‘Being a mother gives me an advantage’

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There have now been two moms fighting in the UFC – first Cat Zingano, and then Sara McMann. They both won, and both feel being a mother is an advantage in the Octagon.

Ben Fowlkes has the story.

Cat Zingano and son Braden getting a photo taken with Carlos Condit.

There was a moment in Cat Zingano’s UFC debut when she decided she was done getting beaten up.

It came shortly after the horn sounded to end the first round, when her opponent, former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate, pushed off Zingano’s face to get back to her feet.


“That was an insult to me, my family, my training camp and everything I sacrificed to get there,” Zingano told USA TODAY Sports. “After that, I wanted to make sure she remembered me on her face by the time the fight was over.”

“I think being a mother definitely gives me an advantage,” said Zingano, who added that the birth of her now 6-year-old son, Braden, was part of what drove her to pursue her passion for combat sports. “I wanted to do something with my life that he could be proud of, something that would show him the importance of having something you’re passionate about.”

“To call myself a fighter is to be selfish at times. It makes me resent my opponent. That’s motivation I can tap into. When I think about protecting my son and fighting for him, that’s a big threat in a fight. If I can go there, it makes me unstoppable.”

Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann says being a mom is harder than fighting, and that she can be at peace in the cage.

McMann’s 4-year-old daughter, Bella, watched eagerly this weekend as her mother took down German striker Sheila Gaff and pounded her into a first-round TKO stoppage.

“To her, it’s just like, ‘There’s Mom doing what she does,'” McMann said.

After the fight, McMann remarked on how surprised she was at her lack of nerves for her UFC debut. In her role as a mother, however, things are rarely as simple.

“I can be at peace with my career much easier,” she said. “I know what I’m doing there, and I know what I need to do. … But as a mom, you never know if the choices you make are the right ones. It’s harder because there’s no clear right answer.”

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