The documentary we began filming just over 18 months ago finally made it to TV tonight. (If you missed it, it’s available in the UK on BBC iplayer for the next week). I’d seen it just once before this evening, when Lisa, John and myself sat down with Nick and Dave to watch it through some months back. Both times, it was hard to watch.
The first time I saw it, I had very mixed feelings. It struck me how unhappy I seemed, much of the time. That’s probably a fair representation of the period, though hopefully not of me as a person!
On watching it again last night, though, I liked it a lot more. Nick and Dave from Minnow Films spent the best part of the year following me and Lisa around. They developed a genuine interest in the sport, and the people in it. We’d be sat in a hotel room, or on a plane and Nick would come out with some random question about some fighter or other, or about the rules. By the end of filming, he knew the women’s MMA scene better than I did, and had talked to just about everyone in it. I think that comes across in the final piece. They’ve managed to avoid making judgements, and instead told the story how they saw it. The result is a good reflection of that period of time. Thanks to both.
A lot has changed since it was filmed. The documentary ended at a point where I didn’t really know what was going to happen next. At the time, I wasn’t happy where I was – the personal situation at the gym had become impossible – but at the same time, I felt as though leaving that gym would mean ending my MMA career which is something I wasn’t ready to do.
Despite our personal differences, I’m grateful to Karl for helping me to achieve what I did. I wouldn’t be where I am now without him, and I learnt a lot from the time we were together, in many different ways. I only wish that it could have ended more amicably once it was clear that it was time for us both to move on.
When it finally came, the move opened up more opportunities than I could have imagined. Piece by piece things have come together, and now I have a great team of people to work with. I’ve remembered what it’s like to have fun with my training and enjoy what I do, and realized that I don’t have to sacrifice being happy to be good.
How all this will affect me as a fighter remains to be seen. Do I still have what it takes to perform at that level? Will feeling good about life actually take away that competitive edge I need? I know what I think, but I guess we’ll all have to wait until my next fight to find out
I’ll take this chance to say thank you, in no particular order, to the people who have helped me out over the past few months. I’m always terrified I’ll leave someone out, so if I have I sincerely apologise!
My coaches – Pete Irving, Paul McVeigh, Billy Cooper, Paul Tite, Jimmy Kelly, Ollie Richardson
All my training partners – especially Gaz Pilot and Sarah Moras
Ian Bromley and Stockport Fighters Gym for their help and support, and the use of their mat space
The people I train with when I get the chance, who offer help, advice and good company. Nathan Leverton at Leicester Shootfighters, Barry and Carolyn Norman at Sor Thanikul, Leigh Remedios, Paul Rimmer at Next Generation, Phil and Catherine Else at Gods of War MMA, Dave, Andy and Ian Butlin and everyone at Quannum, James Saville and Neil Hall at Caged Steel.
Lisa and John at Leeds Cage for being there for me, and Lisa for being a damn good sparring partner.
My management, Tony and Ian at Warrior promotions, without who none of this would have been possible!
My parents for all their help and support
And Matt, for loving me just the way I am.