Cage card to feature mother of all battles

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

The quickly growing world of mixed martial arts is, by its nature, full of all kinds of fighters -- most of them characters.

From young guns such as Tito Ortiz to aging veterans such as Ken Shamrock, they have a few things in common: (1) They're male; (2) They're a little crazy; (3) They're not moms.

When it comes to contact sports such as boxing and kickboxing, women have made major inroads over the years and occupy more and more space on big fight cards.

But they're still a scarce sight at MMA events.

Rebecca Sweeney hopes to change that trend.

The 37-year-old mother from Kingston, Ont., will take to the mat for her first MMA fight April 22 at the King of the Cage Karnage at Stampede Corral.

She'll face New Mexico's Thricia Poovey, who'll be taking part in only her third MMA match.

"My daughter loves to tell her friends what her mom does," said Sweeney, laughing. "She's 16 and she thinks it's pretty neat now."

Sweeney knows that taking part in an event such as Karnage makes her a pioneer of sorts.

"There's not a lot of women in it but it's getting more popular, just like it did with kickboxing and boxing," said Sweeney.

"It's growing slowly. I'm sure it will keep getting bigger."

Sweeney described herself as someone who was always a sports nut but didn't take up martial arts until eight years ago.

She fell in love with it instantly and now makes her living at it, teaching various martial arts at a Kingston dojo.

After competing in kickboxing matches, she wanted to test her ability in an MMA event. When the opportunity came up to compete in Calgary, she leapt at it.

"This is something I've always wanted to do," said Sweeney. "I wanted the chance to test my skills."

A confident striker from her years in kickboxing, Sweeney said she also feels comfortable on the ground and has trained in various grappling disciplines including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The main event at Karnage is for the KOTC World Light Heavyweight title with current champion Mac Danzig of Los Angeles taking on Puerto Rico's Orlando Ruiz.

Hamilton's Jeff Joslin will take on Lethbridge's Jesse Bongfeldt for the KOTC Canadian Welterweight title in the semi-main event.

Eleven additional bouts round out the card with Calgary fighters Ben Tycholiz and Adam Laporte also taking part.

Doors open at 5 p.m. with fights getting underway at 7 p.m.


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