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Rachel Wray

Former Cheerleader/MMA

1.) What advice do you have for an aspiring cheerleader/MMA fighter?

My advice for an aspiring cheerleader/MMA fighter is don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do it. If it is truly what you want, all you need is hard work and dedication. It doesn't come easy, and for some it comes easier than others, but if you truly want it then you will do whatever it takes to get there.


2.) Which sports is harder, cheerleading or being an MMA fighter? 

I would say they are both hard sports, just in different ways... It's not easy being a professional cheerleader, it's like having to be perfect at all times. You must always be cognizant of your behavior in and out of the uniform. You have to set an example and represent the team in a classy, respectable manner at all times. You must have good communication skills and be able to talk on a microphone to an audience. It's sort of like being in a pageant. Hair, nails and makeup must always be perfect. You also have hundreds of dance routines you have to memorize, which isn't easy. You have to be extremely responsible and prompt, always have your uniforms, poms, costumes, practice attire, and you can't ever be late. Games are long and you have to be performing 110% the entire time, always smiling, and you can't mess up because thousands of people are watching. The list goes on and on. Cheerleading may look easy, but nobody will ever understand how hard it can be unless you make it to the professional level. MMA is a different kind of hard, it requires more physical and mental toughness. Nobody cares if you are late, or what your hair or makeup looks like or what you're wearing. But the physical strength and cardio required to fight is unexplainable. It is so much harder than cheerleading. People have no idea how much cardio strength it takes to fight. It's super high intensity and you have to be powerful, fast and explosive. You also have to be mentally tough. You can't be scared of anybody or anything. You have to fight hard but you must also fight smart. You can't just go out swinging crazy. Fighters are sort of like quarterbacks, you have to make fast decisions under an immense amount of pressure, and the decisions must be smart or you will lose...or get hurt.  


3.) How has being a cheerleader helped you become an MMA Fighter? 

My background of being a cheerleader has really helped the marketing aspect of my MMA career. After all, this is an entertainment business, and the NFL cheerleader to MMA fighter story is quite entertaining to people.


4.) What are your goals for 2013 and beyond? 

This year I want to fight at least 5 or 6 more times. Once I get enough amateur experience I want to go pro in this sport.