I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with female MMA fighter Megan ‘Wonder Bread’ Condis.
While, I have had the opportunity to see Megan fight in the past and we have briefly spoken before and after the Central Illinois Throwdown MMA events.
This sit down with her was very informative inside look at the person behind this rising female mixed martial arts fighter.
Amateur female MMA fighters are often over looked, especially at the local level.
One aim of the Bear Warrior mixed martial arts training section is to help change that via these types of venues.
Join us as we discover who Megan ‘Wonder Bread’ Condis is and learn more about her mixed martial arts warrior journey..
Kuma: Megan, Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and share with us.
Megan: No problem I am excited about it
Kuma: Ok, let’s start with your fighter nickname, it is “wonder bread” correct?
Kuma: How did you get that nickname?
Megan: When I first started training in MMA, I am a graduate student and I was looking at purchasing my equipment and I saw that they had these little mouth guard containers that were about twenty dollars.
Being a Grad student, I was cheap and thought I don’t need to buy a mouthpiece container.
So, I pulled out a Tupperware container and put my mouthpiece in there. Funny thing is, it happened to be sandwich container and had the wonder bread logo on it.
Everyone in the gym would tease me and say thing like:
“Oh you’re carrying around your lunch”
“You’re carrying around a sandwich”
Eventually, Bob Long, my coach, decided that “wonder bread” would be my fight nickname. I really didn’t have a choice and it has stuck ever since.
Kuma: Yeah, you often do not have a choice with your nickname and they quickly stick, my nick name “Kuma” was given to my by one of my instructors as well.
Kuma: Do you use the same walk out song ever fight or do you change it up?
Megan: No, I use the same song at every fight. It is TimeStretch by BassNectar, it is kind of a techno song or freeform electronic music.
Kuma: Is there a particular reason you use that song?
Megan: I knew I had to pick something that was family friendly and I felt that the easiest way to accomplish this was if it didn’t have any words in it.
So, my husband helped me to look up songs on you tube and that was the one we ended up picking.
Kuma: If you don’t mind me asking how old are you?
Megan: 27, I will be 28 in December.
Kuma: What weight class do you fight in?
Megan: 125lb is my preferred weight class, but I have fought up as high as 135lb. This has been because of availability or what others wanted to do.
Kuma: I am sure that being a female mixed martial arts fighter there are often a lot less availability of fighters, is that correct?
Kuma: Do you know what is your Height and reach are?
Megan: 5’8” and I do not know my reach currently
Kuma: What is your hometown?
Megan: I currently live in Pekin, but I grew up in Morton.
Kuma: Do you have a fight team?
Megan: Yes, the Central Illinois Combat Club Fight team.
Kuma: Where do you currently train?
Megan: Central Illinois Combat Club and Crossfit Trilogy in Pekin, IL.
Kuma: Have you every cross-trained with other gyms, studios or schools in the area?
Megan: I have visited other mixed martial arts gyms with my trainer Bob Long, but I have never trained with any other MMA trainers for any extended period of time.
Kuma: Are you currently still an Amateur MMA fighter?
Kuma: Do you ever aspire to go pro?
Megan: I would possible like to, but a lot depends on what happens when I finish my Graduate degree and what type of employment I get.
Kuma: How many amateur fights have you had? And do you have any titles?
Megan: I have fought six fights and hold the 135lb female Central Illinois Throwdown Title.
Kuma: How many years have you been training in MMA?
Megan: Around 2 years.
Kuma: Have you ever trained in any other martial arts styles?
Megan: Yes, I trained in Krav Maga
Kuma: How often do you train? How many days per week / hours per day?
Megan: How often do I train? When I am healthy, this would be a common training schedule for me.
Kuma: What other types of training do you do to prepare yourself for a fight? For example do you lift weights, run, ect..?
Megan: Well, since my family owns the Crossfit Trilogy Gym in Pekin (www.crossfit-trilogy.com) I do a lot of crossfit training to supplement my MMA training.
Kuma: Do you remember your first MMA fight? Can you describe it for us?
Megan: Yes, I was kind of lucky in that my first opponent wasn’t extremely prepared. It gave me an opportunity to get in the ring, try it out and get a lot of the nerves handled without having to battle my first match.
Kuma: How much weight do you normally cut for your fights?
Megan: It depends if I am fighting at 125lbs or if I fight at 135lbs. I often walk around between 125 and 135.
Kuma: How do you cut the weight?
Megan: I usually don’t have to cut much weight, but if I do it is the normal sauna suit, running on a treadmill, restricting food, fluids, ect.
Kuma: My guess is cutting weight is one thing most fighters don’t enjoy..lol.
Kuma: So, do you watch mixed martial arts on TV or at local MMA events?
Megan: Yes, we generally watch most of the UFC’s and often go to MMA events throughout the area.
Kuma: Do you teach or share your experiences with other up and coming fighters?
Megan: Do I teach or share experiences? Well, not formally or in a structured setting. But I always try to take time to help fighters if they are trying to work something out in practice, want to do drills or whatever.
I am also hoping to start teaching a women's self defense class beginning in early 2013, so that will be a good opportunity to begin disseminating this skill set more widely in my community.
Kuma: Keep us posted on that, we would love to hear how that goes and the details.
Kuma: What is the worst injury you have ever had?
Megan: My current fractured hand that I injured in my last fight.
Kuma: How have you been recovering from it?
Megan: Slowly, I can’t lift with it and have modified my training schedule to accommodate the cast.
Kuma: MMA is a very male dominated sport, what is it like being a female MMA fighter?
Megan: I must say that I have never really encountered any difficulties with promoters or coaches or teammates because of my gender. However, I've heard stories of women who are given a rough time in this sport.
I must be blessed to be surrounded with quality people who are happy to share their knowledge with female fighters or happy to help promote them.
I would say to women out there who are experiencing sexism in this sport to cut loose the people who are holding them back and know that there ARE people out there who will help you and who won't treat you as "less than a so-called real fighter" just because you are female.
I am also lucky that I have quite a few female teammates, so we are always propping each other up and supporting each other.
Kuma: What advise would you give other girls thinking of fighting in the ring?
Megan: I would tell girls interested in this sport to begin as soon as possible! The young girls who are coming up through junior high and high school today are going to reap the benefits of breakthrough fighters like Ronda Rowsey.
These female mixed martial arts pioneers have opened up avenues for women in this sport. But it also means, they will face much stiffer competition, because as the sport grows in popularity and becomes more lucrative, there will be more and more people jumping in.
I would tell girls:
“Go out for wrestling in junior high and high school. Start boxing now! Get used to sparring and grappling and do some amateur competitions. Get your feet wet now so that you are ready to dive in at full force once you are of age!”
I can't wait to watch the sport grow with the upcoming group of girls who will have grown up watching WMMA on the world's biggest stage!
Kuma: Great advise and I agree WMMA is an exciting segment of mixed martial arts and will continue to grow in the future!
Kuma: While we're on the subject, who are your favorite professional female MMA fighters?
Megan: I'm gonna pull out a "deep cut" so to speak here and say Marloes Coenen.
Kuma: How has Marloes Coenen inspired you?
Megan: First, I totally adore her attitude and her persona: quiet, but confident, feminine yet strong.
One of my all time favorite WMMA fights was her fight against Liz Carmouche (who I also love!), where she was getting absolutely battered. But Marloes was able to stay calm and execute a triangle choke to win the fight!
That type of grit, that fight-intelligence, that ability to see an opportunity to win and take it, is what I aspire to have.
Kuma: What is you favorite way to end a fight? (Striking, ground and pound or submission)
Megan: Well. most of my fights have ended with TKO’s, but I would like to end a fight with a submission.
Kuma: What is your strongest MMA skill set?
Megan: My strongest skill set is my stand up.
Kuma: Which of your mixed martial arts skill sets needs the most improvement?
Megan: My ground game needs work, for sure. That is why I have set a goal for myself to end a fight in a submission: that would be a little bit of proof to myself that my ground game has gotten better!
Kuma: What is your favorite technique?
Megan: my favorite technique is the jab. It isn't flashy or fancy, but if it is executed well it can set up all kinds of great techniques.
It is also simultaneously defensive (in that it allows you to keep your distance from your opponent) and offensive, which I really like.
The jab really is one of the most under-utilized tools in MMA, which is crazy to me because it is so versatile!
Kuma: I couldn’t agree with you more, I think the jab is a great tool that needs to be practice over and over again in order to truly perfect it and understand it’s usefulness.
Kuma: What does your family think of you fighting? Do they support you?
Megan: My husband has always supported me and he is my corner at every fight.
But in the beginning my mother and father would not come to my fights, then somewhere along the way they found one of my fights on you tube and watched it.
They have come to support me very much, now. My Mom will still not come to watch me live, but my Dad come out to my most of my live fights.
Kuma: Have you ever used your mixed martial arts skills outside of the ring? For instance for self-defense?
Megan: No, but between my previous Krav Maga training and my current MMA training I am much more aware of my surroundings and that has kept me safer.
Kuma: I often tell fighters that have trained with me that they will learn more from a loss than a win. Do you agree or disagree?
Megan: Since, I am currently undefeated I can’t exactly answer that for sure, but I can say that the fights that were hardest for me and/or closest are the ones I learned the most from. So, yes I would agree.
Kuma: During your MMA fights do you stick to a game plan?
Megan: Yes, I do try to stick to a game plan.
Kuma: Do you try and set the pace?
Megan: Absolutely, setting the pace and keeping the pace is very important.
Kuma: Fighters should not fight the other persons fight, If their opponent wants to stand and fight, you take it to the ground, if they want to go to the ground, you keep it standing.. Do you agree or disagree and why?
Megan: Don't fight the other person's fight, I totally agree. I think MMA is much more of a thinking man's or woman's! game than people give it credit for.
It is vital to be able to assess your opponent, figure out where to best exploit their weaknesses and deploy your strengths, and then be able to execute that game plan.
MMA is not about charging forward and banging away at the other person. It’s about finding a way to bend your opponent to your will, however you can in accordance with the rules.
Kuma: Extremely well put!
Kuma: Can you describe your current warrior mixed martial arts training cycle?
Megan: There is not too much going on in my current training cycle right now! I'm trying to rebuild my strength after having broken my hand and I hope to get back into the MMA gym after Christmas to get back into fighting shape.
Kuma: What is your education background? Do you attend college? Or do you plan to? If so what career(s) are you pursuing?
Megan: I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois. I have a Master's degree in English Literature and I teach writing and film classes to undergraduates there.
Once I complete my doctorate, I hope to find a position as a professor at a university or community college.
Kuma: How do you pay for your training? Job, Sponsors, ect.
Megan: As I mentioned above, I teach at the university and also tutor during the summers (from little kids learning their ABCs and how to sound out words to adults looking to hone their study skills or improve their reading speed).
I am also lucky to have the support of some sponsors to help me with things like traveling to fights and paying for gear
Kuma: How many sponsors do you have and who are they?
Megan: . My current sponsors are:
I am very grateful for their support. And I am always on the lookout for more sponsors!
Kuma: How did you acquire sponsorship?
Megan: Like I had mentioned earlier my family owns Crossfit Trilogy of Pekin and the sponsors that I have now called the gym looking to cross promote and I asked them if they were interested in sponsoring a female mixed martial arts fighter.
Kuma: How many times have your fights gone to decision?
Megan: Only one of my MMA fights have gone to a decision and it was against Heidi O'Keefe
Kuma: Yeah, that was a battle and a great fight by both of you, do you think you will ever re-match Heidi?
Megan: I hadn't really thought of it.
Kuma: Well, that brings us to the end of the interview. I can’t express enough how much we appreciate you taking the time to sit down for this interview.
Good luck in your recovery and we look forward to seeing your next female MMA fight.
Megan: Thanks so much for this, it is great!
I want to thank all of you for joining us for this interview with female mma fighter Megan ‘Wonder Bread’ Condis. Now get out there and support your favorite female mma fighters.