Mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and it has generated interest from men and women of all ages. In a historic move for the sport, UFC president Dana White announced last month that women would be allowed in the UFC. That has generated even more buzz for MMA among the female population.
As more and more women enter the world of MMA, we will have intriguing background stories.
It isn’t out of the ordinary to have someone come from the NFL to join mixed martial arts. Multiple male fighters have made the jump, but now there is a woman making the jump from the NFL to MMA — a former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader.
Former Chiefs cheerleader Rachel Wray has decided to give up cheering for professional sports in hopes of pursuing a career in mixed martial arts.
But one has to wonder, what got a woman interested in the switch from cheering to fighting?
“Last year, I was a Chiefs Cheerleader. I have been a cheerleader or dancer my whole life and I moved here from Arkansas to cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs. I started working out at Title Boxing Club with some of the girls for an alternative workout,” Wray said during an interview with KCMMA. “I really enjoyed it and started taking private lessons after a little while. One day, I came in and they wanted me to spar. I was nervous about someone actually punching me in the face, but I did it.
“I was absolutely horrible. This drove me to want it even more. I knew I had to make a choice between fighting and cheerleading. I chose fighting. I trained harder and took more private lessons. In the same shopping center was HDMMA and I wandered in there to see what was going on. Everyone was so nice and just not what I expected from a MMA gym. So, I started training there too. One thing led to another, and now I feel comfortable enough to compete in the cage.”
Wray, who considers striking her strength, will likely face backlash as a woman trying to make it in the sport. While an outsiders opinion likely means nothing to the potential star, you have to question what her parents think of their daughter stepping into a cage and trading punches.
“Mom hates it and Dad loves it. My mom just doesn’t understand it,” Wray said. “She will be there at my first fight but I think she is really nervous.”
Wray was successful in her amateur debut, winning by second-round TKO. Does she have a future in the sport? Only she can make it happen and Wray has done nothing but show the necessary motivation to make her dream come true.
Here is video of Wray’s amateur MMA debut: