For many years, West has never shied away from pointing out the large discrepancy gap between the promotion of women’s mixed martial arts and boxing. Her first and foremost love though is unequivocally the sweet science, so she prefers to stick with it.
That doesn’t mean she did not entertain offers that enticed her to make the jump. In fact, all-women’s Kansas City-based MMA promotion Invicta Fighting Championships approached her father Juan’s best friend in a deal that presented itself but West’s life simply took a different route. One that lead her her back between the boxing ropes.
“I don’t want to quote them but it’s a lot better pay than what boxing has ever given me in my entire career. It was a deal that was at the time, my dad’s best friend Corey Beeson was working for an MMA fight. He was dealing directly with a power female promoter and an investor,” West spoke of the negotiations.
“They offer their fighters a lot. They’re pretty fair. Compared to boxing, it was like night and day. I thought before I wanted to retire altogether, I always wanted to just punch somebody in the face with those tiny little gloves.”
“So I wanted an MMA fight. I wasn’t trying to be a Ronda Rousey or anything. I just wanted to have that experience of going all out in the cage” the IFBA title holder said of her intentions and interest in mixed martial arts.
Although she had a change of heart, West did progress in learning a thing or two along the way, but those pocketed skills were a mere blimp in her spare time.
“I started training and was having at it in jiu-jitsu. I was doing really well actually, putting things to together but it was just like a hobby for me. It was nothing out there for boxing for me,” West said of her intriguing but minimal interest in a WMMA crossover.
She contends that if she ever were to get into the fastest growing sport in the world, she would need be to be fully dedicated and committed to the cage, time that she prefers to put back in the ring.
“If I were to ever go full force in MMA, I would need to do that full-time because it’s not my background. It’s not where I come from. So not doing that full-time, it’s dangerous for me.
Nonetheless, while the door is 75 percent closed on the cage for now, the IFBA champ acknowledges that she can “never say never.”
“I don’t like to say the door is closed completely because you never know how you’ll feel tomorrow.”
“My art is boxing. So I’m not gonna sit here and say I’m opposed to sharing my art in the cage as well because that would be a lie. It’s just not something in the agenda or anytime soon. I just don’t see it happening, but I don’t want to say the door’s completely closed.”
Although women’s boxing has not received the attention or exposure of men have in the same line of work, West still sees the opportunity for potential personal growth in young girls seeking to get involved in the sport.
With three younger sisters, West shares her optimism to the generation of female combatants who are on the borderline of being discouraged and notes of the life lessons applicable to the sport that transcend beyond fame, notoriety and monetary stature.
“Whether or not they make a name for themselves in mainstream, they need to realize that the things they were from boxing are life lessons that will last a lifetime such as confidence, self-esteem, drive, motivation and discipline, respect for one another. You become humble. These things, you all learn from boxing.”
Lessons learned in the combat sport she loves have fueled her to become a more confident individual. The four-time champion encourages others to look at her as an example of how putting on a pair a gloves can motivate those to who haven’t yet seen the worth in themselves.
“Things that will take you so far in whatever direction you go, even if it doesn’t end up being in the ring. So I don’t discourage anyone from deciding to pick up gloves. I actually encourage them to. When I was growing up, I had very, very low self-esteem.”
“I got picked on. I grew crooked teeth. I looked like a little boy and I wasn’t that pretty girl, popular or anything. From boxing, I talk so much now and developed so much personality that I never knew I had. Now I’m the champ. When you keep winning, you develop this confidence that will take you far in any career avenue.”
West is locked and loaded heading into the inaugural all-female card for the NCWB and is currently training in preparation for her ‘North of the Border’ main event showdown. The event is still pending approval for licensing from the Quebec Athletic Commission. Nonetheless, West is ready to go to battle in either regard. For the reigning IFBA champion, she sees the fight ending one way: with the referee raising her arm sky high in the air and Cordero faced down on the canvas.
“You can expect and witness the greatest version of myself and it’s going to end with a boom. It’s gonna end with a ‘boom shocka locka.’”
Stay tuned to MMA Freak in the coming weeks as ticket prices and further event information on the Aug. 15 NCWB card becomes available.