California featherweight Kathy Long has become known for her role in bringing a great deal of interest to women’s kickboxing. As a 5-time World Kickboxing Champion, Kathy Long has impressed both judges and the crowds with her round-ending punch combination and lightning fast speed.
Kathy has brought a sense of excitement to the sport never before seen in professional women’s kickboxing. Kathy will be making her MMA pro debut this year. The success and enthusiasm of Kathy Long is helping encourage the growth of women’s MMA and boxing in a male dominated sport. . Kathy Long Story..
CA: What inspired you to become a fighter?
KATHY LONG: I have been training in Kun Fu San Soo for quite a few years in Bakersfield. And in that town there were not to many women doing kickboxing or doing tournaments in martial arts. I would go to tournaments and perform weapons forms just for fun. There was a girl there who would compete in the black belt division and would constantly ask me to compete against her. And I said look, I don’t do point fighting. I said look you want to fight. Lets step outback and fight. What I did not know about her was that she was a kick boxer. And one day her coach calls up my kung fu instructor and asks if I will be able to do an exhibition match. She weighed 190 lbs and I weighed 120lb. And it is 10 days before the event and I have never done boxing. A big fan of it but never participated in it. So I went to a local boxing gym for 10 days, trained and took the fight. Because of the weight difference they deemed it an exhibition and no winner was announced. I was addicted to the adrenalin rush.
CA: Who Won?
KATHY LONG: Nobody will say but we pounded the crap out of each other. I felt that I got the upper hand. But there are plenty of those from her school who would say other wise. She is the one really who got me interested in it. From there I went into amateur kickboxing and did a bunch of fights after that.
CA: You have been quoted as saying that you want to help give more exposure to women’s MMA.
What do you think could be done to give women’s mma more recognition and bring it into the spotlight?
KATHY LONG: I think obviously more televised fights to start with. And I believe Strikeforce is getting involved with Elite XC and they will probably re-establish that show on Showtime. And if that happens then there going to have quite a few women’s fights. I hear at this point they are going to feature 135 weight. Maybe I will gain some muscle and go for it. Honestly the best thing for women to help promote women’s mma is to get it on television. The more people see it obviously the more popular it is going to get. There are some very good competitors out there.
CA: Do you see more women getting involved in MMA?
KATHY LONG: Well you know Jackie Kallen with Fatal Femmes Fighting is starting up her own reality TV Show. And it is featuring nothing but women in MMA. So Yes, I see a huge future for it.
CA: Where do you see women’s MMA in 10 years in compared to today?
KATHY LONG: Its going to be obviously not as popular as men’s MMA but its going to hold its own and do just fine.
CA: Are there any promotion company that you feel are good for women’s mma?
KATHY LONG: Fatal Femmes Fighting certainly, Strikeforce is another one. Lance Forman and Ken Shamrock with Wargods. There actually featuring quite a few women and I and I am going to be fighting my first fight on one of their cards. And site unseen he is offering me a decent amount of money and he just wants to put on a good show.
CA: You have fought the world’s best women fighters. Which fighter did you feel had the most skill?
KATHY LONG: I think the women who had the most skill was Lucia Riker and I never fought her. She wouldn’t come down in weight and I would not go up in weight. So we never met. And if she was to go into MMA she would destroy everyone.
CA: What advice would you give to someone thinking of making the fight game a career?
KATHY LONG: Sponsorship, sponsorship, sponsorship. Because with out it, it is going to be very difficult to make a living. Though women’s purses are getting better, it will never be as good as boxing. Even for the short time that women’s boxing was on television, they were getting paid 3 and 4 times the amount of money than women were getting paid in MMA. Just because there is a lot more money in boxing. No that is changing in MMA. Everyone thought that it was just a fad, but it gots some staying power. Its been around since 1993, so it is only getting better at this point. So there is a good chance that women will make better money. But its been slow and coming as is with all women’s sports.
CA: Who had the biggest impact in your Kickboxing Career?
KATHY LONG: The biggest impact of my kickboxing career. That is a good question. I would have to say all my sparring partners who are men. Who were willing to pound the crap out of me. Knock me out, break my ribs and do everything else and make me who I am.
CA: What kind of injuries have you suffered?
KATHLY LONG: Start with many broken toes, fractured chin, broken ribs, torn calf muscle, broken my nose 5 times, broken my hands each twice. Lots of black eyes fats lips, bloody noses, you name it. That’s mostly it.
CA: What other hobbies are you interested in?
KATHY LONG: A ton, ha ha, and unfortunately I have to sacrifice them all in order to train fulltime. I love to sketch, paint and draw. I love to play my guitar and chelo. I love to go hiking, do all kinds of water sports, snowboarding and skiing. There is just a ton of things that I love to do but cant right now because I am so busy training.
CA: You are involved with producing a film with Bill Vigil called “Way of the Warrior”
How is that going?
KATHLY LONG: Actually I am producing two films. One of them is “Way of the Warrior” which from all intents and purposes has been funded. We are approaching Carrie-Anne Moss. She was in all the Matrix Series. And possibly Bruce Willis. We will see. It will be shot in Canada later this year.
KATHY LONG: But before that if we can get the funding sooner. We will produce a small film called “Give Me My Money” It’s a fun comedy but It’s a fight seen from start to finish. It’s a running fight scene. Look out Jacky Chang. It’s going to be very cool.
CA: Are there any quotes you live by?
KATHY LONG: On any given day anybody can get their ass kicked. No matter how good they are. Anybody.
CA: Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
KATHY LONG: Yes, I would like to thank Betiss Mansouri, Romie Aram of Millenia MMA, submission wrestler Javier Vazquez, Machado Brothers in Pasadena, Jackie Kallen, Maria Moralez Lisa Twight of Gym Jones, Goker Chivichyan and Gene LeBell’s Hayastan Academy.