Fight Chix met Becca before Fight Chix even started. Jake Nuesser met Becca via myspace and found a friend on the west coast that was originally from the midwest and was into this crazy stuff called mixed martial arts. The really cool thing was she KNEW some of the baddest dudes in the sport. Today Becca is a perfect example of a strong woman—a crossfit trainer, and founder of Modern Athena. Come and check out her story!
Becca you have been around the world of Mixed Martial Arts way before The Ultimate Fighter madethe UFC a household name. Can you tell us how you first got involved and what drew you to it?
I was first exposed to MMA around 2001 or 2002. My boyfriend and I were both studying traditionalmartial arts and he came home from his class one day with a videotape. He said to me, “I don’t knowwhy, but I think you’re really going to like this.” It was a tape of a Pride broadcast and I fell in love withthe sport at first sight. I bought every Pride tape or DVD I could get my hands on and when I ran outof those I began watching UFC, starting from the first one. After that I got into more obscure shows,started going to live events in Vegas, and started training with Eddie Bravo.
My involvement behind the scenes I blame on Dan Henderson. He was one of my favorite fighters rightfrom the start. I was, of course, active on the Underground and also on the forums Team Quest had atthe time, so the TQ guys were aware of who I was. (There weren’t that many girls around in those days!) Dan was in charge of the TQ pro-shop back then and I had ordered a shirt or sweatshirt or somethingand the order got messed up, so he offered to meet me in Vegas at the next UFC to hand deliver it. Itwas from that meeting that I ended up becoming friends with Team Quest, training down in Temeculaperiodically, co-producing their strength and conditioning DVD, etc.
Being a female around such a male dominated sport, did you ever experience any limitations or wereyou ever just not welcomed?
I think it was actually an advantage in the old days. There just weren’t many girls in attendance at theshows in those days, and I was at all of them, so I stuck out and people remembered me. Especially ifpeople spoke to me and realized I was really knowledgeable about the history and technique. I alwaysfelt respected and welcomed by everybody I met.
You were able to work with both Randy Couture and Bas Rutten during your first career in film, canyou tell us about those experiences both the work and the relationships that developed?
My main person in Team Quest that I worked with in regards to video production was actually RyanParsons. He headed up the TQ Strength and Conditioning DVD and also the Rulon Gardner documentary.For me the biggest perk of those projects was just getting to spend time with the guys and, in retrospectnow that Pride is gone, getting to travel to Japan for the Pride New Year’s show is something I willtreasure forever.
I also worked for Matt Lindland on his SportFight production for a while and traveled to Portlandregularly for those shows. Back in those days you could find me at pretty much any UFC, WEC, orSportFight show. It was through SportFight that I met Shannon Knapp and that’s how I ended upworking with Bas Rutten.
Shannon and I took on the task of producing Bas Rutten’s Big DVDs of Combat and I don’t even knowwhere to start about that experience! Bas is a wonderful guy and I can count on him to this day tobe an endless source of enthusiasm, but making those DVDs was a nightmare for all of us due to thelogistics of where we were shooting and how much work we had to do. We were basically locked in a small garage, in Woodland Hills, CA, in the middle of the summer…for a week…and we couldn’t turn onany fans because of the sound, and we had to keep the doors and windows shut because of air traffic,and the house attached to the garage contained the biggest pit-bulls I have ever seen in my life. To thisday, when I run into Amir Rahnavardi we both start laughing because we are bonded in pain over thoseDVDs.
You are currently a certified CrossFit trainer at one of the top CrossFit gyms in the country. Please tellus how you went from film making to CrossFit junkie!
I actually wrote a blog about this recently. Basically, about six and a half years ago, I had startedcompeting in submission grappling and I just wasn’t strong enough. I had a lot of technique, but Icouldn’t apply it. Eddie Bravo was my coach and he took me aside after a tournament and told me Ineeded to figure out how to get strong. I had heard about CrossFit from a teammate and also from JohnHackleman, of The Pit, who I had become friends with, so I went to the CrossFit website and discoveredof the ten gyms in existence at the time, there was one right down the street from me.
Kind of like MMA, I fell in love with it from my first exposure and started training regularly. EventuallyI realized that my favorite parts of my day were the hours I spent in the gym. I was also at a point inmy film career where I wasn’t sure how much longer I wanted to be in that industry. I got certified inCrossFit and started coaching part-time and then one day my coach at CrossFit LA, Andy Petranek, askedme if I would ever consider switching careers and that was that.
You also have an amazing website www.moderathena.com that focuses on women’s intelligence,beauty and strength. This is right in line with the ideals held by Fight Chix! What inspired you to startthe site and where do you see it going in the future?
It’s been my experience that both women and men struggle with female athleticism and it wasimportant to me to do my part in getting the message out that it’s possible to be beautiful and strongand well-spoken at the same time. I get a lot of women coming into my gym who are afraid of workingout hard because of misconceptions they have about how it will change their bodies. One of the thingsI love about my job is showing those women how they can get fit and strong and LOVE the way theyfeel about their bodies. When you feel strong physically it also comes out emotionally and you take thatconfidence into the world.
My personal theme in my life, that drives what I do, is that I want to populate the world withsuperheroes. So ModernAthena.com is a way to reach out beyond the confines of my gym to giverole models for women and girls out there and a place where they can see they are not alone in theirconcerns and their desires.
Right now, in addition to the regular writing I do on the site, I am also taking on remote coaching clientsand will be putting out an E-book next year.
With all your success who have been your inspirations?
Coming from a traditional martial arts background, I’ve always held my “sensei” in very high regard, sodefinitely Eddie Bravo and Andy Petranek have been people who inspired me and pushed me. When I first started CrossFit, women like Annie Sakamoto, Nicole Carroll and Eva Twardokens were women Iadmired.
These days who I find most inspirational are my students, both adults and kids. With the adults – seeing,on a daily basis, how much they put into their training, their desire for self-improvement, and theirwillingness to learn and push through the hard stuff, that’s truly inspirational for me. And with the kids –I just love coaching kids because they are so authentic and enthusiastic and I feel like it’s a real privilegeto be a part of their development. I’ve learned a lot from them, too!
What is your favorite and or least favorite CrossFit workout?
I love any CrossFit workout with overhead squats, pull ups, or pistols. So probably Nancy, Josh or Mary.
Least favorite? Fight Gone Bad or Kelly.
As an inspirational woman who shares her knowledge and empowers other woman, what is the bestpiece of advice you could share with everyone out there chasing their dreams?
The best thing and the first thing you need to do to make your dreams happen is to get real withyourself about what your dreams actually are. Most people are a little bit afraid of their own dreams,so they spend their life living half-sized versions of them, or even worse, living other people’s dreams.Get real straight about what you want and then tell everyone you know. It’s not easy to do, but you’llfeel good once you say it all out loud. Crazy things happen when you live your day with authenticity andenthusiasm.
If there is anyone you would like to mention or plug, fire away!
Please check out my website, www.modernathena.com, of course and also a new website I’m writingfor called www.breakingmuscle.com – lots of fun things in store for that site!
If you live in the SoCal area, check out the fights the U of MMA is putting on (I am the Director of Events)July 24th at the Avalon in Hollywood. Our last show sold out and this one promises to have another greatnight of fights – www.uofmma.com
Also–on a side note—what is your FRAN time?
Ha! Gosh, I’m not even sure off the top of my head. I feel like it’s four minutes something. That’s a horrible workout. I think I’ve blocked it out!