Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A popular men’s sport, mixed martial arts, is making history in Maryland.
Jessica Kartalija reports the first female MMA fight will take place Saturday night at the 1st Mariner Arena.
The fight at 1st Mariner could pave the way for more women’s professional fights in Maryland. One of the fighters tells WJZ she has a lot to prove when she steps in the ring.
Last March, MMA fighter Gabby Holloway defeated Maryland’s own Roseanna Garcia by a judge’s decision in an amateur fight in Virginia. Now the two women are set for a rematch–a fight that will go down in history as the first professional female fight in the state.
“I am very humbled and honored. It means everything for the state, it’s a long time coming. I think women’s MMA should have happened years ago,” said Roseanna Garcia, 27.
Garcia, who grew up and trains in Gaithersburg, will be making her professional debut.
“When I get in that cage, I feel alive, I feel normal, I feel great. That’s why I do it. I also do it to inspire people to say, ‘You know Roseanna, I am overweight and I don’t know if I can do the workout,’” she said. “Well you know, I didn’t finish my first workout at my gym because I had a panic attack, and I came back.”
Fights like the one Saturday could help grow the sport for women.
“As long as you give the fans what they want, they’re going to bring you back,” said fight promoter John Rallo.
As for the fight on Saturday, Garcia says she’s confident.
“I’m not the same person that she’s fought. She’s still undefeated until Saturday. She is a great fighter–I respect her 100 percent, I think she’s a great person–but we are standing in each other’s way, and one of us has got to move,” she said.
Garcia tells WJZ that the more lethal she becomes, the more empathetic she is toward other people.
Tickets are still available for Roseanna Garcia and Gabby Holloway’s MMA fight Saturday night at 1st Mariner Arena.