The journey of an aspiring fighter #60

Published On May 7, 2014 | By Helen Harper | Blog

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least. So much so that I have completely neglected my blog – for which I apologise!

My last blog took you through my journey to Vegas, and the awesomeness of Seoul Airport. Therefore this blog will start where I finished off: My first day in Vegas.

Only two hours after I stepped off the plane, I was ready to train and was kindly picked up by a girl named Michelle. Little did I know at that point how amazing this girl was, but I shall come to that later. We made our way to Syndicate and she introduced me to a couple of the guys and girls there. I hadn’t slept for over 24 hours by this point so my technique was a little off, but we managed a few rounds of sparring.

Michelle is one of the hardest working, dedicated people I’ve ever met. She trains twice a day, works for a Real Estate agent AND has a beautiful daughter (who is 7 going on 17). No idea how she manages it but I am seriously impressed!

The following day, it was back to the gym again, this time for grappling and a little more sparring. I partnered with a girl called Jamie who is one of the four girls competing for the Tuff-N-Uff Invicta contract. We worked well together and it gave me a good idea of my level.

When Michelle couldn’t pick me up on Friday for training (even Superwoman has a limit) one of the guys, Mike Chiesa picked me up instead. You may recognize Chiesa from The Ultimate Fighter 15, I can confirm that yes he really is that nice.

After a busy few days, it all came to a halt on Saturday. I didn’t sleep well at all on Friday night and couldn’t get a lift to the gym on Saturday. Instead I ran, thinking this would be sufficient. It wasn’t. I felt anxious, and honestly I let my fear take over me. I began to question what I had got myself in to, and felt that I was going to let everyone who believed in me down.

After a good chat with my best friend/big brother Ben I felt better, and by the next morning I felt great. I was ready to take on anything life wanted to throw at me.

Luckily, life was being extremely kind to me, and I ended up going shopping with Roxanne Modafferi.  It was an absolutely perfect Sunday, and we found some really cool little shops. As a bonus, I was also able to feed my addiction to spats when I found a starlight special on sale for only $9!!


Roxanne was the first girl I ever became a “fan” of, when I very first started training. It was positively surreal for me to actually meet her, let alone become friends with her. Somehow after only a week, I felt like we’d known each other for our whole lives.



Sunday night came, and there was absolutely no way I was going to sleep. The trials to me were like going to Disney land – could you ever sleep the night before Disney land?

After less than two hours sleep, and approximately 6 hours analyzing my hotel room wall I decided to go and get a coffee to help me through the day. I must say it was extremely nice having a Starbucks in the hotel lobby, although my coffee choice is quite boring (hot, black Americano).

Whilst waiting for the doors to open at 8.00am, you could smell the fear in the room. Most girls had come with their partner/coach so there were multiple groups huddled around each other, whispering chatter trying not to give their game away.

Having arrived alone, I sat to the side and tried to relax – which was harder than it sounds! One of the girls, Sarah Schneider had also come on her own so we sat together. Sarah has a 6-6 record so she is vastly more experienced than myself, however very humble and gave me some great advice.

My right hand woman, Roxanne Modafferi arrived shortly before the doors opened, and just in time to give me a much needed pep talk. Roxanne and I sat with Miesha Tate and Ricky Lundell, who in a very short amount of time managed to fill me with nothing but confidence!


By the time we had all submitted our application forms, weighed in and had our photo taken we were free for a few hours of media interviews. The interviewers were all really lovely and there was a very natural buzz around the day. Genuinely people seemed far more excited about this season than the previous all male seasons.

Unfortunately there is not much else I can say, as all 36 girls who applied for The Ultimate Fighter 20 signed an agreement with The UFC to confirm we would not talk about it. Believe me, we all would if we could!!

What I can say is, it was a fantastic experience and I am extraordinarily grateful to be given the opportunity to be there. I wouldn’t have come close to achieving this milestone in my career if it wasn’t for the loyal support of my friends and family. I am more grateful than words can explain.

No matter what the future holds, I know it is going to be incredible. Thank you for sticking by me, through the bad times and the good – I am going to make you all proud!!

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About The Author

English Mixed Martial Artist fighting out of Andy Roberts BJJ and Legacy BJJ with a pro record of 4-1.

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