Thursday, April 25, 2013
Courtney Belcher Interview
Photos 2 and 5: Terri Degenaars
Courtney Belcher first started training, as you will read, by learning things from her husband, who taught her some of the things he learned in the Army. She liked it so much that they made their garage into a gym to train. They then picked up and moved to Virginia and seeked to expand their training. Now Belcher is a title holder weeks away from defending that title when she takes on, with the hopes of an early knockout, as Belcher is a hard hitter who loves to show that in the cage.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started training for the sport?
A: My husband was in the Army. He needed somebody to practice his Army combatives on and I got involuntarily pulled into that. It was fun so we moved everything out of garage at the time and made it into our gym. When he got out of the Army, we moved to Virginia and looked up a local gym that would help train MMA. It was nine months after my son that we started training MMA.
Q: At what point did you decide you wanted to actually fight?
A: I knew right away. When we sat and talked about looking for a gym, it was something we both discussed doing. I knew I wanted to do it.
Q: For some people, they still are not totally accepting of females fighting. Did any family or friends react negative to you fighting?
A: Yes! Some of them still are. My mom was really supportive until I got hurt my second fight and then she backed off and it took her a year to be o.k. with it again. My husband's family still doesn't like it, but they support us. Last week I got the question "you aren't still fighting are?" I was like "Yes ma'am, I got a fight coming up." She said "you are gonna get hurt" and I said "how much worse can it get, I have had my eye socket broken". She said "you got a good point there."
Q: The first time you fought, were you nervous or excited or both?
A: I was both. It was really cool, right before they played my music, Matt Serra was there with a group of guys and he stopped and said "no matter what, no matter how long you do this, just enjoy this moment." It took all my nerves away. Right before I step out, I go back to that, just enjoy the moment.
Q: Then after the fight, was it relief, excitement, both?
A: Both! This last fight I didn't take any damage. It was relief there and then I was really tired. I wanted to come home and go to bed. I didn't go out and part, I fought, came home and went to bed.
Q: The last fight was a win over Jeanette Barkers, overall how happy were you with your performance?
A: We just re-watched the fight. Honestly, I was happy and unhappy. I was happy because from my second fight to that fight, I had eighteen months off. I felt like I showed I developed from a brawler into a fighter. Where there things I didn't like? Yeah, there were a lot of things I didn't like. My kicks weren't as good as they could be, not working technique as much as I should, not pressing the action, there were a couple times I could have put her out and didn't press like I should have. My husband was happy with it, i am unhappy with it.
Q: Speaking of your husband, how much easier is it for you to have someone like that who knows what you are going through getting ready for a fight?
A: It is a whole lot easier. He totally understands everything, the moodiness I get into that week when I am super nervous, don't want the kids bothering me, people touching me, calling with stuff. Just being able to lay there at night and discuss technique or things we need to improve on is invaluable. I don't know what it would be like not to have that.
Q: Is it hard to find a balance between training and being a mom?
A: Yeah! I feel guilty a lot. I feel I don't give them as much attention as I should. But at the same time, we train, we take them with us or train while they are at school. We make a point of setting aside time to take them to the park, do family stuff, watch a movie. So far, it doesn't seem to negatively affect them. My boy is about to turn four and I have an eight year old and both of them show an interest in learning how to fight. Both of them are doing really good in their classes. I still feel guilty, but at the same time, they know I love them and mommy is happy. As soon as it affects them negatively, I will stop.
Q: For those not familiar, your fight coming up, can you tell people where it is and when and against who?
A: I am fighting May 11th in Martinville, Virginia for Virginia Cage Fighting Championships against Amy St. Claire Wilmore. Don't know much about her other than she won a couple Toughman contests and I think they do some of the backyard brawling stuff. I don't know much about her but it doesn't change my game-plan.
Q: From November to May, in a perfect world, would you like to have fights closer together?
A: I would love it to be closer, I really would. At the same time, I have to remember, my husband fights to, so it lets him get one or two fights in in between.
Q: If someone was going to the fight and haven't seen you fight before, what can they expect from Courtney Belcher the fighter?
A: Heart, determination, and this one I am going to war. I wanna keep the same things I did my last fight and bring a little of what I had my second fight. I plan on bringing a war to this girl. I don't know if she has that "I have won Toughman competitions" attitude and I don't care. I am defending my title and if she wants it, she has to knock me out or submit me.
Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I would like to end it in the first round by knockout or ground and pound. If that doesn't happen, I will make her quit if I have to, that's fine.
Q: Who gets more nervous, you for your husbands fights, or him for your fights?
A: I think he gets more nervous watching me fight. I don't know if it would have been so bad if I didn't have the broken eye socket. I watched him after this last fight and he was relieved but he was so pale. It is hard on him. He hasn't passed out, I almost passed out at one of his fights.
Q: Do you know what you would like after this one?
A: I already have another fight lined up for June 15th. I am pretty excited for it. Then I will take a few months off and Eric get a couple fights in. I am trying to get in some grappling tournaments, kickboxing, Muay-Thai, anything to get experience. If not, I will keep training and beating up my fellow training partners.
Q: Is there anyone you like to watch and maybe pick things up from?
A: In boxing, Mike Tyson. I watch a lot of Mike Tyson stuff. I am short and very powerful. I used to do powerlifting in high school. I love Kaitlin Young's knees. I watch her and pay attention to her knees and kicks. Pedro Rizzo, I pay attention to his kicks, and Bas Rutten to. Ground game, any of the Gracie's, I look at anything from them. I am hoping to go to New York and try and slide in some training with Renzo Gracie if I can. I study a lot of stuff, we catch every UFC, every Invicta, I try and catch some of the Bellator's, always finding fights on Youtube.
Q: As a female fighter, how happy are you to see women in the UFC?
A: I am happy with them having Invicta, that's our place. It is cool they are in the UFC but I am very happy with Invicta, our own place to fight. I am glad with the talent they have pulled in to show we are just as talented and fight just as well.
Q: All the hype is on Ronda Rousey, who do you feel has the best shot against her?
A: Sara McMann right now. maybe Shayna Baszler. Both of them have excellent ground games. Anybody who can pull off a twister is amazing. One of those two. I like Cat Zingano but don't know if she can stay away from Ronda's Judo tosses.
Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I want to thank Bella Boxer, Nicole Teigen has been great. I will be decked out in full Bella Boxer gear for this fight. Melissa Traynor from Traynor Athletic Services, she is my nutritionist, although I have slacked off, but she gets me right back on track and takes great care of me. My husband Eric, right now he is my trainer, we don't have a gym right now. He is always patient with me. My manager Molly Hoskinson, she is my partner in crime, I love her. Dana White, she has been a big supporter, Steve Rychel has been a big supporter. They helped me get sponsorship to go to a Duane Ludwig seminar, I wanna thank Duane for that, it was a random tweet he saw and said he would take care of it. My training partners who help me. You for the awesome interview.