Name: Sarah McLeod
Status (Pro/Ammy): Amateur
Club/Gym: Training out of Mid-America Martial Arts, in Omaha Nebraska.
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Fight weight: 115lbs
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What is your profession?
I’m a 23 year old amateur fighter from Vancouver, Canada, training out of Mid-America Martial Arts in Omaha, Nebraska. I’m a full-time student at the University of Omaha Nebraska. I’m taking a pre-law studies program and majoring in political science.
Have you always been an athlete? What sports have you been involved in?
As a child I was extremely athletic. I competed in long distance running; I was on every team sport at school; and I was #1 in the BC provincial tennis rankings for 5+ years. Throughout high-school, I was fairly inactive, except for 2 years of rugby.
What got you into fighting?
In 2009, I set a goal to start working out so that I could compete at a bikini competition. Working out became a positive outlet for me through the stresses of school and life. After a year of strength and conditioning at my local weight-room, I was considering MMA as the next challenge. Without any training in fighting, I was randomly offered a fight. I had 12 days to hit pads and study some YouTube jiu-jitsu videos, before fighting in front of 1200 people at a televised event. The fight was a draw, we won fight of the night, and I fell in love with the sport!
Can you tell us a little about your competition history? What fight/competition has been the most meaningful to you?
In 2010, I built my amateur MMA record to 2-2-1 without any formal training. My training consisted of weightlifting and cardio at the local weigh-room. In January 2011, I joined my first MMA gym; Mid-America Martial Arts in Omaha, Nebraska. Since then, I’ve been competing in Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu tournaments to improve my technique for MMA. I recently won the 2011 Ring Wars Muay Thai Winter Nationals and I’m excited to participate in Summer Nationals this June, before my next MMA fight in July. Every fight is so meaningful to me and I love the challenge of each one.
Please tell us something about your training routine.
My training consists of lots of pad work, sparring and conditioning.
What is a typical day like for you?
I do strength and conditioning in the morning with my coach Bret Carter at Endless Possibilities, then Jiu-jitsu training at Mid-America Martial Arts. My day hours are for school and homework, before going back to Mid-America Martial Arts for Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu evening classes.
What do you enjoy most about the fighting lifestyle? Least?
I enjoy pushing myself past limits to become a stronger person both mentally and physically. I love all of my teammates and coaches who work together on our journey to better ourselves, and I love every challenge that the fighting lifestyle offers me.
What do you do when you’re not in the gym? Hobbies?
My day hours are reserved for school and homework. When I’m out of school, I love running outside and I enjoy reading new-age books at the bookstore.
What is something that people would be surprised to find out about you?
Most people are surprised that a pretty girl loves to fight- but George St. Pierre is pretty, so there’s really no difference.
What did your friends/family say about you fighting? Are they supportive?
My family was hesitant to support my long-term goals as a fighter when I didn’t train at an MMA gym. They always believe in me and my potential, but I had to work hard to help them understand just how committed I am to becoming the best in the sport! They have been behind me for every fight, and they continue to do so even more, now that I’m training full-time at Mid-America Martial Arts. My friends are like brothers and sisters and they have supported me in anything I set my mind to. I have great people in my life and their positive energy gives me a lot of power.
Anything you’d like to say to help educate new female fight fans?
MMA is a reflection of life; sometimes we get hit with things we don’t like and we have the choice to give up or stay strong. We are all fighters in the battle of life, and I think it’s important to encourage both men and women to challenge ourselves every day. We need to push past our limits to understand how truly powerful we are. MMA is a chess game that helps us to improve the mind, body and soul.
What do you see in the future of women’s MMA?
Women’s MMA is expanding very fast, and it will continue to do so. There is a huge pool of talented female fighters, and we are soon to get the recognition that we deserve. So many great people are working together to build up women’s MMA and I’m grateful to be a part of that movement.
What are your goals in the sport? Goals outside of fighting?
My goal for 2011 is to focus on becoming a very technical fighter, and I hope to compete as a professional in late 2012. Outside of fighting, my goal is to finish my degree and get into law school. An important life goal for me is to set a positive example for women and to encourage women to train or compete in MMA.
What advice do you have for a woman who told you she wanted to start fighting?
Join an MMA gym and start training. Fighting is not about beating your opponent; it’s about improving yourself as a person. It’s about pushing past your physical and mental barriers. It’s about the challenge! There is no reason why only men should enjoy this privilege and we need to break this mold. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Male or female, we can do anything that we set our mind to!
FUN MISC FACTS:
Favorite fighter? Zoila Frausto, Miesha Tate
What’s ALWAYS in your IPOD? Tool
Favorite cheat food? Vanilla ice cream
Least favorite exercise? Box jumps
Most common gym outfit? Yoga pants/capris
Heros? My teammates and coaches
Any pre-fight rituals? A Monster energy drink
If I wasn’t fighting, I wish I could: Help the women and children in third world countries
If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be: Thailand
Any special shout outs? Is there anyone you’d like to thank or promote?
I would like to thank all of my coaches and teammates from Mid-America Martial Arts, Bret Carter from Endless Possibilities, Ryan Stoddard from Relentless Management, and all of my friends and family. I am so grateful for all the positive people in my life.