Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bree Emery Interview

For many people, you hear the word "model" and automatically think of someone who is unhealthily skinny. One thing I like about Bree Emery is that not only is she a ring card girl, she is a model who shows you do not have to be unhealthily skinny to be beautiful and work in modeling. Another thing is that sometimes people have dreams but won't reach for them, Bree has continued to reach for them, and achieved them and from listening to her you know she will continue to reach for and achieve her goals.

Q: Can you start out just giving a little background info on yourself?A: I am twenty years old and I have a two year old. I have been a CNA for about two months now. I have lived in Kansas my whole life.

Q: What got you interested in modeling?
A: I have always been a pageant type of girl from the second I was able to watch t.v. My mom never had enough money to put me in a pageant because it is really expensive, so growing up it has always been my dream to be model. I got pregnant when I was seventeen and most of the modeling I do you have to be eighteen. I had my daughter and after I had her, I decided to pursue my dreams as a model. Not only for me, but also for her, to better her life and childhood.

Q: When you started to pursue it, was it hard at first or did opportunities come quick?
A: My uncle made a status on Facebook saying I wanted to be a model and one of his friends knew a model. She gave me her contact and I got in touch with her and that's how that all began.

Q: The first time you worked, was it what you expected?
A: I actually worked for a non-profit organization for charity. It was basically sex appeal for charities. We would go and work for endangered animals or child abuse and neglect, all these charities. We were called the Brooklyn Bombshells and had are sexy uniforms. We made a ton of money but gave it all to charity. It was really fun and everything I hoped for.

Q: Were you nervous the first time?
A: No because I love being around people.

Q: You have done a variety of photo shoots, is there a style you like to do the most?
A: My personal favorite and what I will pursue further would be glamor, bikini and lingerie.

Q: Is there a reason you like that kind?
A: Yeah, when I started out I shot with plenty of photographers and did a range of things from punk rock to implied. I decided which looked best for me and what I was good at. I love looking beautiful, I love posing sexy for the camera and I love the attention I get.

Q: One thing I like is that you show you don't have to be unhealthily skinny to model, is that something important to you?
A: Yeah! I talk with so many people and agencies. Different agencies want you to be skin and bone and anorexic. I know well enough to know you can be any size you want to model. You don't have to be a size zero and you don't have to be a size fifteen so I chose to be the size that I want to be. As long as I know my pictures are good and I am getting jobs, that is all that matters.

Q: Now that you have done a lot and say you are always comfortable, do you ever get nervous?
A: Always when you shoot with a new photographer. It is nerve-racking for the first twenty minutes and then you warm up to each other and say silly jokes back and forth and start getting good images. That goes for every photographer, even if I haven't shot with him for a year, there is always that awkwardness in the beginning. You don't know how he shot or how I shot, so there is always that awkward moment in the beginning.

Q: How did you got started working as a ring card girl?
A: Scott Heston actually. He contacted me and asked if I want to be a Gladiator Fighting Association girl. I was like "oh yeah, sure!" I went to a photo shoot and then did my first Organized Chaos event and it exploded ever since.

Q: Were you a fan of the sport before then?
A: I never really knew about the sport. I always watched UFC and wanted to be a UFC ring girl and when Scott asked me, it was an open door.

Q: Are there any similarities between the two?
A: yeah, there are a ton. They both work hand in hand for me. When I modeled, that got Scott's attention for me to be a ring girl. Being a ring girl, there are so many promoters and photographers and people around and they know who I am and know me as a model and have seen me and want to shoot me. I see other promoters and they want me to be a ring girl for them. It works hand in hand.

Q: When you are sitting there, do you ever get caught up in the fight and forget what you are supposed to do?
A: Not necessarily what I am supposed to do. You walk in the cage in the beginning of the fight and between rounds. There are usually three different girls. You are excited to get in the cage. I have always gotten into the fight but never got side-tracked. It is my passion, I love being in the cage and walking around and the crowd yelling. All the girls are eager to get in the cage so they wait for the next round and hope it goes to round three so we all get in the cage.

Q: What is more fun, being in front of the camera or being in the cage?
A: I have to say being in the cage. I love all the attention and people. I love the sport. It is like a brother and sisterhood. Everyone is so close, whether fighting or getting ready to fight. I love it and love all the people.

Q: For someone who may want to get into modeling or ring girl work, how comfortable do you have to be with your own body?
A: You have to be one hundred percent as confident as you can to pursue anything in this world I feel. It doesn't have to be modeling. I am a very confident person, I don't care what people think about me, I am gonna do me and succeed with me. I can only help myself. In a swimsuit in a ring around five thousand people, you have to be comfortable with yourself and your body.

Q: You ever have any uncomfortable moment, someone say something rude?
A: Honestly, I have not. I have never been around super drunk people. Most of the drunk people just yell and scream and whistle and tell me I am hot. A girl hears that a million times so it's not uncomfortable. We have bodyguards to handle my drama if I have any.

Q: Besides the UFC ring girl, are there any other long-term goals?
A: I am moving to Florida and want to pursue my modeling and hopefully the fight scene out there. It is my goal to be a full-time model and hopefully ring girl a ton of shows and work my way up to the top.

Q: Is there anyone you look up to or admire?
A: I have a lot of friends in MMA. I have to say my two favorite women fighters I look up to are Rach Wiley and Jaycee Wells. They have so much passion for the sport. I wish I had so much dedication to do it but I am not a fighter and would rather be on the pretty side of the fight scene. They just have so much dedication and confidence and just nail it. I one hundred percent look up to that because I wish i could do that.

Q: If someone was looking to contact you about modeling, what is the best way?
A: If you wanna see some of my work, I would say Facebook. I am getting ready to set up a website. I will post a link on Facebook when it gets set up.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: I want to thank you for contacting me. It made me excited to know that someone is out there looking from the inside out.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Danyelle Mastarone Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-3: Hot Shotz Photography
Photos 4-5: NPC News Online/J.M. Manion

In May, Danyelle Mastarone took sixth place at the NPC Pittsburgh Championships. Just a few months later she brought a much better and more conditioned package to the stage in taking second place at the Shawn Ray Classic. She is just days out from North Americans and in my mind, has to be considered a threat to win her class.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I have always been involved in some type of fitness my whole life. About five or six years ago I was teaching group fitness classes and a fellow instructor decided she was gonna compete in a figure competition. I didn't know what it was, I just knew that she went from looking good to looking amazing. She told me I should do it. I said "absolutely not, I am not giving up my french fries." Once I watched her transformation and a couple other friends decided to do it I said "I am gonna do this and do it better than everyone else." I won first in novice in my first show and kept going.

Q: Without seeing their transformations, do you think you would have ever had the desire to do it yourself?
A: I don't know if I would have known what it was. Even though I am from Pittsburgh, the home of bodybuilding, I didn't know really know much about the sport. I thought bodybuilding was all there was. I didn't know about figure, I watched fitness as a kid but I couldn't do tumbling so I didn't see that as an option. Without them making the introduction, I never would have known about it.

Q: Were you nervous the first time?
A: I was shaking like a leaf, I am not afraid to admit. I was proud of the journey. You go from A to Z, not matter how you end up, it is such a transformation. You truly reshape your body. I was shaking. I hear from the audience you couldn't tell, so I guess it all worked out.

Q: A lot of people I interview say that after the first show it becomes like an addiction, was that the case with you?
A: Yes and no. I feel like when people say addiction, it carries a negative connotation. What drove me to continue was the sense of accomplishment and knowing there was more to achieve. That I could take the knowledge that I have and do better the next time. I really love being on stage, there is nothing like it to me. Showing off your hard work, the suit, the glitz, the glam, the suit, the makeup. I don't like the word addiction but it did spark a desire in me to continue the journey and see where it took me.

Q: In may you took sixth at the Pittsburgh Championships and then just recently took second at the Shawn Ray. In a short time, your conditioning was so much better, was that something you made a point to improve?
A: Absolutely, thank you for noticing. For the Pittsburgh show I brought a softer package, which is what I thought was the direction figure was going. Once I had a better grasp of what they were going for in figure, I changed my training. I worked so hard, I trained more intense, every step I took was more intense. My goal was like you said, to bring my conditioning to a whole new level. So yes and thank you.

Q: It is only a couple months, so was there any fear you wouldn't be able to get the conditioning where you wanted it?
A: Absolutely! Your body responds different every prep. Even if you do the exact same thing, you never know exactly how your body will respond. I didn't have a ton of time. I took a small off-season, kind of a mental break from the super intense training, but I worked harder than I ever ever worked to get to that level. I didn't know until the week of or even the morning of, how it would turn out.

Q: You also looked much more confident, were you that confident?
A: Thank you again. I have never felt that confident on stage. I knew it was the best me by far. I look at pictures from Pittsburgh and even a year ago at North Americans and I can see all the changes and felt confident. That was real real me.

Q: Obviously you are happy with second place, but is there part of you that wonders what you had to do to get first?
A: Yes, I am not afraid to admit it. I went there to get first place. I evaluated the competition even though you are not supposed to compare yourself to others, it is you versus you. I did think I had a chance, they put me in dead center for call-outs. I was expecting better than second but am truly happy with that. In the game of you versus you, I crushed Danyelle from the Pittsburgh. I achieved so much in those couple months that I couldn't be anything but happy.

Q: When are you competing next?
A: In three days at North Americans.

Q: Not much time from the last one, but is there somewhere the goal was to get better for this one?
A: The goal was to get my glutes a little tighter and keep the conditioning going and bring a tighter package. I wanted to do the Shawn Ray as a warm-up to North Americans, to see how it came out going through the peak week stage. The feedback from judges was tighten up the glutes. I really focused on that and maintaining my muscularity.

Q: Is the pro card something that is important to you?
A: When I first started, the only thing I thought about was wanting to be a pro. I would love to be an IFBB pro and it is a goal, but I think it takes time and I wanna earn it a hundred percent and feel I earned it and give the best package again. As much as I want that pro card Saturday, I am over the moon with the changes I made in one year. I compared my pictures from North Americans last year where I placed eleventh to the Shawn Ray and showed them to my trainer who has been with me this entire year, he asked if the first pictures were from my first show because the changes were astounding. Changes he thought would take years to make were made in a year. I am proud of that and I know I got here with hard work and nothing more.

Q: Would you ever consider physique?
A: I don't think my body is suited for physique. I like the figure shape. That being said, I wish figure could do a posing routine because I love to show off my stuff, love the creativity that goes into that. I think figure is best suited for me and my height. I am 4'9" and the muscle I have is a good balance of muscularity and femininity on my frame.

Q: When you are at the gym do you get the stares and attention from people?
A: Sometimes I do. The gym I go to, I go in the morning and we are like a big family. Everyone knows I am a competitor. The attention I get is all positive, people ask about shows and comment on changes in my physique. When I do stuff outside of my comfort zone or in a social setting I get stares or "that girl's got some guns."

Q: In public are you a cover up and avoid attention or show it off?
A: In the middle. I am pretty modest but I am certainly not gonna cover up my arms or my back. I love the physique I have created so I am very proud to show it in a conservative or modest way.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with who would it be?
A: I would love to spend a day training with Kai Greene.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My coach and trainer Bill for believing in me, seeing me as someone who could transform her body and do well. My family and friends and my girls, they know who they are, and my husband, the most amazing and supportive husband on the planet. I couldn't do it without him. He helps with food, the love he gives me and how proud he is, without his support I could not be the person I am.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

NAAFS Rock N Rumble Report

Saturday August 24th was one of the highlights on the NAAFS calender, Rock N Rumble. It was a really exciting card featuring some good amateur talent and some top pros. The main event lived up to the hype as Josh Stansbury and John Hawk had a three round war with Stansbury taking the decision. Elias Theodorou remained undefeated in becoming the new middleweight champ showing great takedowns in his win over Travis Clark. Antonio Castillo looked his best ever in finishing Brett Ewing and Dave Vandevelde got his first pro win with a victory of Chris Tucker.

1. Amateur Bantamweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Jason Alexander (1-0 Independent) vs Floyd Cisco (0-0 Team DiSabato MMA)

RD 1: They trade punches. Cisco looks for a takedown but can't get it. They trade punches. Clinch on the cage and Alexander lands knees to the leg. They separate. Cisco shoots but Alexander sprawls and gets his back and lands head shots. Alexander looks for a rear naked. Cisco rolls and gets half guard. Alexander gets his back again and lands a punch to the head. Alexander looks for the rear naked but the round ends.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Alexander

RD 2: Superman punch by Cisco. They trade punches. They clinch and move to the cage. Takedown by Alexander into guard. Punch to the head by Alexander. Cisco does good to avoid damage. Not much action here. The ref calls for action. Head shots from the bottom by Cisco. The ref stands them. Cross by Cisco. They trade punches. Hook by Alexander.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 10-9 Alexander

RD 3: Leg kick by Alexander. Punches by Cisco. They clinch and drop down with Cisco on the bottom looking for a guillotine. Alexander pulls his head out and is in guard. Not much action here. Ref calls for action. The ref stands them. Takedown by Cisco into half guard. Head shots by Cisco.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Cisco
My score card: 29-28 Alexander

Result: Jason Alexander by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

2. Amateur Lightweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Aaron McGraw (3-2 Hahns MMA/Indy Boxing) vs Nick Foxhuber (5-1 Ronin Training Center)

RD 1: They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Foxhuber and he has his back. Foxhuber gets a rear naked for the tap.

Result: Nick Foxhuber by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 0:35 of Round 1

3. Amateur 150LB Catch Weight 3x3x3 Rounds
Adken Torchia (1-0 Independent) vs Tobiaus Taylor (2-0 Rising Dragon)

RD 1: Torchia shoots in and they clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Taylor. Body shots by Taylor. Head shots by Taylor. Torchia is working hard for a takedown. Knees to the leg by Taylor. Body shots by Taylor. Knee to the leg by Taylor and another. Body shots by Taylor. Torchia tries for a guillotine but can't get it. Taylor is warned for holding the cage and the ref separates them.
I scored RD 1: 1-9 Taylor

RD 2: Hook by Taylor. Body kick by Torchia. Leg kick by Torchia and another. They clinch on the cage. Two knees to the leg by Taylor. Knee to the body by Taylor. Body shots by Taylor. Taylor is deducted a point for holding the cage. Cross by Torchia. Takedown by Taylor into side control. Torchia gets half guard. Torchia defends well. Punch to the body by Taylor.
I scored RD 2: 9-9

RD 3: Takedown by Taylor into guard. Head shots by Taylor. Taylor pushes him against the cage and lands head shots. More head shots by Taylor. Taylor is deducted a point I think for sticking his thumb into Torchia's glove. Takedown by Taylor into side control. Torchia gets half guard. Body shots by Taylor. Head shots by Taylor.
I scored RD 3: 9-9
My score card: 28-27 Taylor

Result: Tobiaus Taylor by Split Decision (26-29/28-27/28-27)

4. Amateur Featherweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Cheyne Jenkins (5-1 Mad Dog Fight Team) vs Aaron Neighbors (7-4 All Out Assault)

RD 1: They trade crosses. Body kick by Jenkins. Jenkins shoots in but Neighbors sprawls. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Neighbors. Takedown by Jenkins into side control. Neighbors gets half guard and then full guard. Head shots by Jenkins. Neighbors goes for an arm but can't get it and Jenkins lands head shots.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Jenkins

RD 2: Cross by Neighbors. Cross by Jenkins. They clinch and separate. They trade hard punches on the cage and then clinch on the cage. Uppercut by Jenkins. They separate and trade hard punches. Neighbors is bleeding from the nose. Takedown by Neighbors but Jenkins lands on top in half guard. They stand. Takedown by Jenkins into guard. Jenkins gets side control and lands head shots. Jenkins gets a crucifix and lands head shots till the ref stops it.

Result: Cheyne Jenkins by TKO at 2:32 of Round 2

5. Amateur 140LB Catch Weight 3x3x3 Rounds
Zach Forrester (2-4 Ohio Valley MMA) vs Bhrandon Poindexter (6-9 Evolve MMA)

RD 1: Leg kick by Poindexter and another. Another leg kick by Poindexter. Leg kick by Forrester. They clinch on the cage and separate. Cross by Poindexter. Leg kick by Poindexter. Forrester hurts him with punches and they clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Poindexter and another. They separate and Poindexter lands punches. They clinch on the cage and separate quick. Poindexter has a small cut over his eye. Leg kick by Poindexter. Takedown by Poindexter.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Poindexter

RD 2: Leg kick by Forrester. Body kick by Poindexter. Poindexter lands a kick low but the ref misses. Cross by Poindexter. Takedown by Poindexter and he stands and kicks at his legs before letting him up. Hard hook by Forrester. Jab by Poindexter. Leg kick by Poindexter and another. They clinch and drop down and Poindexter gets his back and lands head shots. Forrester reverses and gets on top in guard. Punch to the head by Forrester.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Poindexter

RD 3: Leg kick by Forrester. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Poindexter into side control Forrester gets half guard. Head shots by Poindexter. Poindexter stands and lets him up. Leg kick by Poindexter. Body kick and hook by Forrester. Front kick by Forrester. Leg kick by Forrester. Uppercut by Poindexter. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Poindexter.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Poindexter
My score card: 30-27 Poindexter

Result: Bhrandon Poindexter by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/30-27)

6. Amateur Middleweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Steve Stocker (2-0 Triple Threat MMA) vs Hassan Crutcher (2-0 Rising Dragon)

RD 1: Leg kick by Stocker. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the body by Stocker. Takedown by Crutcher into side control. They stand clinched on the cage. Knee to the leg by Stocker. Takedown by Crutcher into half guard. Crutcher gets mount and lands head shots. Stocker escapes and they stand. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Crutcher into half guard. Crutcher gets mount and lands head shots. Stocker scrambles and they stand.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Crutcher

RD 2: Leg kick by Stocker. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Crutcher. They separate and Crutcher lands punches. Takedown by Crutcher into side control. Crutcher gets his back and lands head shots. They stand. Crutcher lands punches on the cage. They clinch on the cage. Punch to the head by Crutcher. They trade body shots. Uppercut by Crutcher. Punch to the body by Crutcher. The ref separates them. Uppercut by Crutcher.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Crutcher

RD 3: They clinch and move to the cage. Knee to the body by Stocker and another. Head shots by Stocker. Takedown by Crutcher into side control. Stocker gets half guard. Body shots by Crutcher. Crutcher stands and kicks at his legs and lets him up. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Stocker. Body shots by Stocker.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Crutcher
My score card: 30-27 Crutcher

Result: Hassan Crutcher by Unanimous Decision (30-27/30-27/30-27)

7. Amateur Welterweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Eric Bledsoe (2-0 Bullpen) vs Joe Callari (6-5 GriffonRawl)

RD 1: Leg kick by Callari. They clinch on the cage. Body shots by Callari. Takedown by Bledsoe into guard. Bledsoe gets his back. Head shots by Bledsoe. More head shots by Bledsoe. Body shots by Bledsoe. Bledsoe tries for a rear naked but can't get it.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Bledsoe

RD 2: Hook to the body by Callari. Takedown by Callari into half guard. Bledsoe rolls and gets on top in guard. Bledsoe gets side control and then mount. Punch to the head by Bledsoe. Bledsoe gets his back and lands head shots.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Bledsoe

RD 3: Cross by Callari. Jab by Callari. Cross to the body by Callari. Hook by Callari. Leg kick by Callari. Hook to the body by Callari. Leg kick by Callari. Takedown by Bledsoe up against the cage. Callari gets his back off the cage and pulls guard. Callari tries for an arm but Bledsoe gets side control. Bledsoe gets an arm triangle for the tap.

Result: Eric Bledsoe by Tapout (Arm Triangle) at 2:18 of Round 3

8. Amateur Middleweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Rockey Clark (4-7 Topp Dogg MMA) vs Scottie Weaver (6-3 Ronin Training Center)

RD 1: They trade leg kicks. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Weaver. Takedown by Weaver into mount. Head shots by Weaver. Weaver gets his back and lands more head shots till Clark taps.

Result: Scottie Weaver by Tapout (Strikes) at 1:22 of Round 1

9. Amateur Welterweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Zack Trout (2-0 Triple Threat MMA) vs Anthony Disantis (2-1 GriffonRawl)

RD 1: They clinch and move to the cage. Body shots by Trout. Head shots by Trout. Body shots by Disantis. Takedown by Disantis into side control. Trout gets half guard. Disantis gets mount and lands head shots. Trout rolls and gets on top in half guard. Disantis tries for an arm and can't get it. Head shots by Trout.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Trout

RD 2: Trout lands punches. Disantis is bleeding from the nose. They clinch on the cage and separate and Trout lands punches. They clinch on the cage and Disantis lands knees to the leg. Takedown by Disantis into guard. Body shots by Disantis. Trout tries for an arm. Disantis gets mount and lands head shots.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Disantis

RD 3: They trade jabs. They clinch on the cage. Body shots by Disantis. Knee to the leg by Disantis. Takedown by Disantis but a nice sweep by Trout to get on top in guard. Head shots by Trout. Disantis goes for an arm bar but Trout escapes. Disantis goes for the arm again but Trout escapes again. Disantis again goes for the arm bar but Trout escapes and gets mount and lands head shots. Disantis sweeps and is on top and Trout goes for a triangle.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Disantis
My score card: 29-28 Disantis

Result: Zack Trout by Split Decision (29-28/28-29/29-28)

10. Amateur Middleweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Lillo General (1-0 Black Dragon Warlords) vs Darion Peterson (0-0 Strong Style Fight Team)

RD 1: They trade punches and clinch on the cage. Takdown by General but Peterson gets on top in half guard and lands head shots. General gets full guard. Peterson moves to half guard and lands body shots. Peterson gets mount and lands head shots. General gets half guard. Body shots by Peterson.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Peterson

RD 2: They clinch on the cage. Peterson throws him down and lands punches to the head. Peterson drops into side control and lands head shots. Peterson gets mount and lands more head shots till the ref stops it.

Result: Darion Peterson by TKO at 2:33 of Round 2

11. Amateur Lightweight 3x3x3 Rounds
Nick Browne (6-1 Uniontown Fight Club) vs Corey Dulaney (5-0 Team DiSabato MMA)

RD 1: They clinch on the cage. Head shots by Browne. Takedown by Browne but they are right back up clinched on the cage. Takedown by Browne into half guard. Browne gets an arm triangle for the tap.

Result: Nick Browne by Tapout (Arm Triangle) at 1:35 of Round 1

12. Pro Welterweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Chris Tucker (0-0 Reed Academy of MMA) vs Dave Vandevelde (0-2 Wrestling Factory/Kim's Martial Arts)

RD 1: Leg kick by Vandevelde. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Tucker. Takedown by Tucker into guard. Body shots by Tucker. Elbow to the head from the bottom by Vandevelde. Tucker lets him up. They clinch on the cage. They trade knees to the leg. Knees to the body by Vandevelde. They separate and Tucker lands punches. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the head by Tucker. They separate and trade jabs. Clinch on the cage. Takedown by Vandevelde into half guard. Tucker gets full guard. Head shots by Vandevelde. Vandevelde lets him up. They trade punches. Takedown by Vandevelde and he gets mount. Elbows to the head by Vandevelde. Vandevelde gets his back and a rear naked for the tap.

Result: Dave Vandevelde by Tapout (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:10 of Round 1

13. Pro Featherweight 5x5x5 Rounds
Brett Ewing (4-3 American Top Team) vs Antonio Castillo Jr. (6-4 Midwest Training Center/Instigator Fight Team)

RD 1: They clinch in the center and move to the cage. Knee to the leg by Ewing. They drop down and get up quick still clinched on the cage. Ewing gets his back standing and lands two hammer fists. Castillo turns into him. Takedown by Castillo into guard. Punch to the head by Castillo. More head shots by Castillo. Body shots by Castillo. Elbows to the head by Castillo. More head shots by Castillo. Punch t the body by Castillo. Elbows to the head by Castillo. Punches to the body by Castillo.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Castillo

RD 2: Body kick by Castillo. Takedown by Castillo into guard. Castillo gets his back and lands head shots. Ewing gets half guard. Elbow to the head by Castillo. Castillo gets his back and lands head shots till the ref stops it.

Result: Antonio Castillo Jr. by TKO at 0:58 of Round 2

14. Pro Middleweight Title 5x5x5x5x5 Rounds
Elias Theodorou (7-0 Team Empire/Grants MMA) vs Travis Clark (7-1 Strong Style Fight Team)

RD 1: Leg kick by Clark. They clinch on the cage. Knee to the leg by Theodorou. Slam by Theodorou into side control. Theodorou gets his back and lands head shots. Clark works his way up but Theodorou still has his back. Clark turns into him. Knee to the body by Clark. Takedown by Theodorou into guard. Punch to the head from the bottom by Clark. Theodorou moves to half guard and then side control. Elbow to the head by Theodorou. They stand clinched on the cage. Takedown by Theodorou but they are up quick still clinched. Knee to the body by Theodorou. They separate and Theodorou shoots in and they clinch on the cage. Punch to the head by Clark.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Theodorou

RD 2: Leg kick by Theodorou. Cross by Clark. Jab by Clark. Leg kick by Clark. Cross to the body by Clark. They clinch on the cage. Slam by Theodorou into half guard. Theodorou gets his back. They stand and he still has his back and drags him back down. Punch to the body by Theodorou. Clark bucks him off and gets on top in half guard. Punch to the head by Clark. They stand clinched on the cage. Knees to the leg by Clark. Knee to the leg by Theodorou. Takedown by Theodorou and he gets his back. They stand and he still has his back. Knee to the leg by Theodorou. Clark turns into him. Takedown by Theodorou and he gets his back and lands head shots. Clark works his way up and they are clinched on the cage and then separate. Head kick by Clark. Takedown by Theodorou and he gets mount.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Theodorou.

RD 3: Clark has an injury to his ribs and can not come out for the third round.

Result: Elias Theodorou by TKO (Injury) at 5:00 of Round 2

15. Pro Light Heavyweight 5x5x5 Rounds
John Hawk (8-4 Strong Style Fight Team) vs Josh Stansbury (4-2 Team Impact)

RD 1: Hook by Stansbury. They trade punches. Hook to the body by Stansbury. They trade punches and clinch on the cage. Hawk is working for a takedown. They separate. Jab by Stansbury. Jab and cross by Hawk. They trade hard shots. Takedown by Hawk into half guard. Body shots by Hawk. Head shots by Hawk. They stand and Hawk has his back. Knees to the leg by Hawk. They separate. Hawk is cut by his eye. Hard hook by Stansbury. Hard hook by Hawk. They trade hard punches. Jab by Stansbury. Hook by Stansbury. Leg kick by Stansbury. Stansbury lands punches and Hawk waves him forward. They clinch on the cage and separate quick. Hook by Stansbury. Leg kick by Hawk. They clinch on the cage.
I scored RD 1: 10-9 Stansbury

RD 2: They trade jabs. Hook by Stansbury. They trade hard shots. They clinch on the cage. Takedown by Hawk into half guard. They stand. Hook by Hawk. They clinch on the cage. Hawk works hard for a takedown and gets it into side control. Head shots by Hawk. Hawk stands and gets his back in side control. Punch to the head by hawk. Stansbury reverses and they stand clinched on the cage and separate. Leg kick by Hawk. Hook by Stansbury.
I scored RD 2: 10-9 Stansbury

RD 3: Cross by Hawk. Two hooks by Stansbury. They trade hard punches. Leg kick by Hawk. They trade more hard shots. Hook by Stansbury. Leg kick by Hawk. Hawk is bleeding bad from the cut. Leg kick by Hawk and another. Uppercut and hook by Stansbury. They trade jabs. They clinch and separate quick. Jab by Hawk. They clinch on the cage and separate quick. Two jabs by Stansbury. Hook by Stansbury. Hook by Hawk. Leg kick by Hawk. Uppercut by Hawk. Hook by Stansbury. They trade hooks. They clinch and separate quick. Leg kick by Hawk. Jab by Stansbury. They trade jabs. Hook by Stansbury.
I scored RD 3: 10-9 Stansbury
My score card: 29-28 Stansbury

Result: Josh Stansbury by Unanimous Decision (29-28/29-28/29-28)

Submission of the Night: Nick Foxhuber

Knockout of the Night: Antonio Castillo Jr.

Fight of the Night: John Hawk vs Josh Stansbury

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

IFBB Pro Ryan Behr Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-5: Muscular Development/Dan Ray

At USA's on July, Ryan Behr won her IFBB pro card making her one of the elite. She wasted no time in jumping on the pro stage competing at both the Tampa Pro and Europa Super Show. While she didn't place where she would like, she showed she truly belongs on a pro stage. Knowing where she needs to improve, if Ryan does make those improvements, she could have a very successful 2014, and there is no doubt those improvements will be made.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I started training in 2008. I was a competitive figure skater growing up, so I have always had competition in my life and needed some motivation. There was a girl at the gym who had just earned her pro card and she was what motivated me to enter a figure competition for the first time.

Q: Did having that figure skating background make it easier to not have the nerves that some have?
A: It did! Having that experience at a young age and being so solo and on your own and not having a team that shares responsibility, that helped. Even with stage presence and posture. People always ask if I had been a dancer growing up, like ballet or classical dance, and it was the figure skating background because I did have to have dance lessons as well. That experience carried over to the stage.

Q: A lot of people I interview say that after the first show, competing becomes addicting, was that the case with you?
A: It was, because I knew how much more my body was capable of with the right training and nutrition. I took a year between 2008 and 2009 and focused and stepped on stage a little less than a year after my first experience.

Q: You won your pro card at USA's, when you first realized you were now a pro, what went through your head?
A: It actually happened at my first pro show, that is when I realized I was a pro. When I was on stage and they started doing awards for fifth, fourth and third, I remember looking at the crowd and having that nervous excited feeling in my stomach and thinking when they were getting ready to call third place"don't call my number for third". They announced my name for second which meant a pro card, my husband has pictures that capture the moment and my ear to ear grin that I had. I smile now just thinking about it. It is an honor.

Q: Did you think going in that the pro card was a realistic possibility?
A: My expectation for myself was just to bring an improved package to the stage and improving on fifth at Jr. Nationals. Going into USA's I had gotten feedback from judges at the National qualifier in June and Jr. Nationals as well, and so I made the changes they suggested. I felt I was bringing the best package I could to the stage, but looking around, there are amazing physiques. My goal was top five but I felt that winning my pro card was also realistic.

Q: You jumped right on to the pro stage doing the Tampa Pro and Europa, did you consider waiting till next year for your pro debut?
A: We had already talked about shows after Jr. Nationals in the event I earned my pro card in Vegas. I felt it was a good transition, it was so close to winning my pro card that I competed in Tampa and Dallas. Conditioning-wise I felt like my body was already there. There are areas I need to improve on in the future and I continue to get feedback. I have always been encouraged to jump in the deep end, to compete at the highest level possible. When you compete with great athletes, in encourages you to be great.

Q: When you were at Tampa, backstage, seeing the best of the best, was there any moment where you are intimidated?
A: It wasn't so much intimidation as "holy cow, these people I have looked up to, I have the honor of sharing a stage with them now." It was physiques I have seen in magazines and on-line and at the Olympia. It was very surreal seeing them up-close. In my head I was like "holy crap, you are a pro. You are actually competing with them now, they are your peers now."

Q: You mentioned they are the people you have been following and looking up to, has it sunk in that now you are one of the people that others will be looking up to?
A: It hasn't because I still consider myself such a fan. Especially Candice Keene, I met her at the Europa and had to get a photo and talk with her. To think that now there are people who look up to me, it makes me want to improve my physique every time I get on stage, also be a good ambassador of the sport, not just my time in the gym or the kitchen, but making a bigger impact on women's life and help them realize there are healthier ways to do contest prep then the old-school ways they have been subjected to.

Q: Right before you got on stage in Tampa, where there any more nerves as compared to previously?
A: It was more excitement than anything else. A culmination of the training I had gone through the last couple years. This time a year ago we hadn't even talked about me competing. We were just gonna see how training went. Standing there getting ready to go on stage, I was so excited to get up there and have a little more time and do a few more poses. In my mind, it seemed a lot different than an NPC show where they rush you off stage pretty quickly. I wanted to soak up every second and display the physique I had been working so hard on the past few years.

Q: Does the pro card carry any more responsibility as far as how you portray yourself to fans?
A: I think being mindful of social media posts. I want to be a good ambassador of the sport and that means win with humility and lose with dignity. I think that there are so many women who want to become IFBB figure pros or fitness, or bikini or bodybuilding and this is a huge honor. I am honored to share that stage and want to conduct myself as a professional off the stage and outside the venue. If I am traveling to a show with a client or in the gym, conduct myself with the utmost professionalism because I am a representation of the IFBB. It is not my identity, it is something I do, but it is an honor and I want to treat it as such.

Q: Do you know when you want to compete next?
A: 2014

Q: From this past show to the next one, is there any specific area where you want to be better?
A: I think overall, I need more muscle mass. There is a level of muscle maturity that I have not achieved yet. Make my back a little thicker, glutes rounder, shoulders fuller. Conditioning-wise I was at the best level I ever had and that is due in large part to my coach. Building more muscle is always a goal. I am waiting for judges feedback cause I like to email them and include pictures and thank them for their time and taking the time to provide feedback.

Q: When you are at the gym do you get the stares or attention from people?
A: Yes, it is sort of mixed. I typically train with my husband but if I am not with him, it is a mix of people who think it is awesome a girl trains as hard as I do and has a physique that I obviously work hard on, then there are the people who think it's gross and that women shouldn't have that much muscle. I have gotten those looks this summer because between June 8th and last weekend I did five shows, so it was peak week to peak week and I was lean all summer. There is a level of conditioning that people are not used to seeing. It is usually the women who are grossed out and not used to seeing women with muscles.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: Candice Keene if it was another female competitor. If it were a bodybuilder, Juan Morel because he has such epic meals leading up to a show and I can smash some food like nobodies business.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Thank you for considering me to interview, it is an honor. I have followed your blog and know how big of an advocate you are for female competitors and how respectful you are of us as women and competitors and what you have done for the sport and helping us be presented in a respectful light. My husband for being not just my training partner but my biggest fan and advocate. I couldn't do this without him. My family for supporting my goals even if they didn't understand them and my coach Matt Jansen and his wife Jordan who have traveled to several shows are are also our business partners and best friends. I wouldn't have stepped on stage again if not for Matt investing his time and dedication and belief in me as an athlete.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Alex Townsend Interview

After stepping into what she calls the "big boy gym", the room with all the weights, squat racks and things of that sort, Alex Townsend found something she enjoyed. She took that enjoyment into deciding to get on a figure stage and is now prepping for her first show. One thing needed to do well when competing is having a passion for what you do, just from talking with Alex, you can see that passion is there and I think can lead to her doing quite well.

Q: What initially got you interested in training?
A: I danced for eight years, all through high school. I acme to college and couldn't afford the dance classes and didn't have a car. I needed some outlet for physical activity. School had a gym so I checked it out and started going. I did cardio and lifted light. I was scared to go in the big boy gym, where all the squat racks and heavy dumbbells and barbells are on the floor. I wouldn't do it till this past year. I had been going for five years and didn't see a change so I expanded my territory.

Q: When you started in the "big boy gym" and adding muscle, a lot of people don't realize how addicting adding muscle is, was that the case with you?
A: Absolutely! This spring I signed up to do kind of a boot camp class at our gym. We did circuit training, cross-fit, intervals, a mix of everything for an hour and a half. Once I got into that I was like "holy cow", I could see changes in my physique from really pushing my body harder than I ever had before.

Q: How long were you doing that kind of training when you decided to compete?
A: I had done the boot camp for sixteen weeks. They did a competition between two classes and my goal was to see if I could do the first mile. I ended up winning the competition, totally not expecting to. I needed a bigger goal. If my body can do this, I wanna push it as hard as I can and have the best physique I can and that is when I decided to do a competition.

Q: What show are you doing?
A: I am doing the Elite Muscle Classic in North Carolina. I am about eleven weeks out.

Q: How long have you been doing the prep for?
A: Seven weeks. I started about eighteen weeks out. I wanted to do a show in October but the coach I am working with it wanted a little longer prep and longer time to lean out and see how I respond to more intensive dieting. So far it has been pretty good,

Q: So far, has anything about the prep process surprised you?
A: So far nothing has been incredibly difficult up until this week. This week when I started cutting some carbs, school starting, working part-time, I am feeling some exhaustion. I was expecting to have to work hard, feel tired, have to put in extra effort to prep meals. I didn't expect I would be able to lift so much so often. I am doing two days of upper body and lower body and then three other days where I split them up. I never thought I would squatting heavy or deadlifting twice a week and continuing to add weight.

Q: Why did you pick figure?
A: I feel like I have never been a bikini type of girl. I don't wanna be that tiny. Nothing against bikini, they are incredible and work incredibly hard, but I like to see a little more muscle and I wanna grow a little more. I don't wanna be quite as big as physique, so I figured figure is perfect.

Q: Are you at all nervous about being on stage?
A: A little bit. I haven't really done any posing practice yet. I haven't found a posing coach locally because my coach is in North Carolina. I do love being on stage. Growing up dancing and being in the spotlight, this will just be a little different experience.

Q: Is this something you know you want to keep doing or want to do the first and see how it goes?
A: I already know that I want what I present on stage to be like a before photo for next season. I came into this thinking "I am gonna do a figure competition" and not taking into account that I could have done a lot more to prep myself before I even started but I was so excited to jump in. So I feel like I can have a solid off-season and grow a lot and be able to diet down better next year and have a different physique. So I will continue to do this. There is not many people in the world who really enjoy this, counting macros, meal prepping, working your tail off all the time.

Q: In your opinion, what is your best body part and the one you most want to see improved by the time you get on stage?
A: I definitely think my legs are my best part. I have always had a solid base of muscle from dancing for so long. My calves have been pretty toned. My back would be my weakest. It was something I never trained before. I would do lunges or pus-ups or shoulder stuff, but never trained back till this year. I am seeing changes but there is a lot of room to grow.

Q: When you started adding muscle did you get any negative response from family or friends?
A: Yeah! Both of my parents, when I told them I was going to bodybuild, they were in the mindset that if women lift heavy that they will blow up with all this muscle. When I came home for the summer after six or seven weeks of training they were like "you look fantastic" and I said "I told you I am not gonna explode." They were not super supportive at first. They also think the bodybuilding world is kind of narcissistic, which it is a little bit, but I will do my best to stay humble. Everyone else understands that lifting heavy is not gonna make you explode.

Q: Are there any competitors you admire?
A: I always loved Nicole Wilkins. She is fantastic. I follow all of her stuff. Amanda Latona is super positive and encouraging and has an incredible physique.

Q: If you could spend a day training with any one person, who would it be?
A: It would be Layne Norton. I follow him and all of his science. It would be so scary yet so much fun. I would work harder than I have ever worked in my entire life.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My trainer Ryan Blackburn and my gym Kinetix, I feel at home when I am in there and everyone is super encouraging.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Amy Cadwell Interview

When Amy Cadwell began training, she didn't like it. However with urging she stuck with it and then actually started fighting. In May, Cadwell made her pro debut a victorious one when she avenged a loss to Cheryl Chan. While her amateur MMA career may not have produced the greatest, she did get some very impressive wins and I think stylistically, she is more suited for the pro ranks and will have a very successful pro career.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started training for the sport?
A: Back in 2006 my ex-boyfriend randomly came upon a Muay-Thai gym. I didn't really know what it was but he was like "we are gonna do this." I tried it out, tried out the classes. I had not watched any fighting, I didn't understand it. I did it for a couple weeks and didn't like it and was gonna quit. I didn't like it, didn't want to fight, didn't want to do it. He pushed me into it. After a couple months, I started getting into it. My coach said "I want you to fight. I want you to train and take a fight" and I was like "what?" I decided to do it because it was like nothing I would ever see myself doing. I put all my energy into it and I did it.

Q: Without that urging to fight, do you think you would have ever wanted to fight?
A: You never know what would have happened but I wanted to quit. I was like "this isn't for me, what am I doing?" I felt all uncoordinated and didn't know what I was doing, I didn't feel I could be good. I had never been in a physical confrontation, it was never anything I thought I would do. I think without that, I wouldn't have gotten into it. You never know what happens in your life, but I wanted to quit.

Q: Not everyone likes the idea of their daughter getting punched in the face, was your family o.k. with you fighting?
A: When I first started fighting my parents were terrified. They came and supported me but they were terrified. My mom saw me getting punched in the face and said she was just about in tears. I won my first fight so that helped persuade her. This was just kickboxing. I have had a lot of people take it wrong and be offended by the idea of women fighting and ask why I do it. I come across a lot of different opinions.

Q: Walking out for that first fight, were you nervous or excited or both?
A: When I started kickboxing, I was totally nervous. I didn't know how I would do or if I could even be a fighter. When I started training for MMA and had my first fight, I wasn't nervous, I knew what I was getting into and what my game-plan was and was ready to go. All the fights are different and I feel it depends on your training camp on how nervous you will be.

Q: When you did the first MMA fight after kickboxing, is it hard to not just stick with what you know and be able to incorporate other things?
A: I have been training on the ground for four years now. I started kickboxing in 2006 and MMA in 2009. By now I am more comfortable on the ground than I am on my feet. I don't have any trouble incorporating my new game. I need to get better at my wrestling so that I can use my ground but I feel I am stronger on the ground. I have trouble because I fall into old kickboxing habits like when i get tired, standing upright and putting myself in danger that way. As far as transitioning to MMA, that hasn't been too much of a problem.

Q: You made your pro debut in May, how did you know you were ready to turn pro?
A: I really didn't know that I was ready. I felt like I was ready to turn pro, like I had been training long enough. I didn't have the best amateur record and didn't perform the way I wanted at the end of my amateur career but I had a lot of tough fights. All the girls I fought were tough. I have been training my ass off and it's been my dream, so why not take a pro fight? My camp this last fight, it was a lot of insecurity, which isn't the way to go into your pro debut, but I was insecure about having a lot of losses and wondered if I was read. My coach supported me and my family and friends supported me. I recently switched camps and that had a big to do in me feeling I could do this and compete with the pros.

Q: Were there any extra nerves for the pro debut as compared to amateur fights?
A: The camp leading up, I was real nervous. I didn't know if I made the right decision. After going through the camp, the day of the fight, I was just gonna go out and do my best. When I went out there I felt relaxed. I think that is why I won, I was relaxed.

Q: Some people I interview say they do better as a pro than as an amateur because pro rules suit what they do better, do you think you fall into that category?
A: Possibly! It might have helped. My cardio has always been good so five minute rounds helped me out. Also, I could use my top control and throw elbows. The main part was I was able to work on my wrestling a lot. The main thing was the camp.

Q: You won a decision over Cheryl Chan, which was a rematch. Is it harder or easier to game-plan for someone you already fought?
A: It was difficult because Cheryl is a tricky fighter. She has a lot of submissions from her back and her stand-up, she is quick. When I fought her the first time, she had a Karate style that she was accurate with. Stand-up wise, the first fight she was beating me and was hard for me to take down and was good from the bottom. I was nervous game-planning for her because we were gonna do the same thing, take her down and use my top control. So I had to train wrestling and how to stay heavy on top and avoid submissions. I had it in my head that this is how she beat me before but I felt I had made enough improvements that I could do it right.

Q: When they announce the decision and you realize you won your first pro fight, what went through your head?
A: The first round she won the first half and I won the second half. Once I got in my groove, I had it in my head that I knew how to win this fight and was about to win. By the end of the fight I knew I won. I was still in shock but I knew I had won. I knew I did enough to win. I felt elated.

Q: You are engaged to a fighter, how much does it help to be with someone who knows what you are going through when for example doing your weight cut?
A: It helps a lot. We support each other a hundred percent. It helps to have someone who understands what you are cutting weight and getting ready for a fight. You have someone who cares about you and loves you and will have advice and see things from a different perspective. We both support each other and are able to train together. We are lucky we can share that passion and go on runs together, train together, do those things together.

Q: Who gets more nervous when the other fights?
A: I think he is more nervous for me. My last camp was rough and there are some days where you feel you are at your worst. He saw me break down crying and he was really nervous. The beginning of my fight I took a big elbow and was bleeding all over. We are new in our relationship so he hasn't been around for all my fights. My fights usually get pretty bloody and I am o.k. and he doesn't realize that. He saw me get opened up and he was scared, he didn't wanna see that.

Q: Any set plans for your next fight?
A: I was planning for Cage Warriors on the fourteenth but I don't know if it will work out. I am hoping to get something at the end of September or early October locally. We are in the process of it.

Q: Long-term is the goal something like Invicta?
A: Yeah! I have been talking to my coach and he wants to get me a couple more local fights and push for Invicta or a bigger show. I wanna fight for the bigger shows and make a statement, so we have been training hard.

Q: Are there any fighters you like to watch and try and learn from?
A: There is a lot of things I admire about a lot of fighters. I admire Leslie Smith. I love watching her fight and her pace and relentlessness. She doesn't stop. I am excited to watch what she has coming next. I really enjoy Jessica Penne. Her ground is on another level and she is so calm and relaxed. There is a lot of people I like to watch.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My fiance and number one support Dex Montenegro, my coach and manager Will Hammond, he really does a lot for me and works hard for the fighters he manages, Clint Radovich from White Buffalo Warriors, Myriam Cardoso and everyone at Elite BJJ in Redmond My family, my fiance's brother Von Montenegro, everyone at work, I work at Park Ridge Nursing Center, all my sponsors, MMA Madhouse, Klench Mouth Guards, Tussle, Jail Sucks Bail Bonds and Top Rated MMA.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Susanna Hand Interview

Photo Credits:
Photo 1: Orange Photography
Photos 2-4: RX Muscle/Jeff Binns
Photo 5: Doug Smith Photography

Moving up to heavyweight, Susanna Hand brought an incredible physique to USA's in taking fourth place. She really stood out to me for several reasons so I had to approach her for an interview and am glad she agreed. In talking with her, she has the perfect attitude about the sport, her future in it and other things. Susanna Hand is definitely pro card caliber in my opinion.

Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: I had a good attitude about training because my father was a powerlifter and as a police officer he started the P.A.L. weightlifting program in his town and used to bring me to the gym with him. I didn't start training on my own until I lost a lot of weight and I thought that if I reached a certain goal weight that I would look great and I didn't. I realized it was time to incorporate weight training in order to tighten up. I hired a gym trainer and when I started to see results I trained more often and it took of from there.

Q: When you started, was adding the amount of muscle you have added a goal?
A: Not necessarily the amount that I have now. I did want to add some muscle. I am a curvy woman, kind of bottom heavy. I wanted to add some size to my upper body and have a more balanced shape. I wanted an athletic feminine look but at the same time I enjoyed the training and seeing results and being able to lift more, lift harder, lift heavier. It became about doing better than the last time. It is a balance between the two, strength and how I look, both are important to me.

Q: What made you decide to try competing?
A: I had put on a significant amount of muscle. I am not a hard gainer, but the thing is I am not naturally lean person. I see a lot of people that are really lean and look amazing and have trouble putting on size, on the other hand I have trouble getting the fat off. I put on a lot muscle, I felt strong, I felt good, I liked it, but I wanted my outside appearance to reflect how I felt on the inside. I wanted the outside to look good to. I ended up reaching out to someone I knew who was a figure competitor and someone who was a local judge and went to them for a diet. I enjoyed training but needed to learn more about nutrition. My intention in contacting them was just to get a diet. I knew the prepped competitors, but were also just working with athletes in general. I went for a diet and instead he put me on stage in nine weeks.

Q: Were you nervous?
A: I was excited, I was nervous. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have stepped on stage after nine weeks and it stinks cause there are pictures to prove it on-line. That was a girl who prior to that first show, I had taken about six months off from training altogether. I was doing P-90X at home. I had my pull-up bar and did that at home. My plan was to finish graduate school in order to compete. I figured competing was a personal thing, I wanted to do it for me, but I didn't want to start a new hobby or goal until I finished one that was important to me. I finished my degree requirements and started prepping a week after.

Q: You just took fourth at USA's and moved up to heavyweight, was that a goal or just the way it happened?
A: I did want to add some muscle but I didn't know how it would affect the scale. I didn't know I was gonna be one of the heaviest light heavyweights or be a heavyweight. I didn't know what was gonna happen and decided not to stress about the scale and just look the best I could and whatever happens happens. I didn't know if I would be a heavyweight or be right for it cause I am only 5'3". I appear taller, but that is just my proportions. I didn't know if I would look right next to everyone else, but it seemed to work out well.

Q: Overall, how happy were you with what you brought to the stage?
A: I was very happy. I really don't get too hung up on placings. I was happy with my placing because I improved and am very new at the sport. Not to mention, to be on stage in the top five with women who have competed for fourteen years, that was an accomplishment. My first show, I just wanted to look like I belonged there and after that I wanted to improve and did that and this time I think I continued to improve so I can't complain about that.

Q: One thing I liked was your hair and suit and things, you have a style that looks good on you, for those who don't know, can you explain how important those things are?
A: I know that you are a performer. Yes, we are athletes and lifting and training and working on our bodies, but we have to present it well. You need to have good stage presence and pose right. The way you present yourself, having everything on point, taking care of details, gives confidence and the judges see that and it can affect your placing. I have seen competitors that look really good but their tan is a mess and their hair is a mess and their posing is sloppy and it is selling yourself short. Not that my posing is the best, but I feel like you can have better biceps or delts than the person next to you but if you are not showing them properly, the judges aren't seeing that.

Q: Do you know when you want to compete next?
A: I am considering Nationals. I step off stage, I still have the fire in me and I think "what's next?" I want to give myself some time to reflect. I was in Hawaii and had time to separate from the diet and a little less training. I am back on my diet now and am gonna see how my body responds. Sometimes you have a show in mind and your body just doesn't respond how you want and needs a break. I am making observations and listening to my body but with the intentions of doing Nationals.

Q: If you do Nationals, I know it isn't much time, but from USA's is there an area you want to be better?
A: It is definitely a matter of conditioning. Hamstrings and glutes is my challenge. In this amount of time I wont make dramatic changes to my physique in terms of muscle mass. I always want my posing to improve.

Q: Is the pro card a goal for you or more if it happens it happens?
A: I would love it but I don't determine whether I am happy or feel successful based on that. You can look your best and it depends on who shows up. If I look the best I can look and have made improvements, I cant sit there and feel anything but good, even if I don't win and get the pro card. It would be great but I am not too hung up on it. I think some people get so fixed on it and we know if you get a pro card, you are not gonna become rich.

Q: At the local shows there are less and less women doing bodybuilding and less pro shows for female bodybuilding, as a female bodybuilder yourself, does that upset you?
A: It makes me sad because I feel a lot of women who would be interested in bodybuilding and are seeing less shows and are running to physique. I suggested to some people who are thinking about competing "why don't you try both? Don't rule out bodybuilding." It makes me sad because it is sort of killing the sport really. If someone is new, there aren't many options. When I was instructed to compete, it was when physique came out but only at the National level. I thought it might work for me, but I got into bodybuilding because that was all there was at the local level, but I can't see myself doing anything else right now. It doesn't give the sport an opportunity to grow.

Q: When you are at the gym, do you get the stares or attention from people?
A: For the most part, I find the attention to be positive. Sometimes I get stares and am not sure if they are impressed or freaked out. I moved to Los Angels and am surprised with how cool people are about the look. Strangers have nice things to say and people are into health and fitness out here. I have been happy with what I have experienced so far.

Q: If you could spend a day training with someone you have never trained with, who would it be?
A: It would be Melody Spetko. She is a friend that I have never been in the gym with. Some of her pictures in the gym scare the crap out of me, with her hoodie up, she looks intimidating. I would like Melody to kick my ass in the gym.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My boyfriend David for being incredibly supportive. From getting me to the gym when I don't have the energy, helping me, prepping meals, doing everything you can imagine. Also, Branden Ray, Robert Samborsky and Melody Spetko.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stephanie Skinner Interview

Photo Credits:
Photos 1-3: Real Time Moments
Photos 4-5:

On September 6th Stephanie Skinner will play the role of bad guy, a role she seems to be embracing, when she faces local favorite Angelica Chavez for the XFC. Skinner is a vastly improved fighter, much better than her record would show and while many may seem to be overlooking her in this fight, Skinner has the skills to walk away with a win. This is a match-up of two exciting and skilled fighters that definitely could steal the show.

Q: Before we talk about the fight, for those not familiar, can you talk about how you got started training for the sport?
A: In 2009 the fights came to my hometown. I went to my first fight and there was one female fight. I wanted to be part of what they were doing, I wanted to try it for myself. I thought I was a little bad ass at the time and it gave me more motivation to get in the cage and show people I am not a person to be messed with. I took my first fight in September 2009 and have been doing it ever since.

Q: Did any family or friends react negatively to the idea of you fighting?
A: The only ones were my dad and my grandma. My friends were all for it, they said "that's cool, you should do it, you could be good." The flip side was my dad was like "you are my little girl, I don't wanna see someone punching you and I can't defend you." It was a case of being a daddies girl and him looking out for my best interest.

Q: When you are going out for that first fight and it is now real, were you nervous at all?
A: Until I walked in the cage I thought I wasn't nervous and then as soon as the door locked, I felt it in my stomach and throat and wanted to puke. After the bell rings and the first punch is thrown, it goes away and your adrenaline kicks in. But prior to that, yeah, I was nervous.

Q: You have Angelica Chavez coming up, how do you feel you match up with her?
A: I think this is a well matched fight. We both come from notable camps, camps that specialize in certain aspects. I feel that what we each specialize in will compliment the others. We will have an exciting stand-up battle or an exciting ground game if we choose to go to the ground. Her four wins are all submission, last year in Colorado my coach won submission of the year so we are known for our stand-up but we have a ground game to back it up as well.

Q: You train with Diana Rael who has actually beaten her, does it help to train with someone who has experience fighting the person you are about to fight?
A: Absolutely! I feel I have a greater hand with having Diana as a coach. She is a great fighter, a great mentor, and a coach to me. Her having fought fought Angelica, she knows what it is like, she knows the crowd in Albuquerque is her backyard, she is "South Valley's Own" Angelica Chavez, but she is not unbeatable and we have exposed that along with Nicdali when they fought, it showed she is beatable. It calms my nerves to know my coach has done it and I can follow in her footsteps.

Q: The crowd will be big time behind her, is that something you can block out or is it even something you embrace, being the bad guy?
A: I think I embrace it. Everyone likes to be the spoiler. Come the end of the fight, I am gonna hush them up. I will use their negative energy and turn it into energy I can use in the fight.

Q: Is their an area you feel you have the biggest advantage?
A: She is a well-rounded fighter. I have known of her the majority of her career and what they specialize in at the Chavez dojo, they are good fighters, they have two in the XFC right now. I don't feel I have an advantage in any area. The advantage is my will not to loose and the heart I carry behind what I do.

Q: On the flip side, is there somewhere she posses the biggest potential threat?
A: People say her ground game, but that is because people don't realize what I train. Diana did get submission of the year. People think we are stand-up, but we train all aspects of MMA. People can speculate that the ground is where it will end on her part because of her Jiu-Jitsu, but they will be surprised come September 6th when she doesn't get a first round submission.

Q: Doesn't it in a sense work to your advantage that people underestimate what you can do on the ground?
A: Absolutely! Let them talk her up, let them build her ego, let them continue to praise and give her ten to one odds. I want them to underestimate me, I want them to think I am just some two and four fighter who can just stand up and bang because I wanna turn heads and I wanna change minds when I step in that cage.

Q: Most people seem to be overlooking you, which you seem o.k. with, but do you ever get insulted by it?
A: Maybe in the beginning I was, when people were saying "she is two and four, they needed an opponent she can beat." It is annoying but after talking with coaches, I can laugh it off. I know the fighter I am now. Under my coaches I am two and one. I cant change my past but I can continue to do what I know how to do.

Q: It is a big promotion, televised fight, does that put any more pressure on you?
A: Initially when they came to me and said they draw so many viewers, and it is televised, it does get the jitter bugs going, but come fight time, the only thing that matters is me and the girl across the ring. I will use the negative energy, embrace it, I want them to cheer for their hometown girl cause I am gonna break your hearts at the end of the day.

Q: How big of a win would this be for you?
A: It would be huge. Angelica Chavez is a worthy opponent. A win over someone with her name will sky-rocket my name. Just because my record says two and four, that doesn't mean that is the kind of fighter I am anymore. A win would be huge for myself and will show the world I am here to stay and I am here to play with the big girls.

Q: Do you have a prediction?
A: I would like to predict that if it goes to the ground it will end how my last two ended. If it stays on the feet, it will be a battle till one of us falls. I am not gonna say I am gonna absolutely win because anything can happen, it is part of the game. But if it goes to the ground I have every bit of confidence in the fact that I am gonna dominate..

Q: Any idea what you want after this?
A: Right now I am only signed for one fight with XFC. With a win, I don't see why they wouldn't sign me to a multi-fight time. I here good things that if you put on a good fight and show heart, they will sign you. I would like to continue to fight with XFC, they are a growing promotion and I would like to stay if they would have me.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: My coaches Benjamin Schissler and Diana Rael, my training partners Cassie Robb, Ali Hanjani, Nathan Gates, my sponsors, Serial Boxe, MMA Mass Destruction and American Ground and Pound, Inksmith Tattoo, Law Offices of Stacey Nickolaus, Destiny Gonzales at Floyd's Barbershop, Jack-n-Grill, Jason Gibbs,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Emily Bartee Interview

Emily Bartee started her Martial Arts experience by taking Karate. After time passed she eventually found her way to AFS Academy where she has learned all the facets of the MMA game with coach Scott Elliott and a talented group of fighters. Fans of women's MMA may know AFS as the home of Gina Begley and Jessamyn Duke. She has not competed in an MMA fight yet, but has done competitions including making her kickboxing debut recently. The plan is to do an MMA fight in the not to distant future. You may also know Emily as the co-host of Pro WMMA Now along with Gina Begley, a great show talking all things women's MMA.

Q: First, can you talk about how you got interested in training?
A: I started taking Karate when I was in sixth grade. I went to school in Northern Kentucky and was transferring over from a school in Cincinnati and always had problems, kids were mean and made fun of me. When I started school in Kentucky I thought "I will take Karate and then no one will mess with me." It kept that way and I took it from sixth grade till I graduated. Then when I came to Eastern Kentucky I wanted to keep it up. One of the campus classes was Jiu-Jitsu, so I thought I would take it cause I always wanted to and my mom always said it was too dangerous. Our instructor Scott Elliott had a gym called AFS Academy. He said if we wanted extra rolling time to come to AFS and take classes. I started taking Jiu-Jitsu and Muay-Thai and have been doing it almost every day since January of 2012 and I love it.

Q: When you started at AFS, did you know you would want to compete?
A: I had no idea. I thought I would do something with Jiu-Jitsu because the tournaments I did for Karate were two parts, the first half Jiu-Jitsu and second half Karate. I thought I might like to grapple competitively, but I never thought Muay-Thai or combining them and competing in MMA.

Q: When you started at AFS, was there an aspect that you picked up quickest?
A: I think I picked up grappling the quickest. I had to rework my Muay-Thai, the stances and manner you strike are different between Muay-Thai and Karate. While I knew how to kick and punch, they weren't the same. I picked up grappling the quickest because I always wanted to do it and wasn't allowed to at home.

Q: AFS has other females there like Gina Begley and Jessamyn Duke, did that make you feel more comfortable?
A: It did absolutely. I was worried when I started that I would be the odd girl out, the tomboy, that people wouldn't train with me the same. I showed up and there were four girls, Gina, Jessamyn, Amber White and Alejandra Lopez and they were there every night. It made it feel nicer. I wouldn't have felt unwelcome, but it made it feel more inviting.

Q: You recently made your kickboxing debut, for those who don't know, can you tell how you did?
A: In the end of June we competed at the Thai Boxing Association tournament in Iowa. It is set up in brackets by your weight and experience. I had one fight on Friday morning, the opponent was also debuting. We touched gloves and I exploded. I have never hit someone so much and so fast. It was nice because, not to rag on her but she didn't hit back as hard as I thought she would. When we do hard sparring for a fight, Gina and Jess and Adam and Brandon unload on you. I expected her to hit harder and when she didn't, I let loose. That being said, I kind of ran my cardio down because Friday afternoon I had my second fight against a girl 3-0 in her first fight of the day. That is when you discover your holes and one of my holes is cardio. I felt good in the beginning but she had good knees and kept landing them, combined with my cardio, I lost a decision.

Q: So with your mom not wanting you doing Jiu-Jitsu when you were younger, was your family o.k. with you doing this?
A: Some of them were. When I first told them, everyone was convinced it was a phase I was going through and when training got hard I would stop. My sister came around and told she was proud of me. My mom is iffy on it, my grandpa says it is a waste of time, but that is because I am not trying to be CEO of Procter and Gamble. They support me but wish I would do something else that wasn't as taxing on the body.

Q: Overall, how satisfied were you with that first experience?
A: Very satisfied. Kickboxing is very different from karate and that was the only type of sparring I had been exposed to. Making the switch to where people are trying to hit you and hurt you and kneeing the body, it was an experience and I loved it. I am so proud and happy of how I did.

Q: So the plan is to do MMA correct?
A: Yes!

Q: Any idea when you want to do that?
A: Definitely within the next six months. I need to talk to my coach and Gina is calling someone on a commission or doctor. I have problems with my eyesight, I can barely see out of my right eye. They have done two surgeries and haven't been able to do anything about it. I cant see that well and there may or may not be an issue if I can only see out of one eye. Gina is making a call to see if I would be cleared and I would like to compete within six months.

Q: Are there any fighters you like to watch and learn from?
A: The younger fighters who I can relate to. A lot of people we interview on Pro WMMA Now are well established, training for years. I look up to them but feel I can associate with girls my age, Rose Namajunas, Tecia Torres, we are at the same point in our lives and it makes it easier.

Q: You host the show with Gina, what do you enjoy about that?
A: It gives me extra motivation to look up and research women in the sport. I am extremely busy between work and school and training and don't have much chance to look up things. When Gina tells me we have someone on, it gives me a chance to look up there fights, where they train. It gives direct motivation to look up things on these women.

Q: Does talking to them give you more motivation to fight?
A: Absolutely! Just hearing the background stories on these women. You have fighters who wake up at 5am to train then work a full day and then train more. Hearing the passion and love they have is amazing and motivational.

Q: Now for the pointless stuff. First from Gina, if you were a cupcake, what kind would you be?
A: A pina colada cupcake with mango flavored icing and sprinkles on top.

Q: In Back to the Future, the go to the past and want to get back home, so shouldn't it be called Back to the Present?
A: I think it should be, yes.

Q: In an MMA fight between Batman, Super Man, Spider Man and Aqua Man, who wins?
A: I will go with Super Man. He can fly over everyone else while they fight and then land in the cage with whoever is left.

Q: Gina will be made you didn't say Batman. Gina is nicknamed Jelly Bean, if your nickname was a candy, what would it be?
A: Not a candy, but cupcake would be appropriate. I discovered after the TBA that gourmet cupcakes are very addictive. Dieting up to it, my roommate would watch Cupcake Wars and I was dieting, so after the TBA I had several gourmet cupcakes.

Q: What reality show would you want to be on?
A: I gotta be honest. I think the Honey Boo Boo show because I think there are so many things she could change or do, a mini wake-up call. Or Cake Boss would be a good one.

Q: If there was a movie about your life, what would it be called and who would play you?
A: I think it would be called Roller Coaster Ride because I have had so many ups and downs in my life. I would say Sandra Bullock would play me.

Q: If you could head kick any celebrity, who would it be?
A: Simon Cowell. He would be the one to get it.

Q: Anyone you want to thank?
A: Bangtown Fightwear for sponsoring the radio show. My coach Scott Elliott, my training partners, Gina Begley, Jessamyn Duke, Adam Fritz, Justin Short, Brandon Campbell, my family and friends who help support me and you for giving me this opportunity.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Fake Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg Interview

The fake interviews I did for some people were popular, so I am doing more from time to time. Note, this is not a real interview, and neither Joe Rogan or Mike Goldberg actually had anything to do with this. It is done in humor as I actually am a big fan of both men's work.

Q: We are joined today by the UFC's main broadcast team, Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. Guys I want to thank you for taking the time for this.
Mike: Here we go!!!!!!

Q: Mike, it's not a fight, no need for that.
Mike: Exactly

Q: Joe you have been with the UFC a long time, did you ever think it would evolve into what it has become?
Joe: We have come a long way from back when it was Tank Abbott and Paul Varlans types who just hit hard. These guys have evolved into real martial artists. Now these guys are savages who are skilled at so many different things.
Mike: Exactly!
Joe: Back then we were jamming three hundred fans into Bob's BBQ and now we are jamming twenty thousand into this big arenas.
Mike: Exactly!

Q: I think first we gotta talk about Chris Weidman and his knockout of Anderson Silva, now UFC did all they could with the promotional packages to sell fans that Weidman could win that, but did you think it was a realistic possibility.
Joe: That was the best Weidman has ever looked. Silva, it was probably the seventeenth or eighteenth best he has ever looked until he got dropped.
Mike: Anderson Silva was who I considered the pound for pound best. He got dropped with that kick and it was over.
Joe: It was a punch.
Mike: Exactly!

Q: What do you expect in the rematch?
Joe: Who knows. Are we gonna see a new Anderson Silva, a fired up Anderson Silva, a determined Anderson Silva.
Mike: Weidman is the pound for pound best, so I think it is a tough job for Silva.

Q: The biggest one on the horizon is GSP vs Johny Hendricks, Hendricks brings that one punch knockout power and GSP had been caught before by Matt Serra, can it happen again?
Joe: GSP uses great technique. His technique is so technical and when he does the technique you are just amazed at how technical the technique is. So it will be hard. But Hendricks is a savage and is capable of pulling it off.
Mike: Exactly! GSP is the pound for pound best so it is hard to bet against him but Hendricks has been on a roll and we have seen that in his recent fights, most recently his win over Carlos Condit.

Q: If GSP and Silva both win, or even if they lose, do you foresee a GSP vs Silva fight?
Mike: This place is electric.

Q: What? What place is electric?
Mike: I mean that place would be electric. What a fight that would be. The two best pound for pound fighters in the world. They have both been unbeatable.
Joe: Silva just lost.
Mike: Exactly!
Joe: It would be a real battle of technique. GSP has the best wrestling in MMA right now, so he could very well take Silva down but Silva would have the size, so does GSP have the technique to control him once he gets him down.

Q: We have also seen....
Mike: Don't forget to check out the new Kevin James movie, Too Fat to Be Fit But Fitter Than Before. Coming to theaters nationwide September 13th.

Q: Ummm, thanks. As I was saying, we have also seen women fighting in the UFC of late, what has been your take on it so far?
Joe: These are some tough chicks. These aren't two hot chicks just rolling around. This is skilled fighters displaying great technique. Ronda vs Liz was an exciting fight and it has continued to be exciting since then.
Mike: Ronda Rousey is the pound for pound best fighter in the sport. She gets those chokes...
Joe: Arm bars.
Mike: Exactly! She gets them and makes people tap out. When she fought Liz Carmouche, the place was electric.

Q: Joe, you have been vocal about both new gloves or something to help prevent eye pokes as well as the fighters needing to use the Thai cups to prevent low blows hurting so much.
Joe: Yeah, it is crazy how many low blows and eye pokes we have seen. It is dangerous.
Mike: Exactly!

Q: I guess the other big title fight is the Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson fight. Any thoughts on that one?
Mike: Johnny "Bones" Jones is the best pound for pound fighter in the world right now. This is a big step up for Gustafsson.
Joe: Jones has such technique. His technique makes him hard to beat. Gustafsson is a young fighter with nothing to lose and has good technique to. He is a savage and could be a threat to Jones.
Mike: This interview is brought to you by Harley Davidson, the only motorcycle fit to be in the Octagon.

Q: They are actually not sponsoring this interview?
Mike: Sorry, I didn't hear you, I am having a Bud Light, the official beer of the UFC.

Q: I do want to briefly talk about the last two champs to defend, first Demetrious Johnson, he
Joe: Is the fastest guy in the UFC. He is so fast, it's like you see him and then you don't. His technique is incredible. He is cleaning out the division.
Mike: Mighty Mouse may be the best pound for pound fighter in the sport.
Joe: You have said that about a lot of people.
Mike: Exactly!

Q: Also, Jose Aldo, he just beat the Korean Zombie. What did you think of his performance?
Joe: Aldo is a savage. His leg kicks are brutal. Who can forget what he did to people like Urijah Faber. He just throws those leg kicks over and over and you can't stop it.
Mike: Jose Aldo is...

Q: The pound for pound best fighter?
Mike: Exactly!

Q: Well guys, I want to thank you for taking the time out to talk, anything you want to add before we wrap it up?
Joe: Are we done with this thing?
Mike: This broadcast has been brought to you by...

Q: It's not a broadcast.
Mike: Exactly!