Sunday, January 17, 2010
Kaitlin Young Interview
One of my favorite boxers of all time is "Irish" Micky Ward. I liked him because win or lose you were going to remember his fight. He was always going to go full speed ahead, all action. He left his heart in the ring. I think that is why Kaitlin Young is one of my favorite MMA fighters. Win of lose, you know you are going to be in a fight. She has all the skill needed to be a top fighter in the sport, and I truly believe she will be. It can be easy to get caught up in how attractive she is, but look past that and you will see a warrior.She works hard to be good, and she's good because she works hard. Kaitlin has so much to offer the sport, and the sport will be better for it. If you are a hard core fan, you know Kaitlin, if you are a casual fan, get to know her, you will be a fan.
Q: First Kaitlin I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. You are a personal favorite of mine, so this is an honor.
A: Thank You!
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself. Family, where you are from, where you train, things like that.
A: I grew up in Circle Pines, Minnesota - I now live in Brooklyn Center so I can be closer to the gym (Minnesota Martial Arts Academy). I currently live with my boyfriend, Ryan, and our Chihuahua, Tazer.
Q: Before getting into MMA, were you an especially athletic person? Play any sports or anything?
A: I wasn't very athletic before the age of 14. I was somewhat of a trouble maker up until that point, when my mom made me pick up an activity of my choosing. Football was my first choice, but she was afraid I would get hurt so Tae Kwon Do won out. I competed in Olympic Style TKD for about 5 years, got my black belt and decided I would rather do Muay Thai at age 19. Since then I have been training at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy.
Q: What made you decide to start training for MMA?
A: Originally, I had just wanted to take up thai boxing when I started at our gym. After competing as an amateur in muay thai for a couple of years, Greg Nelson suggested that I start training on the ground and take an MMA fight. It was as simple as that.
Q: Was it something you picked up fairly quickly?
A: In some ways. I think I adapted to the faster pace and intensity well. I liked having less rules and padding for sure.
Q: How long had you been training before your first fight, and what made you decide to fight?
A: I think I trained for about 4 months between my last thai fight and my first MMA fight. I maybe had 5 weeks notice for the actual fight, but I was in the gym all the time anyway so I was more than ready.
Q: Was actually fighting something your family and friends supported at the time, and how about now?
A: My friends, siblings and cousins have always been supportive. Most people in the generation before mine have been kind of hit or miss. It depends. It always strikes me as funny when people disapprove, because it is usually followed by some idiotic remark about me "ruining my face". Don't worry about the potential for brain damage, injury, or whether or not you achieve your goals - just don't ruin your face. LOL. I don't think people think before speaking.
Q: Your first fight was a TKO win over Lindsey Frandrop. What do you remember about the fight? Were you nervous, scared, excited?
A: I don't remember feeling nervous really. I was excited, and very excited when I realized how much height I had on her. It was the first time I was allowed to clinch with knees to the head (Ammy thai boxing only allows knees to the midsection) and that was pretty awesome. It was nice to finally get the chance to exercise some of the things I had been training for a long time, but was unable to do in competition before that point.
Q: You also got to fight on National TV vs Gina Carano in May 2008. What did it mean to get a big televised fight like that.
A: It was kind of neat, but honestly I didn't really think about it a whole lot. I had finals two weeks before that fight and was just struggling to keep up with everything. With the additional interviews and media coverage it was kind of stressful actually because it took so much more time out of the day than a smaller fight would have. I was thankful for the experience though. It was great to be a part of the first card on National television.
Q: Can you give your current record, and which fight is the most special to you?
A: I'm 4-3. I don't think any one fight stands out as the most special.
Q: What do you feel is your biggest strength and something you want to improve?
A: My greatest strength is probably self-discipline. From a technical standpoint, it is my kicks. The one think I want to improve most is my record.
Q: What is the best and worst part of the sport?
A: The best part is probably its practical application when needed - the worst is the misconceptions people have about it.
Q: Do you have any favorite fighters to watch?
A: There isn't any single fighter that is my favorite. I most like to watch my teammates really. They are the only ones I go out of my way to watch. I also really love the 135 and 145 divisions of the WEC - I have not seen a fight that wasn't awesome yet.
Q: Pound for pound in your opinion, who are the top five women in the sport right now?
A: Well, I don't think I can answer that one. I think there are those that have "proven" they are top five - and I think there are some that would be top 5 if they had enough fight opportunities. I think that is something that has to be considered when ranking the female fighters. We still have a lot to work out amongst ourselves, and a lot of fights still need to happen to really know where everyone falls.
Q: Same question for men?
No particular order
Torres - yes I know he lost recently, but I think he is one of the best.
Q: Play matchmaker. If you could make any two fights you most want to see, what would they be?
A: Fedor v Lesnar
Shayna Baszler vs Miesha Tate
Q: Are you happy the women are getting the five minute rounds?
A: Thrilled. It doesn't make any sense that they had 3 minute rounds in the first place.
Q: As a female fighter, what did it mean to you to have Gina and Cyborg Main Event a big televised card?
A: It was great - however, I think it had a lot more to do with Gina than anything else. When it starts to become common place for women to headline big shows I will be a little more excited.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about women who fight or the one thing you wish people understood?
A: I wish people understood that there is just as much variation between female fighters as there is between male fighters. Some are technical, some are not. Some are strong, some are weak. Some are big babies and some are very, very tough. I think people tend to see one or two female fights and think they have seen them all. Just as you wouldn't judge male fighters based off of one or two experiences - please do not make a judgement on female fighters based off of one or two experiences.
Q: If someone says to you "women shouldn't' fight" how do you respond?
A: It depends who is saying it. I can be pretty harsh if you catch me in the wrong mood. The only people who say things like that have an insignificant opinion anyway. It usually comes from the sort of man who doesn't hardly qualify as a male or a woman who is mostly helpless and can do nothing for herself. I try not to deal with either if I can avoid it.
Seriously, why would another person feel like they have any right to an opinion on what you do with your life?
Q: DO you ever see the day there is a major U.S. women only company?
A: I hope not. I think if a women's only fight company pops up it will end up having different rules than are typically accepted in MMA now. Smackgirl is a good example of this - limited time on the ground, etc. No thank you.
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to start training, what is the one piece of advice you would most want to give her?
A: Don't shave your legs just before rolling and don't share your shin pads. You are more likely to get staph! Learn how to braid your hair well.
Q: Outside of training, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: I am so boring right now. I only work and train for the most part. I like watching documentaries though - to the extent that I would call it a hobby. I'm kind of obsessed with the show "I survived." on Bio. Um, I like to hang out with friends and I run 5Ks just for the heck of it.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of kaitlin Young.
A: I wake up, go to the gym, train, go to work, train the girls at work, go home, sleep, repeat.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I've never had my ears pierced. Gymnastics is my favorite sport to watch.
Q: Favorite actor, movie, TV show, and musician?
A: My favorite actor is probably Ricky Gervais
Movie: I dunno - I don't have one. I like Boondock Saints, Fight Club, etc.
TV show: I survived
Musician: Depends on the mood but Joss Stone is one of my favorites.
Q: Describe Kaitlin Young in five words.
Hungry, Hungry, Hungry, Hungry , Hungry
Q: Anything set plans coming up as far as future fights or anything?
A: I am fighting January 30th in the first round of an 8 woman tournament - at 135! Yay! Its for FCF in Oklahoma.
Q: Any sponsors or website you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: Absolutely. MTX Audio has been such a wonderful and supportive sponsor for me. They have supported me through success and failure, and on big and small shows. Also want to thank Athleticp Performance Incorporated
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Kaitlin Young the athlete and fighter?
A: I am actively looking for an MMA clothing sponsor. It would be nice to get one that has some ladies' gear (sports bras, shorts that come smaller than a 30 waist, etc). They can contact me or my manager Nick Thompson. I'm easy to find on facebook:-) or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Kaitlin, again, I am so thankful and honored you agreed to do this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for the interview and hosting this blog.