" and adds she holds her own and in some cases has done better." Traczyk adds that at Evolve they say "train with elephants and your opponent will feel like a peanut. Jessica is not above sharing that knowledge she has gained either. Amateur fighter Jessica Dinch talks about training with Zomcik and says "it was an awesome experience. She fights three weight classes above me so she is bigger and stronger. But when we trained together she used her technique instead of her strength and just beating me up. I got to do work and not just get thrown around the cage." She adds about Zomcik "I respect someone who is highly skilled and still trains with me and teaches me things. She doesn't think she is to good to work with me." In fact, Zomcik even came to one of Dinch's fights and worked her corner for her.

So after the Vegas fights, Jessica's career as an amateur came to an end, making many fight fans excited. John Cook says the decision was made after Tuff-N-Uff when he and Steve Traczyk agreed it was time.... timing is everything and with all the opportunities available to female fighters, it is time for her to seize those opportunities." With her wrapping her amateur career winning big fights and receiving multiple awards, one might wonder how she handled the attention. She handled it by remaining the same, humble. John Cook adds "she is humble, but very confident" saying she handled it will professionalism, class and appreciation." Steve Traczyk adds that she is "not an attention seeker and no awards will ever change that." At many local fights you will see Jessica stopping to chat and take a photo with anyone who will ask her.

When an amateur career ends, a pro career begins and Jessica's pro career was set to begin with a March 1st match-up for Driven MMA with the talented Summer Bradshaw. When I asked Jessica her thoughts on how they match up, she was complimentary of Bradshaw but felt she was the more technical fighter and that would play a huge role in a win. John Cook agreed but also added she is "better conditioned, more well-rounded, more experienced and better prepared." Steve Traczyk also points out her heart and intelligence adding her fight IQ is "through the roof."

Fight day, before the doors opened, as fighters were walking about or relaxing, Jessica seemed confident. Seemed she knew the win was coming and was just getting ready for a night of work. She said it was "the same old song and dance." The women would be the first fight after intermission, Jessica had already seen teammate Kyle Rozewski walk away with a victory. Bradhsaw came out looking confident as well, same as she appeared the night before at weigh-ins. Jessica walked out to a very loud ovation, the benefits of having the home crowd support, fans who had seen her grow up in the sport. After introductions, both fighters seemed ready to go at it. They came out and both fighters threw a flurry of punches and kicks. Neither seemed to have gotten the better of the other. Then Zomcik pulled guard and took it down and immediately began to work on submissions before securing an armbar at the 3:17 mark of the opening round. When asked when she knew it was over, Jessica said " When I felt her elbow pop out." Jessica said she expected her opponent to come out aggressive and was not surprised by Bradshaw's stand-up. Was pulling guard part of the game-plan? Jessica says "Because I wasn't feeling well I knew my gas tank was limited and I didn't feel like I was doing much damage standing up. I knew my ground game was much better than hers so I decided to take her arm." Why was her gas tank limited? Because she was battling food poisoning. Did she consider not fighting? She says "There was no doubt that I was going to fight, I didn't feel well at all and was probably at sixty percent when I stepped in the cage. I couldn't warm up more than thirty seconds without feeling nauseous and exhausted. It just wasn't like me to feel this way. But fighters fight, there was no other option." She easily summed up her emotions after the fight saying she was "Relieved and happy to represent my team and family well."

With her first fight in the books, I asked Jessica what was next and she simply said "we'll see." How good can Jessica be? Steve Traczyk says "she can go to the top of the sport, there is nothing she can't do." John Cook says "we shall see, I think pretty fucking good" adding she is "already the best seamstress in the world." Jessica Dinch adds "she'll be the champ one day" adding that before turning pro she was "already better than some of the pros out there."

Different people are meant to do different things, be it a writer, a teacher, a police officer, you name the profession. Jessica Zomcik was meant to be a fighter. Not cause she is some mean person or because she has some penchant for violence. She was meant to be a fighter because she is a competitor, a competitor that likes to test her skills and continue learning, and what better outlet for that than mixed martial arts. Jessica will continue to evolve, improve and climb the ranks to the top of her class. Jessica "The Zombie" Zomcik is a name that MMA fans need to get used to, it's gonna be around for a long time.

Follow Jessica on twitter at https://twitter.com/jzthezombie
Jessica's fan page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/JessicaTheZombieZomcik

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Driven MMA 1 Play By Play





March 1st was the Driven MMA debut. An all pro card featuring great talent from top to bottom. The card featured some exciting finishes as well as some match-ups that went the distance and entertained. All in all, it was a good first step in the plans for Driven MMA.

I am joined in scoring the fights by fellow media members Nikolai Gionti from the Octagon Control Podcast and my Promoting Real Women Radio co-host Sarah Goodlaxson.

1. Heavyweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Curt Lemmon (1-0 Dungeon MMA) vs Ryan Walls (2-0 Peak Submission)

RD 1: They trade Jabs. Walls lands punches. Clinch on the cage. Head shots by Lemmon. Knee to the leg by Lemmon. Body shots by Walls. Knee to the leg by Walls. Uppercut by Lemmon. Knee to the leg by Lemmon. Uppercut by Walls. Takedown by Lemmon and he gets his back. Punch to the head by Lemmon. More head shots by Lemmon. Lemmon gets mount and lands head shots.Lemmon gets his back again but Walls rolls and gets on top in half guard. Lemmon gets full guard. Walls moves back to half guard. Lemmon rolls and gets on top as the round ends.
Adams: 10-9 Lemmon
Gionti: 10-9 Lemmon
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Lemmon

RD 2: Double jab and cross by Lemmon. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Walls. They move to the center still clinched. Knee to the body by Walls. Uppercut by Lemmon. Body shots by Lemmon. Head shots by Lemmon. The ref separates them. They clinch on the cage. Walls is working for a single. Head shots by Walls. Body shots by Lemmon. Takedown by Lemmon and he gets his back. Head shots by Lemmon until the ref stops it.

Result: Curt Lemmon via TKO at 4:33 of Round 2

2. Welterweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Reggie Parks (2-1 Ronin Fight Team) vs Kenny Booker (2-1 Midwest Training Center)

RD 1: Clinch and Takedown by Booker into half guard. Booker pushes him to the cage. They stand clinched on the cage. Booker looks for a guillotine. Punches to the leg by Parks. Parks escapes from the guillotine. Knee to the leg by Booker and another. More knees to the leg by Booker. Knee to the leg by Parks. The ref separates them. Parks lands punches. Leg kick by Parks. Booker catches a kick and they clinch on the cage. Punch to the leg by Parks. Takedown by Parks into side control. Head shots by Parks.
Adams: 10-9 Parks
Gionti: 10-9 Booker
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Booker

RD 2: Takedown by Booker into half guard. Body shots by Booker. Booker pushes him against the cage. They stand clinched on the cage. Foot stomp by Parks. Takedown by Parks into half guard. Parks knees him in the face stopping action as the doctor comes in to check Booker. Parks is deducted a point but Booker can continue. They resume. Jab by Parks. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Booker. They separate. Hook by Parks. Leg kick by Booker. Leg kick by Parks. Hook by Parks. Leg kick by Booker. Parks shoots in and they clinch. Parks gets a takedown as the round ends.
Adams: 9-9
Gionti: 9-9
Goodlaxson: 9-9

RD 3: Jab by Parks. Booker accidentally pokes him in the eye stopping action. They resume. Leg kick by parks. Hook by Booker. Parks shoots but Booker sprawls. They clinch on the cage but after no action the ref separates them. Cross and body kick by Parks. They clinch on the cage. Parks is working for a takedown. They separate. Parks shoots in and they clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Parks. Head shots by Booker. The ref separates them. Parks lands punches on the cage. Parks shoots and Booker sprawls. Hard head shots by Booker. Parks shoots and Booker sprawls and lands body shots.
Adams: 10-9 Parks
Gionti: 10-9 Parks
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Parks

Score Cards
Adams: 29-27 Parks
Gionti: 28-28
Goodlaxson: 28-28

Result: Reggie Parks via Split Decision (29-26/27-28/29-28)

3. Featherweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Louis Johnson (2-0 Team Carlson Gracie) vs Wes Hanson (1-0 Leon Ramsey's Dawghouse Gym)

RD 1: Hanson lands hard punches. Takedown by Johnson and he gets his back in side control. They scramble and change positions. Johnson gets side control. Hanson pulls guard. Johnson gets his back. They stand clinched on the cage. Knee to the head by Johnson. They drop down in north south. Hanson gets his back. Punch to the head by Hanson. Hanson gets his hooks in. Nice reversal by Johnson and they stand. Cross by Hanson. They drop down and Hanson gets a guillotine for the tap.

Result: Wes Hanson via Tapout (Guillotine) at 2:50 of Round 1

4. Featherweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Kyle Rozewski (3-3 Evolve MMA) vs Dustin Kempf (6-6 Instigator Fight Team)

RD 1: Leg kick by Rozewski. Kempf falls throwing a kick and Rozewski rushes in by Kempf gets on top in guard. Rozewski gets a triangle and Kempf goes to sleep.

Result: Kyle Rozewski via Technical Submission (Triangle) at 1:15 of Round 1

5. Lightweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Anthony Morgan (3-0 Dayton MMA) vs George Comer (3-1 GriffonRawl)

RD 1: They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Comer against the cage in guard. Punch to the body by Comer. Comer moves to half guard. Comer stands and drops into side control. Elbow to the head by Comer. Morgan gets half guard. Comer gets his back and they stand and he still has his back. Morgan turns into him. Comer gets a takedown into half guard. Punch to the body by Comer. Comer moves to side control and gets his back in side control. Knee to the body by Comer.
Adams: 10-9 Comer
Gionti: 10-9 Comer
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Comer

RD 2: They clinch on the cage. Comer looks for a takedown. Elbows to the head by Morgan. Takedown by Comer into half guard. Morgan looks for a guillotine. They stand clinched on the cage. Takedown by Comer into guard. Head shots by Comer. Body shots by Comer. Comer stands and drops down hammer fists. They stand clinched on the cage. Takedown by Comer into guard. Body shots by Comer. Head shots by Comer. Comer stands and drops into side control.
Adams: 10-9 Comer
Gionti: 10-9 Comer
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Comer

RD 3: Comer shoots in and they clinch on the cage. Takedown by Comer into half guard. Head shots by Comer. Elbows to the head by Comer. Comer gets an arm triangle and gets the tap.

Result: George Comer via Tapout (Arm Triangle) at 2:02 of Round 3

6. Bantamweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Charles Stanford (4-1 G-Force MMA) vs Isaiah Chapman (4-1 Rock Hard MMA)

RD 1: Chapman lands punches. Takedown by Chapman but they are up quick. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Stanford. Body kick by Stanford. Leg kick by Stanford. Chapman drops him with a head kick and gets on top landing punches. Stanford gets half guard but Chapman gets his back and goes for a rear naked. Nice escape by Stanford and they stand clinched on the cage. They separate and Stanford lands a body kick. Jab by Stanford. Cross by Stanford. Takedown by Chapman into guard. They stand. Jab by Stanford. Jab by Chapman. Body kick by Chapman.
Adams: 10-9 Chapman
Gionti: 10-9 Chapman
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Chapman

RD 2: Body kick by Stanford. Leg kick by Stanford. Jab by Chapman. Leg kick by Stanford. Cross by Chapman. Body kick by Stanford. Cross by Chapman. Takedown by Chapman into side control. Chapman gets mount. Elbow to the head by Chapman. Nice job by Stanford to stand. Jab and cross by Chapman. Hook by Stanford. Hook by Chapman. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Chapman and he gets mount. Elbows to the head by Chapman. Nice sweep by Stanford to get on top in half guard. Hammer fist by Stanford. Stanford stands and drops down a punch and falls back into guard. They stand. They trade jabs. Chapman shoots and gets a takedown into side control. They stand. Jab and cross by Chapman.
Adams: 10-9 Chapman
Gionti: 10-9 Chapman
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Chapman

RD 3: Knee to the body by Stanford. Hook by Chapman. Leg kick by Stanford. Body kick by Stanford. Leg kick by Stanford. Jab by Chapman. Chapman's mouth is bleeding. Takedown by Chapman into half guard. Chapman gets mount. Head shots by Chapman. Stanford sweeps and gets on top in half guard. Stanford lands head shots. Stanford lets him up. They clinch on the cage and separate quick. Hook by Stanford. Leg kick by Stanford. Takedown by Chapman into guard. Body shots by Chapman. They stand. They trade punches. Chapman's nose is bleeding bad. They clinch on the cage but separate quick. Cross to the body by Stanford. Hook by Stanford and another. Jab by Chapman. They trade hard shots.
Adams: 10-9 Stanford
Gionti: 10-9 Stanford
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Chapman

Score cards
Adams: 29-28 Chapman
Gionti: 29-28 Chapman
Goodlaxson: 30-27 Chapman

Result: Isaiah Chapman via Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/29-28)

7. 140 pound Catch Weight 5x5x5 Rounds
Summer Bradshaw (0-1 Pariah MMA) vs Jessica Zomcik (0-0 Evolve MMA)

RD 1: They trade jabs. Leg kick by Zomcik. Jab by Zomcik. They trade jabs. Body kick by Zomcik. Cross by Zomcik. They trade jabs. Leg kick by Zomcik. Body kick by Bradshaw. Bradshaw lands punches. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Bradshaw. Knee to the leg by Zomcik. Zomcik pulls guard and goes for an arm. Bradshaw escapes. Zomcik goes for it again and gets the tap.

Result: Jessica Zomcik via Tapout (Armbar) at 3:17 of Round 1

8. Featherweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Ricky Musgrave (11-4 Pariah MMA) vs Frank Caraballo (Fearless Fight Team)

RD 1: Jab by Musgrave. Body kick by Caraballo. They trade hard punches. Cross by Musgrave. Leg kick by Caraballo. They trade punches. Musgrave catches a kick and gets a trip takedown. They stand clinched on the cage. Punch to the body by Caraballo. They separate. Spinning back fist by Caraballo. Jab by Musgrave. Leg kick by Musgrave. Cross by Caraballo. Front kick by Caraballo. Cross by Caraballo. They trade leg kicks.
Adams: 10-9 Musgrave
Gionti: 10-9 Musgrave
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Musgrave

RD 2: Body kick by Caraballo. Hook by Caraballo. They trade punches. Head kick by Musgrave. Leg kick by Musgrave and another. They trade punches on the cage. Caraballo drops him with a spinning back fist but Musgrave is up quick. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Caraballo and he gets his back. They stand. Leg kick by Caraballo. Musgrave is cut by his eye. Front kick by Caraballo. Spinning back fist by Caraballo. Jab by Caraballo.
Adams: 10-9 Caraballo
Gionti: 10-9 Caraballo
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Caraballo

RD 3: They trade hard punches. Jab to the body by Caraballo. Cross by Caraballo. Takedown by Musgrave into half guard. Musgrave gets side control. Head shots by Musgrave. Caraballo goes for a leg but Musgrave escapes and gets mount. Caraballo escapes but then Musgrave gets on top in half guard. Head shots by Musgrave. Musgrave gets mount and lands head shots. Sweep by Caraballlo and he is on top in guard. Head shots from the bottom by Musgrave. Head shots by Caraballo. Elbow to the head by Caraballo. They trade punches on the ground.
Adams: 10-9 Musgrave
Gionti: 10-9 Musgrave
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Musgrave

Score cards
Adams: 29-28 Musgrave
Gionti: 29-28 Musgrave
Goodlaxson: 29-28 Musgrave

Result: Ricky Musgrave via Split Decision (29-28/28-29/29-28)

9. Heavyweight 5x5x5 Rounds
William Penn (7-3 Independent) vs John Hawk (8-5 Strong Style Fight Team)

RD 1: Penn lands hard punches. They trade hard shots. They clinch on the cage. Hawk works for a takedown. Penn looks for a guillotine. They separate. Hook by Penn. They clinch on the cage. Head shots by Hawk. Body shots by Hawk. They separate. Hawk lands punches. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Hawk. Knee to the body by Hawk. They separate and trade punches. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Hawk and he gets his back. Head shots by Hawk. They stand clinched on the cage. They separate and trade punches. Takedown by Hawk into side control. Hawk gets his back and lands head shots. They stand clinched on the cage. Hard cross by Hawk. They clinch on the cage. Elbow to the head by Hawk. They trade head shots.
Adams: 10-9 Hawk
Gionti: 10-9 Hawk
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Hawk

RD 2: They trade punches. They clinch on the cage and separate quick. Hawk lands punches. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Hawk. Body shots by Hawk. They separate. Leg kick by Penn. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Hawk. More knees to the leg by Hawk. They separate. They trade punches. They clinch on the cage. They trade head shots. Foot stomp by Hawk. Knee to the leg by Hawk. Head shots by Hawk. Knee to the leg by hawk. They separate. Hook by Penn. They trade head shots. Knees to the leg by Hawk. Body shots by Hawk. Knees to the leg by Hawk.
Adams: 10-9 Hawk
Gionti: 10-9 Hawk
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Hawk

RD 3: Jab by Penn. They clinch on the cage but separate quick. They trade hard punches. They clinch on the cage and separate. They trade punches. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Hawk into half guard. Head shots by Hawk. Hawk gets his back and then they stand clinched on the cage. The ref separates them. They trade punches and then clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Hawk. Punches to the leg by Hawk. The ref separates them. Hook by Penn. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Hawk. Head shots by Penn. The ref separates them. They clinch again on the cage. Hawk works for a takedown and gets it and gets his back. Head shots by Hawk.
Adams: 10-9 Hawk
Gionti: 10-9 Hawk
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Hawk

Score cards
Adams: 30-27 Hawk
Gionti: 30-27 Hawk
Goodlaxson: 30-27 Hawk

Result: John Hawk via Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/29-28)

10. Featherweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Wes Lane (3-2 Butch Hiles BJJ and MMA) vs Antonio Castillo Jr. (7-4 Midwest Training Center)

RD 1: Jab by Castillo. They trade leg kicks. Body kick by Castillo. Hook by Lane. Hook by Castillo. Cross by Castillo. Hook by Lane. They clinch on the cage. Slam by Castillo into side control. Castillo gets a body triangle. Nice escape by Lane and they stand. Hook by Lane. Leg kick by Lane. Castillo gets a takedown and gets his back. They stand and he still has his back. Head shots by Castillo. Lane turns into him. Knee to the leg by Castillo. They separate. Jab by Castillo. Cross by Castillo. Lane falls throwing a kick and Castillo gets on top in side control. Elbows to the head by Castillo.
Adams: 10-9 Castillo
Gionti: 10-9 Castillo
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Castillo

RD 2: Jab and cross by Castillo. Cross by Castillo. Body kick by Lane. Leg kick by Castillo. Takedown by Castillo. Castillo stands and lands head shots and falls into half guard. Head shots by Castillo. Castillo gets his back and lands head shots. Lane is cut under his eye. Castillo gets a rear naked and gets the tap.

Result: Antonio Castillo Jr. via Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:41 of Round 2

11. Light Heavyweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Rodney Wallace (19-7-1 Team R.O.C. Charlotte) vs Maxim Grishin (15-6 Strong Style Fight Team)

RD 1: They trade jabs. They clinch on the cage. Slam by Wallace but they are up quick clinched on the cage. Knee to the body by Wallace. They separate. Hook by Grishin. They trade head shots. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Grishin and another. Knee to the leg by Wallace. Knee to the body by Wallace. The ref separates them. Front kick by Grishin. Leg kick by Grishin. Cross by Grishin. They clinch on the cage. Body shots by Grishin. Knee to the body by Grishin. Takedown by Grishin into side control. Knee to the body by Grishin. Punch to the head by Grishin
Adams: 10-9 Grishin
Gionti: 10-9 Grishin
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Grishin

RD 2: Leg kick by Grishin. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Wallace. They separate and Wallace lands punches. They clinch on the cage. Punch to the body by Wallace. Takedown by Grishin into half guard. Wallace goes for an arm but Grishin escapes. Grishin stands and drops down punches. Wallace tries for a leg and Grishin lets him up. They clinch and move to the cage. Knee to the leg by Grishin. Knee to the body by Wallace. The ref separates them. Takedown by Wallace into side control. They stand clinched as the round ends.
Adams: 10-9 Grishin
Gionti: 10-9 Grishin
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Grishin

RD 3: Leg kick by Grishin. Leg kick by Wallace.Hook by Wallace. Hard leg kick by Grishin. They clinch on the cage. Punches to the leg by Wallace. Knee to the body by Wallace. The ref separates them. Hook by Wallace. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Wallace. Knee to the body by Grishin. Grishin gets a takedown but they are up quick clinched on the cage. They drop down and Wallace gets his back. Head shots by Wallace. Wallace tries for an arm but Grishin escapes and they stand clinched on the cage. Knee to the body by Wallace.
Adams: 10-9 Wallace
Gionti: 10-9 Grishin
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Grishin

Score cards
Adams: 29-28 Grishin
Gionti: 30-27 Grishin
Goodlaxson: 30-27 Grishin

Result: Maxim Grishin via Split Decision (29-28/28-29/29-28)

12. 175 Pound Catch Weight 5x5x5 Rounds
Dominique Steele (10-4 Vision MMA) vs Dan Hornbuckle (20-7 ATT WarHawks)

RD 1: Body kick by Hornbuckle. Head kick by Hornbuckle. They clinch in the center. Knee to the body by Hornbuckle. They move to the cage. Knee to the body by Hornbuckle. The ref separates them. They trade hooks. Leg kick by Steele. Leg kick by Hornbuckle. Body kick by Hornbuckle. Hook by Steele. Leg kick by Steele and another. They clinch on the cage and separate quick. Leg kick by Steele. Hook by Hornbuckle. Body kick by Hornbuckle. Jab by Hornbuckle. Head kick by Hornbuckle. Body kick by Hornbuckle.
Adams: 10-9 Hornbuckle
Gionti: 10-9 Hornbuckle
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Hornbuckle

RD 2: They trade hard punches. They clinch on the cage. Hornbuckle looks for a takedown. Knee to the body by Steele. They separate. They trade punches. They clinch on the cage Takedown by Hornbuckle into half guard. Sweep by Steele and he is on top in guard. Body shots by Steele. Steele gets his back and lands body shots. Knee to the body by Steele. Head shots by Steele. They stand and trade punches. Slam by Steele into guard. Punch to the body by Steele.
Adams: 10-9 Steele
Gionti: 10-9 Steele
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Steele

RD 3: Body kick by Hornbucke. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Steele into guard. Elbow to the head by Steele. Punch to the head by Steele. Body shots by Steele. Hornbuckle goes for an arm but can't get it. Punch to the head by Steele.
Adams: 10-9 Steele
Gionti: 10-9 Steele
Goodlaxson: 10-9 Steele

Score Cards
Adams: 29-28 Steele
Gionti: 29-28 Steele
Goodlaxson: 29-28 Steele

Result: Dominique Steele via Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)

Submission of the Night: Kyle Rozewski

Knockout of the Night: Curt Lemmon

Fight of the Night: Charles Stanford vs Isaiah Chapman

Friday, February 14, 2014

Why We Believe


Photo Credit: Jacob Gibby Lane



It's a story I have told multiple times. The story of the first MMA card I ever covered as media. It was NAAFS Even of Destruction, a September 2010 all female card. The main event featured Jessica "Evil" Eye against Marissa "Shorty" Caldwell. I knew of Jessica but did not know Jessica. What I did know was that Marissa walked into a very hostile environment as I don't think she had a fan in the building, at least it seemed that way. The crowd was full of supporters, there to see Jessica. It being my first time as "media", I was unaware of proper protocol and feeling bad for Marissa, I began openly rooting for her, I mean somebody had to right? Jessica put on a great performance and won the fight. Even after rooting against her, I waited for a little bit, for the cage to be taken down, people to leave, until Jessica emerged from the locker room to get a picture with her and ask her to do one of my interviews, back when I did them by email. What impressed me was Jessica seemed more excited to take pictures with fans than the fans were to take pictures with her. Jessica said she would do one of my interviews, but unfortunately, we didn't get to it.

The next time I saw Jessica was the next even I covered. She had come to support teammates on the card. I stood there talking with Nichole Castillo, the NAAFS matchmaker, and Jessica walked in and gave me this big hug. My thought at the time was "she must be one of those people who forgets who she has long talks with and who she has short talks with and wants to be careful not to offend anyone." Over time, as I became better friends with her, I learned that the reality is that that is just Jessica. That's who she is, if you show her an ounce of support, she has great appreciation for you. Over the past couple years, through her training me, through her lone loss to Aisling Daly, through Bellator and now the UFC, I have been one of many many people who are loyal to Jessica. Not so much Jessica the fighter, but Jessica the person. Whether it was sitting on the couch with her days after the Daly fight or the other end of that, talking with her at the gym after her UFC debut and win. The one memory that stays with me is the talk after the Daly fight. Jessica was upset, not so much that she lost, as days prior she had even said to me in an interview that no one goes undefeated forever. She was upset because she felt she had let people down, all the people that came to support her. But in my mind, one good thing about the Daly loss is she learned those same people still supported her, they didn't do so based on her record or whether she won or lost a certain fight.

As a member of the media, I always worry if I am walking that line careful enough. That line where I have to separate friendship and loyalty with professionalism. I think I do an o.k. job. When at her fights and covering them when she was fighting for NAAFS, I was able to be professional and not root and call the fight as I saw it. But I can also admit, at times, media takes a back seat to loyalty, such as the recent events that have come out surrounding her fight with Sarah Kaufman.

It came out in a story on Sherdog that Jessica's win was being made a no-contest due to some failed test. Over the weekend that it came out, no one knew why. There were all kinds of theories being floated around. Finally it seemed to be that it was due to blood thinner. Story over right? Wrong! It was later revealed by Bloody Elbow that it was for marijuana. There was a quick rush by many who support Jessica to denounce that story. I myself believed what Jessica said about it being blood thinner and felt the story was an attempt to cause problems.

Well by now we all know it was in fact a positive test for cannabinoids, better known as marijuana. After thinking about it for a couple minutes, want to know my response? So what! Especially when I found out what level she tested and just how insignificant it was. I sure as hell was not going to condemn her for that. People wanted to attack her for not being honest, not admitting it, sticking with the blood thinner claim. In my opinion, it was a person wanting to protect her image, a person who is looked up to and admired. Jessica owes no apologies for that in my opinion. Do we not defend and vote into office politicians who regularly fabricate or stretch the truth in an attempt to protect their image? Yes, some of those same politicians are then attacked when they are caught in a lie, but then the next one is ushered in and the process repeats itself. People quickly defend the next one and vote him into office and people will blindly dismiss any allegations of them being dishonest in order to get the one they want into whatever office he or she is seeking. But a fighter wants to protect her image and suddenly there is an outcry for an apology, an outcry from people with all sorts of possible punishments she may deserve. People defended Jessica and then when the story came out, those people received criticism for defending her and being so quick to do so, yet many of those doing the criticizing are now doing so in a way that is very similar to what they are accusing her defenders of doing. People make a social media post expressing support of Jessica and people comment or reply attacking her. Are we wrong for defending her or standing by her using our written word to do so and you right for using your written word to vilify her?

Jessica received and accepted her punishment. That is how the process works. You do wrong, you get punished, you serve punishment. If she wants to deny what that punishment is for, that is her right to do so, it is her right to want to protect her image. There is not an explanation needed. She did not give me the truth, and you know what? I don't care, in fact I totally understand why. It did not in any way change how I feel about her, how I will support her and how I will always proudly write EYEBelieve. Because I know the reality. The reality is that Jessica cares for her fans as much as any fighter in the sport and it was for them, it was not wanting to let them down, it is how they feel about her that matters most.

We are days away from a big fight between two of the best, Jessica Eye vs. Alexis Davis. A fight with huge implications. My hope is we can now focus on that. Give both fighters what they deserve, a proper build-up to what will be a great fight.

One good thing about tough situations is it lets a person see who her or his real friends and real supporters are. People who will have their back not only in the good times but also in the bad. I felt a proper ending to this would be to allow some of those in the sport show that they are among those who will have her back and express why they are so supportive of Jessica Eye in their own words.

Tamikka Brents
Jess is probably one of the most genuine people I've met period, let alone in the MMA community where a lot of people have ulterior motives to befriending you. I met her as an amateur and she had zero ego and since then, even with all the popularity and celebrity, that still hasn't changed. She's an awesome fighter as well as an awesome person.

Mike Newcomb
I admire Jessica Eye, because she is a selfless, kind and genuine person.How else can I describe someone that checks in on a fan that has cancer, to see how you're feeling, the week of her fight with Sarah Kaufman, and she still checks on me regularly,as busy as she is, she puts others first.That's why,
EYE BELIEVE IN JESSICA EYE.

Erik Tisler
Jessica Eye and I have been close friends for many years now. I have never met someone so genuine in my life. She has been there for me when times were ruff in my life, always having some encouraging words to help lift my spirit. She doesn't hold back, and tells ya how it is. Jess goes above and beyond for fans, friends and family. She has always believed in me, and I will always believe in her. Though we may not be blood brother and sister, she will always be apart of my family and hold a special place in my heart.

Jessica Dinch
Her name is Jessica Eye. Most people know her from fighting in the UFC. A lot of you now know her because she’s been blasted all over social media due to the failed drug test issue. But, very few of you actually know Jessica Eye outside of the cage. About 2 years ago, I had the privilege of not only meeting her, but getting to train with her on numerous occasions. Notice how I said NUMEROUS occasions. Also, I live 2 hours away from Strongstyle. There’s plenty of reasons why I kept making that drive back and forth to train. Oh, and let me remind you that I’m just an ammy fighter with a sucky ass record too. The first time I walked into Strongstyle I was greeted by Jess and treated like I had been there forever, and at this time Jess was a Bellator star! But she trained with me, she taught me, she pushed me, and she motivated me. One of the most humble athletes you could ever meet. A rising star taking the time out of her training to help me and work with me. That’s just who Jess is. She would do anything for anybody. She has the heart of a champion IN and OUT of the cage. The mistake that she has made doesn’t define who she is. It doesn’t even fucking come close. Until I read a very in depth interview on Jess, I would have NEVER known the struggles and the hard times she had growing up. You know why that is? Because she learns and she grows and she OVERCOMES EVERY FUCKING OBSTACLE IN HER WAY! Doing it all with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. The shit that she has gone through, most of you would crawl in a hole and die. But, she just keeps getting STRONGER and STRONGER! If any of you media turds can look in the mirror and honestly say you never told a lie, then by all means keep talking. Otherwise, SHUT THE FUCK UP! Jess, I will ALWAYS BELIEVE. FUCK SHIT UP ON FEB. 22!!!!!

Steve Rychel
I first met Jessica at Bellator 74. She was there to watch the the Holland vs Ould fight. She talked to my stepdaughter Kayla who had recently started training but would just turtle up and scream when any one would throw a punch at her and Jess just gave her some in encouraging words and they they still talk here and there on twitter. Jess has been nothing but nice and accommodating any time we talk, regardless if its social media or through messaging or interviews we have conducted. She is someone I would like my girls to model themselves after. Jessica has one of the biggest hearts I have ever seen inside and outside of fighting and honored to call her a friend.

Tori Tisler
When I first moved to Cleveland, a couple years ago, Jess was one of the first people I made friends with. I only knew a handful of people here, but she took the time to make me feel like family from the first time her and I talked. Being a new person in a big city is certainly scary, but Jess made sure to include me in everything. Since then our friendship has really become something awesome. I mean she even bought our family the crib that our son sleeps in every night. Jess is an incredibly hard working respectable woman, who has really earned all the success she has today. Although I'd have to say that one of my favorite things about her is the fact that the same Jess that you see in interviews, on TV, and around the city is the same person that she is when we're all just hanging out together. It's not an act, she's the same genuine funny person on all levels, no matter who she's around. I'm beyond proud of her and her success, and even more proud to be able to call her one of my closest friends.

Nichole Usko
I met and train with Jess a few times and she is by far is the most approachable woman I ever met. When I came to her gym she treated me like I wasn't a guest and was so down to earth & friendly. The way she talks about fighting , training and her family she has so much passion. The look in her eyes when she fights and trains is she's passionate about this sport. I believe in Jess and I believe she will be wearing that belt soon regardless of any obstacles ! Eyebelieve!!!!

Stephanie Skinner
EyeBelieve in Jessica Eye! Regardless of any of what has come up to be known, she is and will always be the talented Jessica Eye. I admire and look up to her for her work ethic, her fight style and how she carries herself and conducts herself. When she beat Zoila quick like it was nobody business I became even more a fan! She is the smallest 135er in the UFC and she could care less, it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog and she has so much heart and determination it's inspiring. To hell with the haters, EyeBelieve, and I support her for all her contributions to the sport.

Tania Allen
The reasons why I EYEBELIEVE in Jess are that she inspires and motivates me to be a better person everyday. From the 1st time I saw her fight I was an instant fan. Following her ammy career & during start of her pro career I knew she had IT!. She is the most amazing person I have ever met. I admire her as a fighter and for the real person she is everyday. She works her ass . I just believe in her no matter what she does. I felt an instant connection the first time we met like we have known each other for years. I went to shake her hand & Jess said "Give me a hug I am a hugger". I love her like she is my own kid. She is my family-we r not related by blood, but by love. EYEBELIEVE was a cute lil motto/logo that has morphed into a real motivation for me to always stay positive. I truly believe that Jess is a role model for everybody. She has a huge heart, a smile that lights the room, and a presence that just really inspires you to be your best. She is so giving and has done so much charity work ,motivational speaking, and has helped anyone who has ever needed help. I am blessed to have her in my life. Getting a text from my Jesse just puts a smile on my face. When I am having a bad day thinking of her and my son really inspires me to get through it. So for all the good that Jesse has done can we all just send her some positive, kind words just to let her know she is a wonderful, sweet , angel? These are the reasons why EYEBELIEVE & ALWAYS WILL NO MATTER WHAT!!!! I luv u Jess

Ashley Hawkins
Jessica eye is more then just an awesome fighter, shes always an awesome person. She's the first female fight I've ever seen live and I have looked up to her since that first fight! I consider her a friend and team mate. She's always is so nice and humble. She opened her gym up to me. She always made time to teach me something new and help me with anything I needed. Even after we sparred many rounds. She helped me so much after coming from a gym that didn't treat me right at all. I am so thankful for that!! She has had my back and believed In me. Even had her coach and herself corner me in a couple fights. And I always have her back and am "in her corner". I always said she has what it takes To be the champ and eye believe it!!

Patty Cohara
"Jessica Eye" The Fighter, The Friend, The Supporter and your over all good hearted person. I believe it was 2009 when I enrolled my son at Strongstyle and saw Jessica training there. I was amazed that a girl was actually in the cage right there holding her own with the boys. My thought was "One bad a$$ girl" Not one you can just go up to and talk to. You know the saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover". I was completely wrong, Jessica is just so amazing in so many ways. She always takes the time to say Hi to everyone and to my kids (who just adore her and love to watch her fight). She is willing to give advise when she sees you need it or if your in need to ask her. She gives her time to support good causes (breast cancer and anti bulling at the schools) on top of her busy schedule.
Jessica takes her profession very seriously and works very hard at it. She is where she is today because of all this. Now that she has made a "Name" for herself in this sport and spotlight, her life is out there in the open. She also has her personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts along with a fan page. What I admire is you don't see her posting pictures of herself like she is in a Beauty Pageant. She shares her thoughts, life moments and pictures she takes with her fans and supporters.
We can't forget that she is also human just like us who follow her or know of her. We all have or will in our life time make a mistake or bad decision but we learn from it. It's doesn't change who you are inside and what you believe in. We should not pass judgment so quickly or point fingers. True friends/fans should be behind her to help lift her up, dust her off and let her know it's ok and we are still behind her. I know I am still a big fan/friend of hers. I will be cheering her on for every fight along the way. Yes Jessica Eye I am a true Eyebeliever!!!

Howard Fidler
I have worked with elite athletes for over 17 years and can't say that many have had as big an impact in my life as Jessica Eye. She opened her life to me and became a role model to my 2 girls. She has become a permanent part of my family.

Rach Wiley
Jessica,
First and foremost I wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to text me before my fight. It absolutely made my day, and it just goes to show how amazing you truly are. How many pro fighters at your level would do that? Not many at all. It is especially awesome because I know your life has been very busy and hectic. Please understand that no matter what goes on in life that there are so many people that love you and will stand by you unconditionally. You are an amazing fighter, and an amazing person all around. You know they say, the more haters you have, the more you can be assured that you're doing something right. Kat Williams said "if you have 14 haters, you need to find a way to get to 16 before the summer time". You have so much to be proud of, and people will hate you for it but F them!!! I look up to you so much. I want to be just like you some day. Please don't let people bring you down. I can't wait to watch you fight on the 22. You work so hard and I truly admire you. I will be a life long fan of yours no matter what you do in life. Stay awesome.

Nikolai Gionti
Jessica has been there since I met her. Originally, we were on business terms with me interviewing her for my podcast, but I would like to say that it has become much more than that. She helped corner me in my first grappling tournament and was kind enough to invite me down to train at Strong Style with her. We all make mistakes, but nothing can change the support I have for her after all she has done for me.

Brett Trepczyk
I'd def say that with her what you see is what you get. She's real. It's probably out of bias because we sort of saw her before everybody else in the NAAFS but she is the same person you see on tv. It's not an act at all. Very down to Earth. I'd say something like that. Plus I still can't get over the first 2 fights I've seen her in.
1st was her first ever loss. I was still impressed despite the loss and honestly she got me interested in WMMA. The second was against Carina Damm because that was the first event I had taken my brother Cole to. She not only beat her on a slippery mat, she beat some one who was on P.E.D's. That's unheard of. Not to give Carina more negative pub but I think that fight alone speaks volumes.
These are the things that people aspiring to be pro athletes (such as myself) try to take notes on. How to be mentally tough and stay on that mental level because it's more mental than physical at that level in my eyes. It has to be a bitch especially dealing with the fact her pops is in a fight for his life. I can't imagine one of my parents getting that news so I would say she's a good role model on how to deal with that situation while still maintaining everything else going on in your own life.

Sarah McLeod
At a medical school interview this past weekend, I was asked to describe the qualities of a good leader. With two minutes to prepare a 7-minute speech, I tried to imagine the positive characteristics of myself that would fit this description but in all honesty, I found myself thinking about Jess. A good leader is someone who stands strong when faced with adversity; someone who works hard to be in a position of positive influence; and someone who believes in him/herself. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone is capable of making them. I would stand strong to support my opinion that there are too many positives about Jess to judge one poor decision. To me, Jess IS and ALWAYS has been the epitome of a good leader; a genuine, indomitable and amazing woman. I anticipate and look forward to an even stronger Jess than before.

Cassie Robb
Last week I found out one of my favorite fighters had her last fight robbed from her due to failing a drug test. When I first heard this I thought NO, this cannot be true. How could someone basically cheat their way through this sport by taking performance enhancing drugs. I've always been against the use of steroids.. Come to find out.. That was not what came up in her system. Turns out..... IT WAS JUST WEED. Yes, JUST weed. Now this just blows my mind. Why is it such a big deal if a fighter uses marijuana? It is not a performance enhancing drug by any means. If anything I would say it would be great for pain and for stress in a fighters life. I want Jessica to know that no matter what, she has my full an complete support. There is no way that a minor thing like smoking weed is going to make me think any differently of her. It's a common thing nowadays and is even legal recreationally here In Colorado where I live. Like i said before.. It's just weed people, grow up!!!

Scottie Weaver
First of all I am just not a Jessica Eye fan but I consider myself as her friend. I support her no matter what anyone has to say negative or positive. She is good for the sport and has a heart of gold. She came all the way to my fight at the Arnold Classic last year in which I headlined not to support just me but to sit with my 14 year old son who she met at her fight at the Rock N Rumble. For a fighter to travel to Columbus 150 miles away to sit with my son because she's his favorite fighter is amazing. Tell me another fighter that would do that? Everybody makes mistakes and I don't consider it a mistakes if you learn from them. I don't care never fights again and becomes a clerk at gas station, I would do anything for her. So anyone who don't like her can FUCKOFF. EYEBELIEVE!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Shannon Knapp Promoting Real Women Radio Interview Transcript


Photo courtesy of Invicta FC



The following is the transcript of the Promoting Real Women Radio interview with Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp conducted by myself (Jason Adams) and Sarah Goodlaxson.

Sarah: First what I want to do is thank you for everything you have done for the women fighters. When you first announced your plans and goals for Invicta, before you had your first show, there was a lot of talk. People were excited, people were a little bit leery, nobody knew what exactly was going to happen. Did you really feel like your goals for Invicta have come to fruition or do you have work to do or do you feel like you have proven everything you set out to prove
Shannon: I definitely feel like we are making great strides and we are really changing things for the better for the female athletes, but do I think we are there? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. There's tons of work to be done and I have a much bigger vision for Invicta than what we have been able to accomplish at this point in time. I think for me, you thank me, but I thank everyone else because this isn't a one woman job in terms pushing the sport forward like we have been able to do. The gratitude goes to the fans, the athletes, but I think we're getting there, we're getting close, close to a comfortable place where we can say that we are here to stay and we are changing everything.

Sarah: If you went back and you thought about before the first Invicta and your expectations for the potential growth of the company would you have truly believed it would be where it's at now, preparing for an eight event, did you have any idea how big it would be and how much people would appreciate it?
Shannon: I think any time you set out to do something you have some kind of expectation or something in place that you would like to see happen but no, it's far surpassed anything that.... that old saying "build it and they will come", I firmly believed in that, I just didn't know how quick it would be to get from point A to B. It's more than surpassed what I expected in the amount of time. It's probably been how quickly we have been able to elevate it that has been the most surprising aspect of it all.

Sarah: Some people have that with the 115's going into the UFC that it might hurt Invicta but do you think it's fair to say that the reality is this is why you created Invicta, to get females the opportunity like this?
Shannon: Definitely! Will it hurt Invicta? No we are already filling that division. We are gonna make an announcement this week, we probably signed thirteen or fourteen new athletes. Just because we are not out there making press releases right at the moment, I said this the other day, because there is no news doesn't mean there's bad news. It just means we are working on something that is gonna be good news, but everything takes time. Did it hurt us? No! That is the deepest division in the entire sport. What it did was provide more opportunities and push us forward. The way I look at it, it's a big leap forward for the sport for the females to get another division there and to be instrumental in that process is very gratifying for the sport and everyone involved.

Jason: I think going into the first Invicta, the casual fan might have known a couple of the fighters but do you take any pride in the fact that now some of the sports most popular females like Tecia, Joanne and Bec were people that unless you were a hardcore fan, they might not have even known about and you gave them that platform to become what they have become?
Shannon: Absolutely! It means we are accomplishing the goal that was set, to provide a platform and help them get the exposure they needed to be the stars that we knew they would be. There is always going to be a sense of pride. It must be because I am a mother because I look at it in that maternal way and I did it in the men's side of the sport to, that if I worked with you, you are always my athlete, it doesn't matter where you are or what's going on or who you are competing for, I still like to watch over and make sure they are doing well in their careers. For me it's a lot of feelings but they are all very positive.

Sarah: I feel like that's one thing that you do different that I haven't seen in a lot of promotions, even though you have athletes signed, you are still willing to let them fight outside of the promotion, what was your thought process there?
Shannon: One thing is, go back to the infancy stages of the growth for the females in the sport, if we can't keep them busy, one thing we don't want to do is hinder them from making a living and being able to continue to chase their dream. So that is pretty much why we allow them to compete outside. Of course it's structured, they can't just go out there and take a fight and we don't know about it. You want athletes to make good decisions for their careers and we try to watch over that but we don't want them sitting there starving. Of course there has been a big gap between announcing our next event but that's only because great things for the future and we are finalizing things out.

Sarah: With Cyborg also being under contract to Lion Fights and potentially other fighters doing the same thing does that prevent an added challenge as far as scheduling fighters for fights or do you have a good enough working relationship with other promotions that it's not that big of a deal?
Shannon: I suppose it could pose problems but I'm not one of those promotions that is gonna build a promotion around one athlete were if that athlete is not on the card the whole thing falls apart. I encourage the girls, especially with Muay Thai, I think it's great, it's them honing in on one of their skill sets and perfecting it and getting better at it, so I encourage that or Jiu-Jitsu tournaments or anything that continues to help them evolve and grow as athletes, I think that's huge.

Sarah: From a fighters perspective I think I would be a little hesitant at first because it's not the norm for us. We are used to getting in trouble, if you are in a contract, you are dead set in a contract. I really admire you doing that because when you go to a tournament or kick boxing match it is completely different nerves and so being able to do all those different things, I feel it really helps you grow emotionally as well. I really commend you on that.
Shannon: Thank you. Like I said, it comes down to it's good for both. It's good for them and it's good for us as a promotion, so I think it's healthy.

Jason: Speaking of Cyborg, a couple places have reported that India Gomes is upset with Cyborg fighting for them. In addition to having to work around scheduling her for your events is it hard to find a way to placate her and make her understand why she isn't getting that fight right now?
Shannon: I'm confused why she thinks she can't have that fight. We haven't announced a date but I'm confused why she thinks she is not gonna get that fight. I haven't said she is not gonna get that fight and as far as I am concerned, that is her fight so I am not sure in that respect. I think right now there are some athletes who have sat there, it's the truth, but we have eliminated some of the problems that have affected the rotation of the athletes and how things should work and have been busy restructuring and organizing, plus we are adding shows and are going to be able to be accessed in a different place were fans can watch it, be fan friendly. Everything takes time but we are certainly working on that and have been able to put a better game plan together moving forward to address any and all kinds of those issues that stemmed from the past.

Sarah: What is a realistic number of shows that you are looking hoping to do in 2014?
Shannon: Six. I have always said that we won't do less than four. The goal is for six. Part of that is because we are getting a little bit later a start than we had hoped for but every day we are working on it and it's coming together and I think that people will be surprised and excited.

Sarah: Before the show we reached out to listeners and asked what questions they wanted to ask you and clearly the biggest question is when is Invicta 8 going to be? How close are we to a date and announcement of the next card?
Shannon: The big deal has been about making the big announcement about where our new home is gonna be and the date and the fight card. That's why we haven't put a lot of information out there. We will make an announcement and it will be soon, it won't be too much longer. We are still in that same time period that we talked about all along, March, April, right in there, nothing has changed.

Sarah: I had to ask.
Shannon: I am always apologetic when I am a guest and there are certain things I can't talk about, so I am not giving a great interview in that aspect. If I could I would, I really would.

Sarah: Like "if I told you, I'd have to kill you." (Laughs)
Shannon: Something like that (laughs). But I can tell you this week that we are gonna make the announcement on some of the new athletes that we've signed and I think it's gonna surprise a lot of people and show there is still very much a lot of life in Invicta. We took a moment there and are restructuring and organizing and filling the roster and putting a game plan together. That's the bottom line.

Sarah: Along with those changes, you made Julie Kedzie your new matchmaker, what were some of the qualities you felt she brought to the table that made you want to bring her on in that role?
Shannon: One of the biggest things is she has been in what I call the thick of the sport for many many years. There is no better life lesson than to be in the trenches of it and growing with it. She is very familiar with the sport, she definitely has all the people skills, all the normal things you would look for in someone filling that position, but she is very knowledgeable. To be put in that spot and position in the sport and know what to do with it is huge. I have always been impressed with the way she conducts herself, her passion for the sport and she gets it. It's hard to describe but I think she is going to do an amazing job at this, an incredible job. She has been hindered lately by the things I am working on to give her great guidance but she is already doing an amazing job.

Sarah: We had her on not too long ago and I always have to compliment her any time I see her on the smile that she always seems to have on her face, it is infectious. The thing I think of when I think of Julie Kedzie is her toughness and her smile.
Shannon: Yep, I agree. She just has a good energy regardless. She has been a big part of the sport for a long time. Honestly, I think she is one of the best commentators out there, especially on the female side of things.

Jason: You mentioned the new fighters signed and a couple names have come out and they are from other countries, is that something you feel is important, getting fighters from other countries to maybe help break into those countries and get more recognition in those countries or is it just these are good fighters and they happen to be from other places?
Shannon: I think it's all of the above. I think that it's important, if you are going to make a claim that you are gonna put on the best fights in the world then you are gonna have to go all over the world and find these great talents. We are not bringing in a lot of pro debut athletes from Internationally but we are bringing in athletes that have records and should be ranked and get the exposure and are at that point in their careers where they need to be seen and I love the fact that they want to be here, that is always hugely important to me.

Sarah: You spoke about the people who really wanna be here. Very quickly, Invicta has become the goal, for amateurs, women fighters, people are saying "we want to be on Invicta." For a young female who would like to be noticed by you and your matchmaker and your company, what would you advise them to do?
Shannon: I always say make some noise. If you make enough noise, I am gonna see you, I am gonna hear about you and I am gonna take the time to see who you are. I love the fact that athletes get invested in their careers in terms of marketing themselves, staying on top of what's going on in the sport and to me, part of being a fighter, it's great if you are extremely talented in the cage but you are an absolute gem if you are out there really fighting for what they want. That is the kind of spirit that is hard to find, so when I see that, I really take the time to look, cause they want it and that shows me that they are willing to fight for it.

Sarah: It's a "you help yourself and I wanna help you" kind of thing.
Shannon: Absolutely! We've signed a couple athletes because of the way they really caught my attention because of the way they've aggressively came at me wanting to be on Invicta. Of course they had skills to match it

Sarah: Speaking of the social media and fighters marketing themselves, how much does it mean to you when during past problems when fighters really rally behind the promotion, the people you have chosen to employ are behind you one hundred percent?
Shannon: It's huge. It's huge because we are behind them and we are in business together, we are all fighting for the same thing so it is huge to have that support and to know that they have the confidence and the trust to know that we are going to do everything we can to give them a home to continue to grow within their home.

Sarah: I don't know how much you can say about this but with Carla moving to the UFC and the 115 belt being vacant, do you have any plans for that or is it not a big rush?
Shannon: We have signed new 115 pound strawweights and we still have Mizuki and Katja and still a lot of talent there, so I think fans are gonna be surprised as we continue to move forward. You will miss the people you have become attached to but you will find new athletes ad we are definitely going to make it a priority to shine that spotlight so that they have the opportunity to be stars. We are gonna put the effort in. That's the way it works, we all work together and that is why Invicta has been successful, because we are not the employers, we are all in this together, we are partners, we are all working for the same thing. It takes us all to make it go.

Sarah: Do you have plans in the future for a potential 155 pound division?
Shannon: Definitely! We are looking at it, you may even see the first match on the next card, we have a mock card already and it looks highly possible that that could happen. That is definitely our goal. But in any promotion, you need to add the shows to create and make sure there are opportunities and that we are taking care of the athletes that we already have. But definitely you are going to start to see it, see some of those signings and some of those match-ups on upcoming cards.

Jason: I am a huge proponent of the 155 and over divisions, but one problem is sadly there doesn't seem to be as many fights out there for them which is why I am happy you are adding a 155. But with them having the fewer opportunities to fight, does that make it harder for you to find the talent at that weight that you would like to bring into Invicta?
Shannon: Good question. It can complicate things or make the progression slower than what we would like it to be as far as really filling up a division but we got the time and we are willing to invest our time in really trying to develop that weight class. I think there is talent there, I think it can be exciting match-ups and we will definitely test the waters.

Sarah: You mentioned a little bit earlier about maybe finding a new home and what not, do you feel that eventually running in other cities is something that will be important for the growth of Invicta?
Shannon: Yeah, the model we are working on now does have us moving around. It can't hurt us right? In terms of the growth and bringing more awareness to Invicta. It certainly isn't going to hurt us. As long as it makes sense, it always has to be a deal that makes sense, we certainly don't want to lose money. I think 2014 is going to be an exciting year for Invicta, the athletes, the fans. I think you will see Cris make a run at the 135 division, we've signed some Ultimate Fighter alumni who will be coming over to Invicta, a lot of good stuff going on, that's for sure.

Sarah: We are so happy you agreed to come on. I want to thank you again for everything that you have done for us. I really admire everything you have done, your business savvy since I am a business major, so I really like listening to all your plans and I know everyone is excited to see what 2014 has to bring. Do you have anything thanks or shout-outs that you wanted to give?
Shannon: Yeah, I always wanna thank everybody because it takes each and every one of us to make a difference, the fans, always the athletes, the media that supports us and of course sponsors, we have sponsors that support us that really get behind us and we are grateful for each and every one of them.