Sunday, March 10, 2013
Allison Haynes Interview
After watching the second of Allison Haynes two amateur fights, not only was I impressed with her ability, but her story as well. Allison did not even start training for the sport till the age of thirty-five. A wife and mother, Allison somehow finds the time to balance a family with training for the sport that she says she will do for as long as she can. Along the way, she is sure to inspire a great many people.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started training in MMA?
A: I really just got started about a year ago. I found a gym that I was really into, it was an MMA gym. I went there just to get in shape and loose the baby weight I had. As I was meeting different fitness goals, I got to a point where I was bored with my workouts and was ready to have a new goal. For the year and a half I was there my coach and trainer kept saying "you need to fight" and I was like "I'm not fighting, I am thirty-five years old, I have three kids." Once I hit the point where I was bored with what I was doing, I needed a new goal and set my mind to fighting. Last December I started training kickboxing and August I started MMA.
Q: When you did decide to fight, thirty-six when you fought, did your family and friends have a problem or think you were crazy?
A: Yes, and a large majority still do. It is my biggest battle internally and externally that I deal with. Most people don't understand. It is a passion and something that is in me. My parents still don't truly accept it. Thankfully my husband does and my children are around it and into it. For the most part, the circle I run in, at my age, most people think it is extremely strange and question it.
Q: Do you try and explain it or are you at the point where you don't bother anymore?
A: I always try to, especially newer people. We live in a small town. Last night we were out to dinner and some guy said "you're the fighter" and I said to my husband "how does he know that" and then it was constant questions. You can tell if someone is truly interested. I don't think most people understand, but my friends understand and know the person I am and with that core group of people who support me, that is all that matters in the end.
Q: Your first fight, in November, you beat Nicole Ertzberger, on the way to the cage, were your nervous or excited or both?
A: Love it! For some reason, it is my favorite part. The adrenaline and excitement, I smiled the whole time. I love that feeling, the adrenaline rush, the high that I get. I am ready to go and happy to be there.
Q: If anyone has seen you, they know you hit like a truck, did you know you had that punching power, or did you need that first fight to realize it?
A: I think I had to fight. I work with a lot of guys and they always tell me I am strong for a girl. But it is a different feeling when you are in that cage and your adrenaline is going. I tell my coaches that something overcomes me and I am almost a different person. I went into that fight with three weeks notice. I have only been training on the ground since August. I didn't see any tape on her or know what I was going into. When I finished, I was psyched haha, it felt good.
Q: In February you beat Joana Catabui by decision. I was impressed with your clinch work on the cage, do you think that surprised her?
A: It feels really good to hear that because when I watch the tape I am kinda disgusted by it haha. We knew going in that she was a Muay-Thai trainer and has been training for years and would be her strength. We focused a lot on me getting out of the clinch, more in the clinch in the middle of the cage versus when her back was on the cage. I had a little bit of a difficult time forcing her off. I hope I surprised her, I left there thinking I should have done better. I wasn't happy with the fight as a whole. It was my next step. I was able to counter what she gave me and am ready for the next one.
Q: I was also impressed with the third round, you kept coming forward and showed great cardio, is that something you take pride in?
A: Yes! It is something I focus immensely on. My passion is MMA but I love to just work out. I love to go to the gym for an hour or two in the morning and just lift weights and do cardio and endurance. That by far is my biggest strength I believe. I focus sixty percent of my game on that and before fighting it was a hundred percent. It was all I did, I was gonna be in shape.
Q: Do you ever sit and think "I wish I knew ten years ago I would love this"?
A: I think about it a lot. But then I also think that ten years ago I was in a totally different stage of my life. I think of all these younger girls and they are gonna meet people they wanna marry and have babies and will come to that point where they have to choose "do I wanna go on with society norm and stop and focus on children". Ten years ago I was pregnant with my first daughter. As much as I like to dream about it, my life is good, I am happy with how it is working out. I am in the best shape of my life and am done with babies now and I can focus on raising them and doing what I love.
Q: How hard is it balancing raising a family and making sure you get all your training in?
A: It is one of my bigger challenges. I have that mommy guilt. I could do so many things, coach my kids sports teams, and they are at the gym a lot. There are times I feel so bad, I am taking them to the gym with me selfishly in a lot of ways because I need to do what I wanna do. At the same time, I am very disciplined with my time. Are schedule is regimented, we have the same routine and follow it.
Q: Is there a part of you who also wants to inspire other women to realize they are not too old to start or they can raise a family and still do things?
A: I hope I do. After both my fights I have had at least five or six women come up to me and say they cant believe my age and that I am doing this and it makes them want to. Those women have no idea how good that makes me feel. I hope to continue to pass that message along. One of my favorite fighters is Cassie Rodish. I look at what she does. There are others who make their dream a reality. It is a matter of taking charge and doing what I need to do.
Q: Have you given any thought as to how long you wanna fight?
A: I am gonna continue as long as I am having fun. I have fun doing it, I want to train everyday. I am not in it for the money or fame, I have a whole other life outside of MMA. As long as I love it and am healthy I am gonna keep doing it.
Q: Do you have anything lined up?
A: I don't wanna say, but something in the very near future.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Most importantly my family, my husband Stephen has been there for eleven years and supports and believes in me, my three little girls, my trainer and coach Perry Gibson from Tech MMA who believed in me and continues to push me and make me a better fighter.