By: Nick Portella (@Nremtb)
What’s going on fight fans? Today I had the chance to sit down with mixed martial artist Rachel Wiley. Rachel is one badass chick with a heart of gold, so let’s have a seat and get to know her.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Rachel: Wow that’s a tough question. The definition of a fighter is “a person who does not easily admit defeat in spite of difficulties or opposition” and I feel like that’s a rather fitting definition for who I am as a person. So that’s what it means to me.
Nick: At what age did you begin to train martial arts?
Rachel: I was 17 years old.
Nick: You work as an EMT and firefighter on top of fighting. I know how hard that is because I have worked as an EMT for more than a decade in a busy city system. How hard is to it balance your work schedule with training?
Rachel: It’s challenging and hard to maintain a social life while juggling fighting and working at the same time. It was fairly easier when I was on 12-hour shifts rather than 24-hour shifts. Meal prepping was extremely important and my life was scheduled around when I could fit in workouts and sleep.
Well we did it. Another year, another 110 floors for the #343 pic.twitter.com/nAuQG5G4LI
— Rach Wiley (@rachwileymma) September 12, 2016
Nick: What disciplines do you train and what belts do you have in them?
Rachel: I trained Muay Thai and some jiu jitsu, honestly had a hard time staying actively interested in jiu jitsu so I never made it past a white belt.
Nick: How many amateur fights did you have before going to the professional level?
Rachel: I was 6-2 as an ammy before going pro.
Nick: What camp do you train with? How long have you been with them?
Rachel: I currently don’t train at a set camp. I have been on a hiatus since beginning of 2016.
Nick: With your fighting style do you prefer to keep the fight on your feet or take it to the ground?
Rachel: I enjoy Muay Thai a lot so I like to stand.
Nick: What would you say your biggest strengths are, and what’s the thing you need to work on the most?
Rachel: I have a great work ethic I think. I work hard when I train. One thing I could work on more is meal prepping and nutrition. I tend to indulge in pizza and chocolate a little too often.
Nick: What’s your favorite strike/submission to use in any fight?
Rachel: Just the basics really. 1-2 combinations. Basics will work every time.
Nick: You have won the Blackout fighting title as an amateur. What was that like? How did it feel to win?
Rachel: That was a pretty awesome moment. I never had a belt before that so of course it was a rush. I almost got caught in a triangle during that fight so to escape and come back with the TKO was great. Blackout was an awesome promotion, great people to fight for.
Nick: You had lost your first fight and had a large number of doubters. You then went on to win your next six fights and made your pro debut with Invicta. What do you have to say to the people who did not believe in you based on one fight?
Rachel: I have nothing to say to them really. I’m sure they’re the same people that continue to dislike me to this day and nothing I ever do or say will change their mind but that’s just fine. I have so many great people surrounding me that it doesn’t even matter.
Nick: People talk about the next generation of fighters all the time. Do you feel that you represent that in some ways? Do you feel any pressure to represent that next generation?
Rachel: In a way yes, only because I’m so young. I don’t feel a whole lot of pressure because in the end I represent myself and I believe I do a good job of that.
Nick: With cutting weight and fighter safety always being a priority. What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?
Rachel: I usually would cut 20-25 pounds. Sometimes I feel it during the fight and sometimes I don’t. It’s really hit or miss. I’m a huge fan of the epsom salt baths for the last few pounds. They’ve given me great results.
Nick: Invicta is the big name in the game for all women’s MMA do you have any plans to try and get signed in the UFC or Bellator at some point in your career? If not why? If so which one and why?
Rachel: Honestly when I come back I don’t believe I will ever do MMA again. I more so have my sights set on kickboxing. I think they’re all amazing promotions and they’d all be an honor to fight for. Invicta was so great to be at. They take such amazing care of their fighters in every aspect and they’re easy to work with.
Nick: Most fighters get branded a nickname at some point in their career. Do you have one? If so who gave it to you and why?
Rachel: I don’t have one! I fought once and the announcer gave me one, “Break ’em and Fix ’em” because of my EMS career. It hasn’t followed me, it was just for fun that night.
Nick: You understand that marketing is important in this sport. Do you have any plans to release your own product brand?
Rachel: I don’t. I’ve never thought about it.
Nick: WMMA has come a long way in a short amount of time. What advice could you give up and coming fighters that are pursuing fighting as a career?
Rachel: Find a gym that works for you in every aspect. Listen to your coaches and work hard. Don’t underestimate anyone.
Nick: I have heard that there is a funny story about how you found out about Invicta. Can you elaborate?
Rachel: My manager actually called me and told me to sit down, I already was so I asked what’s up, he told me the news and I told him to “shut the f*** up”.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA or WMMA fighter past or present?
Rachel: I absolutely adore the Diaz brothers.
Nick: What is next for you in the fight world? I know your fans are eager to know.
Rachel: I have a lot going on right now. I feel like my time isn’t over yet, I can’t give an exact date of when I will come back but I’m sure it will happen.
Nick: If you could have one dream fight with anyone, who would it be, why?
Rachel: Nancy Pelosi, because I hate that bitch.
Rachel would also like to thank everyone who has helped and supported her along the way.
Nick’s Take: Wiley was a blast to talk with and I wish her all the best going forward.