Friday, May 20, 2011
Jessica Eve Richer Interview
I recently had the pleasure of watching Jessica Eve Richer make her MMA debut and was incredibly impressed. While her fight and victory was quick, it was long enough to see that Jessica is going to be a star in the sport. Learning more about her, you can see why she was so impressive. She comes from an outstanding team, Gracie Barra and has some great BJJ accomplishments. Learn the name Jessica Eve Richer cause if you follow the sport, it's a name you will her a lot of in the future.
Q: First, Jessica I want to thank you for taking the time to do this.
A: My pleasure! Thank you for having me!
Q: Can you start out by telling a little about yourself.
A: I'm 28 years old, was born and raised on Long Island, NY with a couple short term
ventures out to the Midwest and West coast. I have a full-time "pay the
mortgage" suit-and-tie job but train like I don't. Every day, I try to be the best
me I've ever been. I hate the word "potential" and my mission in life is to
make sure I use all of mine up by the time I die. Fighting is the latest episode of that mission.
Q: Were you especially athletic growing up? Play any sports?
A: I didn't come from a "sports" family and I wouldn't say I was a traditional
"sports" kid, but I was always physical and always active. I figure skated
competitively for a number of years, raced sailboats, was involved in equestrian sports, and played some ice hockey.
Q: What initially got you started training for MMA?
A: I was in the height of my hockey days, and I was looking for something physical to do off-season. I was a fan of the sport and it seemed like a great way to challenge my body and improve my athleticism. I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at a local academy and became totally addicted. It took on a life of its own from there...BJJ was my gateway drug into MMA world.
Q: Was the training something you picked up fairly easy?
A: Yes...and that was what hooked me! It's not that I found it EASY or that I was great
overnight, but the movements felt natural to me, and I was successful early on.
Q: How long did you train before your first fight?
A: I started competing in BJJ awhile before finally getting an MMA fight together. I had been training BJJ about 9 months before my first tournament and have been competing for almost two years now in that. I've now been kickboxing for about a year and a half, and have been mixing it altogether for about a year. I just made my MMA debut this past weekend.
Q: Was fighting something your family and friends supported?
A: My family and friends have always been supportive of everything I've done, and I'm very lucky to have them. They are also used to me being involved in activities that are not so main stream and/or "generally recognized as safe". I threw the idea of rodeo riding at them when I was around 16, and being a stunt pilot for a living when I was in college. They're used to it.
Q: Where do you train at now?
A: Gracie Barra - Long Island, NY.
Q: Can you give your overall record so far?
A: I'm 1 - 0 in amateur MMA...its just the beginning. As of this interview, I'm 76 - 30 in BJJ competition (42 of those wins by submission), and I'm 9 - 1 in my last ten matches.
Q: Is there one fight you would say you are most proud of?
A: My debut! And not just because it's my only MMA fight so far...I would have to say that topped the glory of any BJJ championship I've ever won also because of what it represented for me as a person. This fight was the culmination of nearly three years of preparation and proving myself since I got it in my head that I wanted to fight. I come from a BJJ school; it's not a camp where fighting is something every guy who walks in the door does. My trainers invest a ton of time in preparing their fighters, so there's sort of an unwritten, unspoken "screening process" about getting fights and getting trained to compete to weed out the guys that aren't going to give 100% back. It took a long time to gain that credibility and respect. I guess you could say this fight was an end and a beginning. A milestone.
Q: What would you say is your biggest strength and the one thing you most want to
A: Well, I'm tough and I can take a punch. That's a pretty big asset in fighting. That said, I would like to improve my striking defense so I take fewer of them. My doctor seems to think this is a good plan. :)
Q: Name the one fight you have seen that you will always remember?
A: Wow, there are so many! OK...Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva. Just because I love when jiu-jitsu saves the day!
Q: Are there any fighters you are a fan of or love to watch?
A: Cyborg. Girl-Cyborg. She's fun to watch and sets the bar in my opinion for all female fighters. She brings so much legitimacy to Women's MMA.
Q: In your opinion, who are the top five female fighters in the sport pound for pound?
A: Cyborg. Fuji. Coenen. LaRosa. Gurgel.
Q: Do you ever see a major U.S. women's only company being viable?
A: That depends on your definition of "major" and "viable". It is a niche sport, and if developed and marketed as such, yes you could build a sustainable and
successful women's-only promotion. It wouldn't be viable on the scale of one of the major promotions or be competitive with one. It might be well suited as an amateur promotion that could really showcase up and coming female talent and work as a feeder for a bigger promotion.
Q: Often you watch a show that has one women's fight. Somehow that fight always turns out to be the most exciting fight on the card. Why do you think that is?
A: A lot of women fight like they have something extra to prove to be taken seriously, and it makes them go the extra mile to be exciting.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about female fighters?
A: Not sure.
Q: If another woman told you she wanted to train for the sport, whats the biggest piece of advice you would give her?
A: Do it!!!! Train, that is. The training journey has so much value in building confidence and discovering yourself as a person whether that person ever actually fought or not. That's really not gender-specific; I would probably say that to anyone.
Q: Outside of training and fighting, any other hobbies or activities you enjoy?
A: Oh, there's a list...I'm sort of an activity nut. I'm a pilot, a hockey player, a
motorcycle rider, a horse person, a surfer, a sailor, a water skier, a writer, and I make awesome homemade cookies.
Q: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Jessica Eve Richer.
A: That's easy...they're all the same with training! It goes something like: wake up, eat, train, eat, work, eat, train, eat, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I've probably shared a few of those things already! OK, here's one we haven't touched yet, and those who only are meeting me recently would definitely not know: training to fight did more than help me build confidence and find out who I was as a person on the inside. It was the path by which I conquered a life-long weight problem...I lost a little over 100lbs my first year training. As huge of an accomplishment as that was, I don't talk about it a lot anymore because its something that is so much in my past it doesn't seem relevant to who I am as a person today, and I know there are so many bigger things coming up in my career as a fighter that I never wanted that to be how I was defined.
Q: Describe Jessica Eve Richer in five words.
A: Life lover and life liver.
Q: So whats next for you? Any idea when you will be fighting again?
A: I have the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships coming up next month in June. Not sure what is next for MMA, but I would love to come back out and do another show with the NAAFS - it was a great experience.
Q: Anything you want to take this time to plug or promote?
A: I'd like to give credit to the people and places that built me: Gracie Barra Long Island Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy (www.graciebarralongisland.com), BC Kickboxing
(www.bckickboxing.com), my strength and conditioning coach (www.combattrainer.com),
RevGear (www.revgear.com), Defense Soap (www.defensesoap.com), and VersaClimber
(www.versaclimber.com) - the maker of the greatest cardio and conditioning equipment ever created. And my Mom and Dad...but they don't have websites. All of the above can be found on Facebook as well.
Q: Are you looking for sponsors? If so, how can they reach you and what are they getting in Jessica Eve Richer the fighter and person?
A: Every little bit helps! Sponsors can check out my website at www.jessicaeve.com and can
contact me through there. My full bio is on the site, and they can keep up with the
latest of what I'm up to on Facebook (www.facebook.com/richerje) or Twitter
(www.twitter.com/jessicaeve155). They're getting an athlete at the grassroots level who's going places...I hope this interview has illustrated a little bit of what I'm about.
Q: Jessica, I want to thank you for doing this. Any last words before you go?
A: Thank you for having me, and I look forward to speaking with you after the next fight!