As Ronda Rousey has made history being the first female signed into the UFC, Rachel Wray is making history of being the first professional cheerleader making the transition into MMA.
Ever since the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) has made it into the mainstream, more people had started getting into it. With the emergence of female MMA aka “WMMA,” more females are getting into the sport. Recently, MMA fighters Ronda Rousey made history as the first female fighter to be signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) which is the largest professional MMA promotion in the world.
Her first debut UFC fight is set in early 2013 against Liz Carmouche. While anybody can do MMA, it becomes a long, difficult, and highly competitive road to get into the UFC. With MMA in general, it gives athletes a chance to reinvent themselves.
One example would be former NFL player Herschel Walker. He played for various NFL teams such as the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, and the New York Giants. Back in the day, Walker was one of the biggest names in professional American football. He's enjoyed success in MMA with a record of 2 wins and 0 losses.
A big example would be Brock Lesnar, who was at first a professional wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). After leaving the WWE, he became a professional MMA fighter for the UFC. Lesnar enjoyed much success and even became the UFC Heavyweight champion. He even became one of the coaches in one of the past seasons of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
In regards to Ronda Rousey, who vacated her bantamweight title for Strikeforce to join the UFC, she is an Olympic Judoka turned MMA fighter. Rousey won bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
These are examples that athletes can find success transitioning from one sport to MMA. Keep in mind that these are aggressive sports. Still, if you are athletic and are willing to put in the hours of training & conditioning, you can find a level of success in the sport. That includes people that decide to transition from professional cheerleading to MMA. Former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader Rachel Wray is getting publicity as being the first cheerleader to make the transition into MMA.
One might immediately assume she would transition to a ring girl instead of an MMA fighter. But, she's putting in the time to train for the path of the fighter. As a Bleacher Report article says, Wray is trading in her pom-poms for a pair of MMA gloves. If you really want to be an MMA fighter, you have to dedicate your time and effort to this. In the case of Wray, she decided to quit being a cheerleader and seriously walk the path of the fighter.
In an interview with KCMMA, Wray gives the 411 on the transition. Simply put, she trained at the Title Boxing Club in Kansas City as a form of alternative workouts. In a sense, she got hit by the “fighting bug.” She admits to being bad at first; but, it inspired her to fight even more at the boxing gym. It inevitably led her to an MMA school.
Her current MMA training regiment is five nights a week with two hours each night. Wray's training in the common styles of MMA. In short, Wray's being built up from scratch training in Muay Thai, Wrestling, & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Currently, Wray is competing in the amateur leagues at the moment. She's running through the usual gauntlet like any other new fighters. Like any other new MMA fighter, Wray has to compete in a certain number of amateur fights before being able to go professional. After going pro, it depends on which professional promotion will pick her up. In her debut fight, Wray won via a technical knockout. Her 2nd match is scheduled on January 25, 2013 in Kansas City.