|Michigan USA - Aoife (rear, right) training with Invicta fighters at Scorpiion Fighting System Team SFS|
When male fighters grow up big and tall, promoters rub their hands with glee. But for Aoife Murphy standing at 1.83m or bang on six foot is simply a problem.
The small number of women doing MMA globally can be seen in the constant calls for top fighters to drop weight or eat a lot to meet Ronda Rousey. In Ireland where athletic women are pushed towards teamsports – Murphy used to play GAA football, the problem is acute.
So she fights across amateur boxing, kickboxing and now MMA at C-Mac MMA to keep her hand in.
Chatting on the phone the other day, the Dubliner said: ‘I started in Kickboxing but I wanted to do it all. I wanted to have a go at MMA, I was game to try something else. They’re just different - MMA you can slow the pace with grappling, kickboxing you have to step in.
‘I love the striking and the grappling- I’ll go in the cage, in the ring, on the mats. I hate being inactive.’
Her fight record of two wins, one loss in MMA; four wins, one loss in Kickboxing and two wins, one loss in amateur boxing is across 70 to 78kgs. I winced at the thought of cutting and dicing your body like that.
“Friends look at my lunch-box and they’re like: ‘are you feeding a rabbit?’ I prepare it all on my day off, do the groceries and cook. The fridge is full of Tupperware, you have to be a well-oiled machine.
“I walk around at 80kgs, so it’s a big cut for me. I wouldn’t eat badly but I am inclined to put on weight.”
Aoife’s boyfriend Paul O’ Brien fights too, so at least there’s no-one scoffing chocolate cake around her. And working as a hairdresser gives her chance to share her knowledge.
She said: “It opens their eyes to what you don’t see about MMA; the fitness, the health. It’s great.”
And maybe being walking so tall in the MMA would is on the way to being more accepted. The last Invicta fightcard earlier this month - included their first 70kg event. Rachel Wiley and Felicia Spencer clocked in at 155lbs or just over 70kgs, so we could yet see Aoife's name on that card.
|Aoife (in pink) with the growing number of women training at C-Mac MMA in Dublin.|
More to come from this interview!