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On the eve of the nation’s only all female MMA promotion, Invicta FC, Arlene Sanchez-Vaughn invited KNUXX to her gym in downtown Albuquerque – FIT NHB – to discuss something near and dear to her heart. Although it was only a coincidence that this meeting took place on the same day as the 4th installment of Invicta, there couldn’t have been better circumstances. As evidenced by this promotion’s success, the world is coming around to the idea that females have a place in the fight world. And it’s Coach Vaughn’s vision to see that the momentum continues. It was on this afternoon that she announced to KNUXX (and the world) that FIT NHB will be removing yet another impediment to women, and girls, who wish to fight – FIT will now allow any female to train in any class for absolutely FREE.
Vaughn is no stranger to the biases and blatant mocking that surround women who choose to fight. She started boxing with her dad at age 4 but it wasn’t until she was 19 that she was able to actually train (with legendary Bill Packer) in Karate & Kickboxing. She wanted to start training earlier but had to take a back seat to her brother who wanted to train as well. Once in the fight game she excelled, but even with her success (and obvious talent) she was still fighting & playing in a Man’s World.
Arlene sees this as the perfect time to accelerate the growing popularity of women’s MMA. But, as she stated, “it’s more than just wanting to help more women fight and it’s bigger than just helping the movement.” She’s doing it because, as a woman, she knows that training “helps a female to build confidence… it helps them physically, emotionally, spiritually, and [now that FIT offers classes for free] helps them financially.” Thankfully she doesn’t have a myopic view of what a woman can expect by training – she doesn’t even expect them to get in the ring/cage to actually fight – she sees what’s going on in the world and she knows that in a small way she can help women by offering this training for FREE.
FIT already has several girls & women who train at their sprawling 11,000 square foot facility in New Mexico – including current KOTC champion Brenda Gonzales. She hopes to see many more in the coming months who will now be able to join as a family or as siblings without the “burden of choosing whether the boy or the girl should learn how to fight”. Now wives can train with their husband or girlfriends can get together and train together. To facilitate this change FIT will be expanding its schedule and offering more classes – including some that are just geared toward fitness.
KNUXX is grateful to be involved in this movement and we hope that it will only be the beginning of a new trend in gyms around the country. We applaud FIT and Arlene in this decision and look forward to seeing more female fighters grow in the sport. Besides, now we know that the UFC is currently “accepting applications” to fill their female division so I don’t think we’ll be turning back any time soon.