Rousey’s Defeat Makes Her a New Kind of Hero

There was a fighter, undefeated for a long time, super confident and borderline arrogant. They said humiliating and disrespectful things to opponents in the build-up to fights and turned every press event or weigh-in into a circus. They taunted and disrespected opponents after beating them. The fighter was hated by most of the media, as well as most of the public.

Sound familiar? It should.

Muhammed Ali is considered to be the greatest boxer to have ever lived. He transcended the sport of boxing to become a household name. His antics were looked down on and hated. His remarks were disrespectful in a time of controversial tension.

Much like Muhammed Ali – Ronda Rousey has paved the way for how women are viewed in sports.  Argue all you want about loving or hating Ronda.  Love her, hate her, boo or cheer her, Ronda gets you to pay attention. If it wasn’t for her, women wouldn’t be main and co-main on a major fight card. She made you care about a women’s division that just wasn’t quite marketable. I don’t just get fed what the media puts out – Rousey is a true trailblazer who completes the epitome of “carrying the torch for others.”

aliholm vs rousey

Once the fight began and Holm began landing punches, I saw something in her face I’d never seen before: self-doubt. And maybe even fear. I was instantly connected to her, not only as an athlete, but as a human. By the end of that brutal first round I knew that this would be the end of the fairy tale. The rest was a blur of devastating punches, splattered blood and, eventually, the kick that would end it all. Rousey’s career and influence stands to be forever changed by this stunning defeat. But not in the way you might think.

Now she has the chance to be a whole new kind of hero. No longer an unstoppable, alien force in a class of her own, Rousey can become something far more important: a truly human champion with whom we all can identify. One with vulnerabilities like ours, who will have to work to overcome a public setback on her way back to dominance. I’ll draw inspiration in spades from a champion who can show me how to overcome adversity with grace, grit and determination. Her most important victory is still to come.

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Rousey vs. Holm: Every Fight Begins With a Revolution

Ronda Rousey will put her bantamweight title belt on the line this Saturday against undefeated challenger Holly Holm in UFC 193. Rousey is 12-0-0, and her last fight — a TKO over Bethe Correia on Aug. 1 — lasted just 34 seconds. Holm is 9-0-0, and in most of her fights has KO her opponent with her striking (either kick or punch).

This fight is a bit different from the Correia fight. There is no bad blood. There is no tension between the two opponents. But make no mistake, each dog in the fight has something to work toward. This is what I like more about this match-up. No media and press are calling this a “cat fight.” No personal vendettas. This is an all out battle of two highly-respected athletes.

Holm has been quoted as saying that sports create an undefeated champion so that they can be challenged. Whereas, Rousey acknowledges that Holm is the most decorated boxer, but this is MMA. So let’s breakdown each fighter.

Rousey vs. Holm

HOLM

Advantages:

  • Much heavier hands
  • Incorporates strong kicks
  • Taller

Holm leads with her kicks and keeps her distance from her opponent. Once she is inside she generally throws hard 1-2’s to knock her opponent onto the wall of the cage or down. She controls the center of the octagon against most of her opponents and does not chase her opponent, especially not to the mat.

ROUSEY

Advantages:

  • Fast finishes (arm bar…need I say more?)
  • Much better submission offense
  • Longer winning streak
  • Younger
  • Better submission defense
  • Stronger jaw
  • Puts up a fight

Rousey has what I call “intangibles.” She is a dynamic fighter – on all levels. Not only is she better on the offense and a more aggressive fighter overall. She doesn’t wait. She doesn’t hesitate. She attacks. I think this will be a shock to Holm who honestly won’t know how to handle it. She is unlikely to win by decision or knockout, but a submission seems very possible since this is her strongest asset especially against Holm. Now do we think this fight will fit into the length of an Instagram video once again? With Rousey – it’s possible.

VERDICT: Rousey || 1st Round Submission – by arm bar or triangle choke submission

Haymakers for Hope – Belles of the Brawl – October 7, 2015: VIDEO 

It’s hard to believe that this was a month ago. It feels like it was a year but then it also feels like it was just yesterday. All the moments of training, conditioning – it all came down to this.

As I watch the video, I obviously critique every move, every angle. There are things I can clean up. There are movements that need to be sharpened.

I will keep working. But most importantly I will keep fighting… Details to come. 

|| See you in the ring ||

AK47

Thank You

Thank you. This may be the first time on the blog that I’ve ever struggled to find the correct words. There were always weeks that a Friday would come too soon and I would scramble to write a post or feel repetitive in the process of telling my story. This week I can honestly say I’m speechless. 

Thank you to my coaches and trainers at Everybody Fights. You inspire me to represent a gym that believes in each and every member no matter what their journey may be. Everyone truly fights for something they believe in, something they want to prove, and something inside themselves. You may not be aware but every word spoken and every action that takes place inside the gym inspires each member and builds our community from the inside.

The outpouring of support, kind words, messages of inspiration, love, admiration… I don’t think any day will ever compare. I know some girls dream of their wedding day living up to that expectation, but I now know that this will far surpass it. {Sorry in advance wherever you are, Future Husband} In this moment in time, I was able to be in the one percent of women. That one percent of women that are intangible. I felt powerful. I felt strong. I felt in control. I was queen of my kingdom. 

Recap:

Monday and Tuesday seemed to creep by slower than usual as Wednesday approached. I was calm. Keeping my emotions even throughout each day. When I made an appearance at the gym I was told I had “ice in my veins.” I was ready. There’s nothing more I could’ve done in that moment that would have made me better inside the ring. I did the hard part. I put in the work. 

Wednesday. My body ever so used to being on a schedule woke me up at 5:00am for a workout that was not taking place. I laid in bed and watched “The Wonder Years” on Netflix {huge crush on Kevin Arnold; wanted to be Winnie Cooper}. After an emotional episode called “Daddy’s Little Girl” when the eldest, Karen, goes off to college – the waterworks began. My Dad and I are very close. This hit home. It was the only time I allowed myself to feel that before my fight. No other waste of emotion would happen. I found myself turning to that moment of feeling and using it to fuel me. 

Weight. I woke up – weighed in on the dot. 125. Hallelujah! Now just to maintain all day… Great (insert sarcasm). I ate chia seeds and water to help fill me up and headed to the grocery store with a stop along the way to get iced coffee. I mean, even Ronda Rousey can’t cut coffee out of the diet. Now, the grocery store when you’re starving. Hell on Earth. Alas – I got eat whatever I wanted after weigh in. I needed to fuel my body properly. No buffalo chicken wings – those were for post fight! I researched what nutritionists said were the best food groups. I went with solid choices: peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, orange slices, dark chocolate, organic and all natural beef jerky, and homemade PB&J energy balls. Liquids: Pedialyte and Gatorade {not just for hangovers people}. 

Time to pack. I was the last fight so I came heavily prepared. One pre-fight mix that was more music I grew up on and then one that came on before the fight. I brought “The Bible” aka “My Fight/Your Fight” by Ronda Rousey. My folded pages of inspiring quotes and pictures felt like they would pop off the page and become reality in a few short hours. I even brought my hockey stick and a golf ball to play around in the hallways with. 

It was time. My teammate Jordan had just gotten the 4th win for our team and I was beginning to warm up in the back stage hallway. Every slip of a punch came with a jab to the body, triple jabs up top, left hook, hard right hand, or a combo of all. Each punch thrown – I felt power. I was ready. I was determined. 

Entrance. I entered the ring and everything around me motivated me. The ring card women – cancer survivors. My friends and family all showing their support by cheering as loud as possibl and wearing their AK47 shirts. My entrance song blaring over the speakers. Everything was white noise to what I was focused on across the ring. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I wanted to look into her eyes and strip everything out of her. Her breath. Her will. Her soul. This was technically a cage and I was ready to unleash the wild animal. 

  

The first bell rang and I claimed my territory. I remember the first punch that she landed and it sent me into a spiral. My feet and fists didn’t stop moving. Then all of a sudden it was the third round… I wanted to leave everything in the ring. Just like training I did not want to question whether I could’ve done anything different. The first thirty seconds in. I brought multiple left jabs to her nose and felt a crack when my glove impacted. I saw blood and my Jaws instinct came out. Keep punching her nose. For survival against a shark this is what you do but also being a shark you keep attacking when blood is in the water. Her legs felt wobbly when I began to throw my right hook. She was drowning and the next moment the ref saved her with a standing eight count. She passed the test but it was the last minute that I knew would count. Then the final 10 seconds came quick. I threw everything I had left. My legs gassed. My arms like wet spaghetti noodles. Ding ding. 

All I could think about was how hard she worked as well. What we were here to really fight. Not each other. But cancer. We were a team too. Raising over $15,000 between just the two of us. I gave her a hug and said I was proud that she was my opponent, she’s an excellent fighter, and she did a great job. She walked away not returning compliments but I understood. I had been there before. Defeat. I can honestly say it’s my least favorite emotion. It’s crushing. Walking to her corner with her I tapped my gloves with her coaches. When walking back to my corner, I saw two things. My trainer and my brother in the crowd. Both proud. Now let’s get these gloves off and head gear off of me please. 

  

 My story has all been told. First fight – check it off. But I was asked the question: how much better is life when you have a day circled on the calendar? How much better is life when you have a team of people on your side helping you reach a goal, train, bringing nothing but positive energy and feedback into your life? My life continues to be about passion and purpose. With this new passion – I’ve found purpose. 

Return to the ring?

Definitely. I’ve come this far might as well keep going with what I love to do. Boxing…MMA. We will see what comes natural to this fighter. 

|| See you in the ring ||

AK47

Final Countdown

In one of my first posts I spoke about being a fighter and how it takes passion. I said:

“I have so much passion, it’s hard to hold in.”

This couldn’t be a more valid statement to this day. The passion I had on day one has only transformed and morphed over time. Boxing is my passion. I knew that this experience – training for my first fight – was going to be a long process. I knew that the long nights, early mornings, and sore muscles would be hard to take. But my passion grew with every 10:00PM night punching heavy bags and jumping rope, every 4:45AM alarm that went off, and every sore muscle (some I didn’t even know I had).

I love the person that I have become because I fought to become her.

I don’t think others understand or comprehend. People ask me, “Aren’t you excited for this fight to be done so you can be normal again?” My response, “What’s normal? I love what I do and I wouldn’t be committed to this unless I was passionate about it.”

It’s consumed me. Every book, movie, documentary, TV show that pertained to it; I wanted to absorb. I still want to. It’s my purpose to take this passion and turn it into purpose. I often think your purpose in life is not to be happy, but to leave the world a better place.

When you are as passionate as I am, it’s like a force to be reckoned with. Nature. So just like the hurricane that is headed for the East Coast, my passion rumbles as the days dwindle. And I continue to remember… Once you’re a fighter, you’re always a fighter.

|| See you in the Ring || Buy tickets/donate now!

AK47

Weighing In

I have always been passionate about food. Ever since I was old enough, I wanted to be in the kitchen with my mom. It’s some of my best memories. Whether doing the dishes, licking the beaters from a fresh batch of cookies or brownies, or prepping vegetables for dinner that night.

I consider myself a self-proclaimed chef. I enjoy cooking. I like taking a recipe and making it my own. My loved ones and friends I’ve cooked for will tell you two things:

  1. I never run out of food if I’m the hostess. {This may be my biggest fear in life}
  2. I never make the same recipe more than twice.

So this brings me to my dilemma. I have struggled with balancing my weight for years. Unless I am consistently working out. This is the common denominator in my struggle. On top of always being active; that typically comes with the “Oh I just worked out, I can have the biggest brunch meal ever…Plus a Bloody Mary and a few mimosas.”

Not this time.

As I am finishing my last couple weeks of training. I am realizing all the important factors that make me a better (and more skilled) boxer. It matters just as much what I do outside of the ring as it does inside the ring. Sleep. Food. Exercise. Stress. Which is why, I started a diet plan over a week ago.

I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in, but the scale doesn’t lie. Everyone tells me “Muscle weighs more than fat,” but I am feeling frustrated as any fighter does when they step on the scale and don’t see results. I am a few pounds over my target weight now. I’m not alone; SO many fighters look dreadful on the scales because they are so dehydrated when they weigh in for their fight. I hate restrictions and I hate diets. BUT – I am following The Dolce Diet. “You eat earth grown nutrients, real food procured from this planet, unmolested by man or corporate greed.” Eating every 2-3 hours and extreme discipline about not only what food you’re eating but where your food comes from.

I took pictures of some of the meals I have eaten over the past week or so to keep myself accountable and to document and show what it takes to not only train like a fighter, but to fuel your body in the proper way.

|| See you in the ring ||

AK47

Breakfast

Breakfast Bowl My absolute favorite thing to have in the morning!
Breakfast Bowl
My absolute favorite thing to have in the morning!
Sunnyside Eggs & Greens -1 or 2 eggs -kale, baby spinach mix -dress the greens with grapeseed oil and lemon juice
Sunnyside Eggs & Greens
-1 or 2 eggs
-kale, baby spinach mix
-dress the greens with grapeseed oil and lemon juice
Oats & Berries Smoothie -blueberries -strawberries -orange -banana -uncooked oat bran or buckwheat -almond milk -ground flaxseed
Oats & Berries Smoothie
-blueberries
-strawberries
-orange
-banana
-uncooked oat bran or buckwheat
-almond milk
-ground flaxseed
-2 eggs -peppers -onions -spinach -mushrooms
-2 eggs
-peppers
-onions
-spinach
-mushrooms

Lunch

Zucchini Black Bean & Portabella Mushroom Quesadilla -black beans -zucchini -Ezekiel wrap (you can do GF or whole wheat, too) -Cabot aged cheddar
Zucchini Black Bean & Portabella Mushroom Quesadilla
-black beans
-zucchini
-Ezekiel wrap (you can do GF or whole wheat, too)
-Cabot aged cheddar
Tuna Salad -1 can of tuna in water -onion -celery -spicy mustard -hard boiled eggs
Tuna Salad
-1 can of tuna in water
-onion
-celery
-spicy mustard
-hard boiled eggs
Champion Chili -organic ground turkey -diced tomatoes -kidney beans -red & green peppers -onion -garlic -chili powder
Champion Chili
-organic ground turkey
-diced tomatoes
-kidney beans
-red & green peppers
-onion
-garlic
-chili powder
Warm Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl -quinoa -peppers -chickpeas -14 cherry tomatoes
Warm Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl
-quinoa
-peppers
-chickpeas
-14 cherry tomatoes

Dinner

Honey Glazed Salmon -wild caught Alaskan salmon drizzle w honey or agave -asparagus (steamed) -sweet potato
Honey Glazed Salmon
-wild caught Alaskan salmon drizzle w honey or agave
-asparagus (steamed)
-sweet potato
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers -peppers -quinoa: mix in spinach, black beans, celery, onions, mushrooms, garlic & pecans
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
-peppers
-quinoa: mix in spinach, black beans, celery, onions, mushrooms, garlic & pecans
Chicken, Mushroom, Asparagus Stir-Fry -chicken breast -asparagus (about 20 stalks) -portabella mushrooms -very little low sodium teriyaki sauce -garlic
Chicken, Mushroom, Asparagus Stir-Fry
-chicken breast
-asparagus (about 20 stalks)
-portabella mushrooms
-very little low sodium teriyaki sauce
-garlic
Thoro-Breaded
Thoro-Breaded “Fried” Chicken with brussel sprouts and sweet potato

Snacks

Avocado Toast -Ezekiel Toast (GF or whole wheat is fine too!) -half an avocado -hemp seeds -chia seeds
Avocado Toast
-Ezekiel Toast (GF or whole wheat is fine too!)
-half an avocado
-hemp seeds
-chia seeds
-chia seeds -mango -kiwi -Greek yogurt (either Fage or Cabot) -unsweetened coconut flakes
-chia seeds
-mango
-kiwi
-Greek yogurt (either Fage or Cabot)
Apple & Chia Yogurt -0% Fage yogurt -1/2 of an apple -chia seeds
Apple & Chia Yogurt
-0% Fage yogurt
-1/2 of an apple
-chia seeds
Gram's Baked Apples Sometimes you have a sweet tooth... -4 large apples -almond milk -Saigon cinnamon -nutmeg -Vermont maple syrup -raisins
Gram’s Baked Apples
Sometimes you have a sweet tooth…
-4 large apples
-almond milk
-Saigon cinnamon
-nutmeg
-Vermont maple syrup
-raisins

Are You Ready?

“Are you ready?”

This is a question I’ve been asked upwards of 100 times by now as the weeks, more like days, draw near. Friends, family, coworkers, fellow Club members who have watched me progress from BoxFiit regular to standing in the ring on my own all ask the same question with the same level of exciting inquisition.

My answer is the same each time.

“Yes, I’m prepared.”

The truth is I am prepared. I have enjoyed working to become better in every sense of the word when it comes to boxing. I’ve done countless runs, lifting workouts, Fight Club, footwork, sparring, Bags and Body, spin classes, and BoxFiit. You name it and I’ve done it. I mean, I threw up at my workout last night…But was it enough? I have a small (the tiniest) voice asking myself if everything I have done to prepare is enough. I consider a few days a wash when I was mentally too tired to comprehend what I was doing, too sore to get up in the morning, sick, busy with work…excuses can go on and on.

From here, I have less than 19 days to knockout (pun intended) that voice. I am a fighter. A brawler. And now I have exactly 19 days | 456 hours | 27,360 minutes to fight for what is mine. I will do whatever it takes to make sure my hand is raised at the end of the fight. 

So now it’s my turn to ask. Are YOU ready?

BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW OR DONATE

Show Me My Opponent

“I am Allison Kemon. I am queen of my kingdom. I will not let anyone come into my kingdom and reign. Repeat after me.”

These words were recanted to me by my trainer. Repeated three times as he wrapped my hands. This ritual continued with each hand. I normally wrap my own hands but as they shook with anxious energy, I looked to Edwin to calm my nerves.

I stood at ringside at The Club like I have so many times. Hands wrapped. Headgear on. But this time was different. I step inside the ring. Light shadow boxing with just 1’s and 2’s. I awaited my opponents arrival.

She and her team step ringside and converse. I stop what I am doing immediately and just stare. Never taking my eyes off of her for even a moment. I compare myself to a lioness watching and waiting in the grass of the Serengeti.

Deep inhales and exhales are the only thing that calm me down. Even though I compare myself with a lioness, I felt more like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I was ready, but the wait was killing me. It was the anticipation of attack.

She stepped inside the ring and I immediately brought my full focus on her only to be interrupted by Edwin saying I need my gloves and mouth guard in. As I put my last “accessories” on {you know, girls love to accessorize an outfit}, Edwin said “What are you thinking?” Without skipping a beat I said, “WWRD?” He look confused either because he couldn’t understand me talking with my mouthguard in or I didn’t bother to explain. I turned my back and looked back to the opposite corner, where my opponent stood. A banged my gloves together, almost as a territorial warning sound.

And so it began… my first and last time I would spar my opponent before October 7th. The video camera began to roll and claimed the center of the ring.

I won’t give away what happens next because well, it’s a charity event and I want you to buy tickets { DUH }.

Knowing I have an opponent. A date set. I have seen what she has in the ring. Makes everything all real. So I begin to think back to what I said to Edwin… “WWRD?”

What. Would. Ronda. Do?”

Well, I am not a professional MMA fighter, so I can’t do exactly what she does since I have a job and I am not getting paid to fight. But I will tell you – I have been training two times a day, lifting, running, cycling, punching, jabbing, hooking… you name it. I’ve been making it happen. If I am sore, tired or just not mentally there, I think not only WWRD but also what is my opponent doing. I think the best of her – she is probably doing twice as much work as me. Because you have got to respect your opponent.

No one is easy until after you beat them.

I am preparing for battle. I am preparing for war. Shannon better get her armor.

|| See you in the ring ||

AK47

Patience vs. Frustration

Less than two months. October 7 is quickly approaching.

Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” Wow. Was he right? As a fighter you come to terms with it. Not everything is easy. This is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. Otherwise everyone would be doing it.

These last couple weeks were tough. I couldn’t put in as much work at the gym. I couldn’t grasp some of the footwork and skill concepts. On top of all that, work was absolutely consuming me. I wasn’t focused on training and I wasn’t focused on work. My brain was trying so hard to be in two places at once. It wasn’t working. I felt frustrated. It was the first time I felt that way through training…and it didn’t feel great.

The speed bag – aka the “patience bag” – as my trainer Edwin has now named it in my defense or to humor me – I am unsure which…was giving me the worst time. I had absolutely no patience for the “patience bag.” I had multiple trainers telling me different tactics and how they learned. Each had a different theory. Each had a different experience with it. It reminds me of the scene below in Million Dollar Baby

I began to realize that I had no confidence and I was doubting my ability. No confidence = No patience. 

So I begin my theory about the speed bag. Practice. Practice. Practice. The movement is not what I am used to with boxing. Your elbows are away from your rib cage, your hands away from your face. I began with just one hand and listened to the slow beat…1, 2, 3…1, 2, 3. STOP. Start again. I stayed at the gym until 10:00PM every night until the pace got quicker 123123123123. I was determined to gain my confidence back and to gain patience back.

I stay determined.

Most days I am as sore as I am blonde. After training I step into the shower, letting the water pour down on me. Then I adopt my fighting stance and shadowbox in the shower, throwing punches at water droplets.

Tomorrow, I will be better. I gain confidence. I gain patience. With every punch I throw and every speed bag I hit.

I imagine this is how the fight versus cancer goes. You have your ups & downs. You have your days you feel like you can take on anything and anyone and then the next day, week, or year you can’t imagine going forward. I fight for others feeling this way day in and day out. I can’t imagine feeling like this. I didn’t want to feel like this so I kept going. That is what I hope to instill in others.

|| See you in the ring ||

AK47

Why I Fight.

Fighting is not a sport—it’s a spirit and philosophy. Fighting is agony and ecstasy. It builds you up and tears you down. It’s polar opposites and brings out the best and worst in people.

“You have cancer // Your child has cancer” is something no one should have to hear.

I am fighting for those who live everyday fighting their battle with cancer. I am fighting for those that NEVER give up.

I am fighting for the patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who touched my life while I had the wonderful opportunity to work in fundraising and event planning for their very special hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. I heard amazing stories and saw miracles happen just off of Beale Street. The hospital is a special kind of place; with some very special little fighters. While I worked there, I learned that St. Jude is really like no other research hospital. No family ever sees a bill. For anything. I fondly remember and I am reminded of each patient I got the chance to meet. I especially think of one little girl in particular who always wanted to play sports with her older brother. She reminded me of myself. She was a fighter and not just because she was fighting cancer, but because she was determined to show others she was going to excel anyways and live the life she wanted, not how anyone told her to live.

I am fighting for every daughter, mother, grandmother, aunt that has been touched with breast cancer. It is the second most diagnosed cancer and I’ve had multiple friends, family friends, and friends of friends that have experienced personal battles with breast cancer. It is becoming increasingly more prevalent in my life. Which is scary in and of itself. I am fighting for my roommate’s mom, Suzanne Williams, who lost her battle with breast cancer just a few weeks ago. Jackie really said it best – her mom beat cancer by how she lived. I hope to make her family proud in the ring on October 7th in her memory.

I want to make a difference. I want to leave a piece of something behind. I want to make sure that the research and treatment done with the money means something to me and something to others.

Yes, I want to win my fight, but I also want others to win as well. Help me fight like a girl in the ring and others fight and battle every day to live. Click the link below to donate.

Belles of the Brawl || Allison Kemon

|| See you in the Ring ||

AK 47