Former NFL cheerleader finds new passion as MMA fighter
Last year, she was a professional NFL Cheerleader, this year, she is a Mixed Martial
Artist. Why would a Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader want to become a fighter? KCMMA sits down with aspiring MMA fighter Rachel Wray to find out.
Dave Jackson: Obvious first question Rachel. How and Why did you get in this sport? I think we both know that you don’t exactly fit the bill for the stereotypical MMA fighter.
Rachel Wray: 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. 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.
DJ: What do your parents think about you fighting?
RW: Mom hates it and Dad loves it. My mom just doesn’t understand it. She will be there at my first fight but I think she is really nervous.
DJ: What are you wanting to do with this sport?
RW: Right now, I am just going with it. I hope to fight 4-5 times over the next year. Of course, I would like to be good enough to be professional, but that just seems away right now.
DJ: What does it mean for you to be a fighter?
RW: Everyone says “I would never expect you to be a fighter. Being a cheerleader fits you more – Why would you give up cheerleading to roll around with sweaty boys?” Well, I have never enjoyed working out so much in my life. I love fighting and am having so much fun with it. I want to be an inspiration to other girls out there that want to fight but don’t think they can.
DJ: Who inspires you?
RW: Well, my idol is Rhonda Rousey, but I would say my mom is who really inspires me. She is really successful at her job, she is beautiful, and she can still come home and be a great mom. Sometimes I think “she is just too good to be real”. Also, my coach Jason High, really inspires to me. He is such a great fighter and has taught me everything. He always eats healthy, trains, and is just someone I really admire.