I would usually write an intro to the interview here but instead, I’ll copy an email I received from MiddleEasy interviewer, Noel, regarding this Kaitlin Young interview.
“Make it awesome. Inspiration of banner could be Elmer Fudd meets Aldous Huxley. I think I wanna write like 3 sentences for her intro paragraph, you can just mix it in there and explain it however. It has something to do with her being the crown prince of women’s MMA. Kinda like Aragon for the humans during the Lord of the Rings. I’ll write a little something up for tomorrow that you can mix in there. Bang. Let’s make her look good, she gave an educatedly (editors note: That’s not a word) good interview. OH SHIT, she also is looking for sponsors i think, she didn’t mention it anywhere, but i read it somewhere. Can we hook her up with JACO?”
A couple days later, D**k Grayson sent me this email to insert in the introduction that refers to himself in third person:
“When I talked to MiddleEasy interviewer D**k “Starscream” Grayson after the interview, he said, “For some reason, I get the feeling that Kaitlin Young is the prodigal son of women’s MMA, it’s crown princess. The Chauncey Billups of women’s MMA. A flower that eventually blooms brighter than the rest.” Then I told him that he probably just has a crush on her. Undeterred, he still sticks by his claim.”
There, now you’ve just had an exclusive look into how things get done around MiddleEasy. Your life is now enriched. Check out this interview with Kaitilin Young, only at MiddleEasy.com – Because MMA is everything.
What type of kid were you growing up? Like from your pre-teen to your teenage years?Pre-teen to teenage years…I was quite the tomboy when I was younger and then I was kind of trouble in my early teenage years before I got into this.
Major trouble maker? Were you like robbing cars or were you just like shoplifting Twixes? Anything crazy?
No, no I wasn’t into stealing. Just into partying hard at probably too young of an age.
Today when you’re out with your friends what type of person are you?I’m pretty laid back but I wouldn’t say I’m quiet. I’m usually pretty relaxed.
When we were setting up the interview you said you work odd hours, what do you do?I’m a strength and conditioning coach for a girl’s volleyball club. Girls like nine to eighteen but obviously they’re in school during the day so I train them at night.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not training?Eat!
I know you went to school for…I can’t even pronounce it and that’s a shame because I went to school for communication. Something…piseologyography-photsynthesis?Kinesiology.
When you’re training these girl volleyball clubs is it like…well, have you ever played volleyball or are you showing the MMA training routines on the side?Haha, no I’m there strength and conditioning coach. Kinesiology is basically like ‘exercise science’ so I try to make them jump higher and not hurt their shoulders when they’re swinging.
Was there a strategy going in your head prior to that tourney? I think you had one fight prior to that, I know it was pretty early in your careerI didn’t really have a strategy, it was just get in there and fight. I didn’t know who I was going to be up against, the opponents kept on changing. I just went in there and fought, I almost didn’t do it because at the time I was so inexperienced. But we did it, I tried to keep it standing and did the best I could.
In-between those three fights what were you doing? Do you try to take a nap? Are you jittery?I’m really jittery, yeah. Honestly I spent so much time warming up for the fights, probably too much like just shadowboxing and dancing around in between (fights)
When your career first started it was kind of a sudden rise, you fought multiple times in a matter of a couple months and then after your EliteXC fight you’ve fought about once a year. Is there any particular reason for the slowdown? A lot of it was because I needed to finish my college degree but the really the root of it was financial. If you’re not aware, female fighters don’t really make a lot so in order to afford to be able to keep training I had to finish my degree so I can get a job to support myself so I can do what I love which is fighting.
Now you recently fought in January, it didn’t go as expected obviously. Any change in your fight philosophy?
Yeah, you know I have changed. I knew that I needed to work on my ground but I felt like I was very much outskilled by Jennifer Tate so I’ve just been really focusing on that. I’m still healing up because I got cut pretty good in that fight and it’s not fully healed yet. My arm was also popped in the submission so I’m not back to 100% but I have been training.
What are your plans for the rest of 2010? Your ideal scenarioMy ideal scenario, I would like to take some pro thai-boxing fights at some point this year. It’s kind of one of those things that’s on my bucket list. I haven’t done it and I really want to do that. Work is really busy through April so I probably won’t be fighting before May, middle of May but I would like to get at least two or three more fights in this year.
Now I was reading a prior interview of yours and you said during the Gina fight, you were studying for finalsYeah, I had finals two weeks before.
Now when I studied for finals I still tried to fit in some partying, obviously I’m going to assume you didn’t do that. So we want to know, how did you do during those finals?I did alright, not as good as I would have done otherwise but I was lucky because my professors, at the time I was writing thesis paper and my professor for that was pretty understanding of me and the situation. It was really difficult and part of it was not just the training but the interviews and having all the extra media would add another hour or two to the day on top of all the training so I think I got a little burnt out. It was a good opportunity.
Who do you think is going to take it between GSP and Dan Hardy?Well I hate to count anybody out but I do think GSP is on a different level. They both have skill and just overall athleticism. So as long as GSP comes in focused, I think it’s all his.
Let’s go to another promotion, Fedor vs. Overeem.Haha, that’s the one everyone’s been hoping for. Do you think it’s going to happen?
I don’t know but I know we’ve been trying to push it on the website pretty darn hard. I know it would be an amazing fight.Oh I completely agree. That would make my night, I would love to see that fight.
What do you think is going to happen there?I think Fedor wins that fight via…just being more mentally tough to be honest with you. I can’t say how, but I think it would be later on (in the fight).
Name one male fighter that impresses you.I have to pick just one?
YeahThat’s hard, can I pick teammates of mine?
You can pick one teammate and one non-teammate.I think someone that impresses me a lot on my team is Jacob Volkmann. He took his first two fights (in the UFC) on short notice and it didn’t go his way so he’s dropping to 155. People don’t know but he took that first one with a pretty nasty injury a week from the fight and did really well. He took Paulo Thiago to three full rounds. I was super impressed with him. And for the other, I think Miguel Torres is probably one of my favorite fighters, impressive in every aspect of the sport.
Now what do you think of the scoring system in MMA?I don’t think the scoring system needs to be modified as much as it needs to be clarified. In these other sports, they’re required to have certification before they can judge especially on a professional level where you have a lot of things at stake and I don’t feel MMA should be any different. I think there needs to be more regulation of judges.
Apparently you’re a big fan of the WECOh, they’re my fav! They’re just the most exciting weight division, 35 and 45 are to me like the most exciting weight division.
In terms of the overall grand scheme of MMA, are you part of the side that wants it to be a monopoly like the NBA or the NHL where everyone is signed under one banner or do you think it should continue the way it is with multiple organizations.I think it will be a long time before you can do what you’re saying, everything under one banner. I think that would probably, in some cases and I’m sure someone can make a strong argument against it, be better for the fighters in the long run. Right now with all this jumping around you lose once or twice and lose your contract and the problem with that is MMA fighters, even the top ranking ones aren’t making enough to retire on. They’ll make good money like $800,000 for a fight but it’s not like a pro-football or a pro-basketball player that can retire when they’re done playing. Then that guy has to go out and get a real job? That or open up a gym I suppose. But the same amount of work or more is put in and you don’t get enough really. I think in the long run it would be better but to get to the point it will be years.
In terms of medical insurance, do you have coverage?I have coverage because I have an awesome job. I don’t pay anything for it.
Now we’re going to get into the female MMA questions. Actually, when I use that does it offend you? I was speaking to Marloes Coenen and she got a little annoyed with me using the word ‘Female MMA’. What should I use?
That doesn’t bother me because I know what you mean. When you say that I know you don’t think there should be different rules for it, but it is a different market and it is differentiated I think.
Name your top four, pound for pound female mixed martial artists.Can I go in no particular order?
Hmph, OK. Yeah.I don’t know if I can order this. I think Megumi Fuji is up there for sure. Kaufman and Hashi. I think it’s going to stay in the lower weight classes because though the girls at 45 are really good, it’s hard to say because there are only so many people for them to fight at their size. LaRosa is another one at 25 now.
I feel like you want to squeeze in one more.I do, you know.
Squeeze in two moreMatsumoto is really cool. Honestly, I don’t think it won’t be long until Shayna is in there.
Apparently you guys are good friends, she mentioned that to. How did that come about?Well our gyms are kind of like sister gyms and that’s kind of how it started. Our gym hosted this grappling tournament and she was there. This was when I first started grappling. I think the first time I met her she just started shouting at me and coaching me because she’s amazingly slick on the ground. That’s how we started becoming friends.
Name an impressive up and comer who we should interview a year from now.You know who I love to watch? Kerry Vera. I think she’s going to be very, very impressive.
What were your thoughts on the Marloes vs. Cyborg fight?I didn’t see it.
Wow, we are going to print that response and…I was fighting! I was fighting that night!
Oh yeah, because it was back to back. Good call. Did you hear about it?I heard it went to the third round and Cyborg TKOd her in the third.
Now did you watch Gina and Cyborg last year?Yeah.
What were your thoughts on that?Generally I thought Gina didn’t look like herself. I think everyone wishes it was a little bit more technical. I think it’s hard to be technical when one person is going apes no matter how skilled you are, which is what Cyborg does. There sure was a lot of hype about it. I think it was good and bad.
There’s a chance that Erin Toughill will be in line to fight Cyborg. If by some strange reason you were asked to corner Erin, what would you tell her?
My thoughts on Cyborg are that all of her components of MMA are very good individually, but it seems like she has a hard time stringing those things together
like mixing her striking with her wrestling
. We all know she’s good on the ground, she did really well at ADCC and her muay-thai is no joke. So if I were cornering Erin I would tell her to take advantage of her in the transition.
There’s been some talk of another Gracie heading into MMA, this time your side of MMA. Kyra has started training. Any random thoughts
Do you know what weight class she would be? People crack me up because I’ll be on the UG
and someone will say ‘Kyra and Gina should fight’. They’re probably like 40lbs apart or something.
Yeah, one of them will have to pull a BJ Penn and fight like 20lbs over their weightRight.
I think she’s going to fight at…you know, there’s an issue with girls and weight so I’m not even going to dabble in that.No way! Fighters can’t whine about that stuff!
I think she would fight in the lower weight classes, maybe someone like Kaufman. But I’m not sure…35? I think she’s a lot smaller than Kaufman. Kaufman walks around at like 154.
Ok, alright. Then there goes…there goes my weight prediction there. Haha, sorry. I didn’t mean to shoot you down!
How do you think she’s going to approach MMA?I don’t know, I think it will really depend on if she’s the sort of person that’s ‘gun shy’ or not. By that I mean if she doesn’t mind getting hit I think she’ll do ok but if she has a hard time with it and sort of shys away, she won’t do so well. I think it will be interesting to see her fight.
Now you like documentaries…Love them.
What’s your favorite one off the top of your head?Fog of War
is one of my favorite ones with Robert McNamara. That’s a really good one. He speaks very candidly about the cold war. If you’re into that, watch ‘The Business of Being Born
‘ it’s pretty good. It’s about how Western culture has babies in not the most effective way…shall I keep going?
I was just going to see how many you were going to spit out.Supersize Me
obviously is great. There’s one called The High Price…what is it? I forgot what it’s called ‘The Killing High Price’ or something like that about the obesity epidemic in America. Netflix is wonderful
What’s one talent you have other than fighting?I’m an ace at parallel parking. I’m also a pretty good shot with a shotgun.
Alright, what’s the nerdiest thing you’re into? Wait, woah. Let’s step back. You shoot guns?Yeah I do, I go out hunting. My dad started taking me when I was six years old.
If you were to get in a West Side Story fight complete with music in the air, pick two comrades to accompany you.Haha, Shayna Baszler and my coach Greg Nelson.
Now did you watch the olympicsA little bit, did you watch the women’s downhill?
Yeah, I watched women’s downhill the mostOh, did you see that nasty wipeout where the girl flew 190 feet? It was the chick with the beefiest legs I’ve ever seen in my life!
Yeah, I think she clipped a flag and helicoptered down.Yeah! It was brutal!
Is there anything you want to say? Any shout-outs? We’re not the Oscars, we give you as much time as you want.
As always thank you to my team, Minnesota Martial Arts Academy
. Everyone there, they’re awesome. And the guys at API, I do some of my strength and conditioning there.