Monday, April 7, 2008

5 Questions With A Professional MMA Fighter

Nicknamed Whiplash, Debi Purcell is one of the most prominent women in Mixed Martial Arts. Her long career includes groundbreaking work for women in the sport of MMA as well as being the first woman to win at the King of the Cage competition. Now working toward making MMA more accessible to women, Debi mentors other fighters, is launching a clothing line, continues to train, and maintains the website Debi slowed down for a moment to answer my five questions:

1. You're in amazing shape - tell me what your routine consists of day-to-day. How does that change when you prepared for competitions?

I talk a lot! (laughs) Actually, regardless of what is going on I always train at least once per day at 10:00 am. For my second workout I mix it up every day – swim, run, run hill, box, Muay Thai. When I have a fight I step up the cardio and change up to focus more on MMA.

2. What is the most difficult part about MMA-style fighting? What is your favorite type of fighting? Which are you most proficient in? Least favorite/not so good at?

The most difficult part is when I'm training – I hate cardio! I love fighting, but hate cardio. My favorite art changes all of the time. I've loved stand up and then loved the ground. Right now I'm loving boxing and working with Genaro Hernandez. My proficiency is everything equally – which is my biggest strength. I'm well rounded and don't have a least favorite.

3. Who were your biggest influences in getting involved in MMA? Who do you consider to be the "icons" of the sport? On the same note, who do you admire now and who should we be watching out for in the future?

Marco Ruas has been the biggest influence and who I consider to be an icon as well. Other icons have to be Frank Shamrock, Vandelay Silvia, and Kashusi Sacaraba. Some up-and-comers that you should be watching for include Erin Webb, Casey Blasco, Jessica Pene, and Kathy Brothers - who is a BJJ icon and coming out of retirement to shake things up!

4. Could you tell me your inspiration and mission behind your website? What do you hope to accomplish and what can we expect in the future?

When I started there was literally no support for women's MMA. I really wanted to build the sport and make a difference. I'm the type of person that does something when I see a need. Marco put so much into my training that I needed to give back. We have been online for eight years now and have had a lot of great people helping out to get this thing out there. I really want women's MMA to be taken seriously the way men's MMA is.

5. Speaking of the future, I know you do some coaching of other fighters, is this where you plan to focus your efforts? What should we watch for from Debi Purcell in the future?

I'll definitely be coaching and managing fighters. I've been focusing a lot on the business side even though I am still fighting. I'm also trying to get my clothing line going on top of that. The main thing is getting a women's league going where we can be taken seriously. There's a lot of "cat fights" now that are all the rage but this is not real, serious fighting. I want to build a place where women have a league of their own where they can compete.


Lindsay said...

I really like when you write about women's sports and when you interview female athletes, especially posts like this one because it's less common to read and hear about women involved in martial arts.

Apryl DeLancey said...

Thank you Lindsay! I really try to find more women to interview as much as possible! I don't always get interviews with those I seek out, but I keep on trying! I appreciate the feedback very much.