|Michigan USA – Aoife (rear, right) training with Invicta fighters at Scorpiion Fighting System Team SFS|
When male fighters grow up big and tall, promoters rub their hands with glee. But for Aoife Murphy standing at 1.83m or bang on six foot is simply a problem.
The small number of women doing MMA globally can be seen in the constant calls for top fighters to drop weight or eat a lot to meet Ronda Rousey. In Ireland where athletic women are pushed towards teamsports – Murphy used to play GAA football, the problem is acute.
So she fights across amateur boxing, kickboxing and now MMA at C-Mac MMA to keep her hand in.
Chatting on the phone the other day, the Dubliner said: ‘I started in Kickboxing but I wanted to do it all. I wanted to have a go at MMA, I was game to try something else. They’re just different – MMA you can slow the pace with grappling, kickboxing you have to step in.
‘I love the striking and the grappling- I’ll go in the cage, in the ring, on the mats. I hate being inactive.’
Her fight record of two wins, one loss in MMA; four wins, one loss in Kickboxing and two wins, one loss in amateur boxing is across 70 to 78kgs. I winced at the thought of cutting and dicing your body like that.
“Friends look at my lunch-box and they’re like: ‘are you feeding a rabbit?’ I prepare it all on my day off, do the groceries and cook. The fridge is full of Tupperware, you have to be a well-oiled machine.
“I walk around at 80kgs, so it’s a big cut for me. I wouldn’t eat badly but I am inclined to put on weight.”
Aoife’s boyfriend Paul O’ Brien fights too, so at least there’s no-one scoffing chocolate cake around her. And working as a hairdresser gives her chance to share her knowledge.
She said: “It opens their eyes to what you don’t see about MMA; the fitness, the health. It’s great.”
And there is one advantage to being so tall.
“Aisling Daly is the most well-known Irish woman doing MMA. There’s so few of us, we tend to band together. We’re miles away from each other in weight and height, well clear of each other. I saw her fighting when I was starting, now we train together sometimes,” Aoife said.
|Aoife (in pink) with the growing number of women training at C-Mac MMA in Dublin.|
More to come from this interview!