Steel Fist Fights has up the ante as they will feature four female fights at their 10th event this Saturday in Salt Lake City. Among them is the debuting Carissa Westlund , who will take on fellow debuting fighter Palen Cornell.
We talked to Westlund about her debut and entering into the sport.
Wombat Sports: How did you start in MMA?
Carissa Westlund: I originally started modeling with MMA fighters back in Oct. of 2011. I started going to a lot of the SteelFist and WCFC fights. I was very intrigued.
I have a disabled brother who is 30 with an extremely rare disease called Maple Syrup Urine Disease, and I grew up always physically defending him. So over the course of my life I’ve been in a lot of street fights and thought I have such a support system in the MMA world why not keep myself out of trouble and join?
On top of that my opponent and I have some bad blood so I offered her to jump into the cage.
Wombat: What was the roughest part of training for your first fight?
Westlund: The roughest part of training had to be proving myself to my team, and my coaches that I was serious about this and not just going to half ass it just so I could fight someone because I’d love to make a career out of this I LOVE IT!
W.S.: This seems to be the time to be a female fighter. How are you seeing this opportunity to compete in MMA?
C.W.: It definitely is the time to be a female fighter. 4 of the 8 female fighters on the August 11th card are my teammates, and I couldn’t have asked to train with a better group of Bad Ass Bitches (BABS) as we’re called.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity that we are getting not only as fighters but as women to get into the ring and to prove that’s it’s not just a mans sport any longer. It takes a whole lot of courage, commitment, blood, sweat and bruises, but not tears because we’re too tough to cry, to get into that cage in front of thousands of people for the love of a sport.
As women fighters, at least a few I know, get a bad reputation for fighting. Not only is there a stigma about it for one that we’re females but for two that most of us are mothers. I honestly believe if it’s your passion go for it head first and see what comes of it.
W.S.: Anyone you’d like to thank?
C.W.: I have a few people to thank. First and foremost my family for the support that they’ve given me, helping to watch my kids so I can train hard everyday. My kids for helping me remember that there’s more to life than living with fear of the unknown.
My other family Leo Leon and his wife Gina Leon, they’ve been two of my biggest supporters since day one and have completely encouraged me to get into fighting. They took me under their wing a year ago as a new model and now as their first female fighter/model.
To my coaches Professor Michael Hermasillo, Kru John Valentine, the rest of the BABS team Julie “She HUlk” Winter, Aubree “The Silent Assassin” Thompson, Rachel “The Riot” Kemker, Buffy “Chick Slayer” Ogden, and everyone at Hidden Valley MMA for taking me in as a stranger and accepting me as family.
People’s Mortgage. Kevin and Pat Patton for the amazing opportunity to get into the cage. My dear friends. Last but not least to the amazing men and women that struggle with disabilities who prove to us on a daily basis that there is a reason to strive to keep going and live your dreams two of the most important people in that aspect of my life are my big brother Ryan Merrill, and Jana Murphy.
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