KANSAS CITY, KANSAS (KCTV) – Professional fighters spent the day getting ready for fights at a KCK gym, which inspired many of the young women around them, but they're not alone in their admiration.
The purpose of this Police Athletic League, or PAL, gym is youth development. Today, however, it was the backdrop for an internationally televised event.
The women weighing in are the first eight competitors in the Invicta Phoenix Rising MMA Tournament, which begins tomorrow at Memorial Hall.
“My family has started from boxing,” said Brianna VanBuren from Gilroy, California.
“I wanted to learn how to defend myself,” said Sunna Davíðsdóttir from Reykjavik, Iceland.
“If something happens on the street, at least you have a skill,” said Danielle Taylor from Los Angeles.
Invicta is an all-women’s organization founded in 2012, which was before UFC welcomed women into the cage.
“They were around before women’s MMA was cool,” said Laura Sanko, the event’s announcer.
The weigh-in segment was being recorded on Thursday for broadcast at the live fight tomorrow. That’s right: 115 pounds of muscle and power.
Some of the girls who train there were going gaga over the group. “How strong they were and how fit,” remarked 9-year-old Delaney Locke.
For the director of KCK’s PAL, who opened the gym just four months ago, it’s a great opportunity to inspire. Matt Tomasic said, “30 percent of the kids in our boxing program are girls.”
“That’s amazing,” Taylor said. “That’s beautiful to hear. I feel like women, in general, it’s a good thing to know.”
“I was actually looking at this girl behind us wrapping her hands and it really inspired me,” said Davíðsdóttir.
The girls didn’t know what to think of that.
“To see that next generation of the young female fighters as fans, I look at those faces and I think, ‘Maybe I’ll see you on an Invicta card maybe 15 years from now,’” Sanko said.
Of course, it was exciting for KCK’s PAL to have the event there. However, what’s even more exciting is that they already have 404 children signed up for programs ranging from boxing to art and get 20 more signing up each week.
The MMA fight happens on the night of Friday, May 3 at Memorial Hall.