A fighting chance

AS a fighter on Australia’s first ever all-female mixed martial arts card (better known as MMA), Queanbeyan’s Belinda Sedgwick has already been a part of history.

Now the 34-year-old is keen to parlay her recent exposure from the Brace For War fight night on the Gold Coast into even greater opportunities.

The Brace For War event, held at the Southport RSL, was Sedgwick’s first MMA appearance. The mother of three had previously pursued a sporting career in the boxing ring but has since turned her attentions to the increasingly popular MMA discipline. 

“Without wanting to upset anyone, boxing is dying, MMA is where the action is and that’s what I want to be doing more than anything else,” Sedgwick said. 

“A friend of mine has recently signed up with a promoter over in America so there are definitely opportunities opening up over there. I feel like the doors have slowly been opening for me since Brace.”

Mixed martial arts is a full-contact combat sport in which participants employ a wide variety of fighting styles including boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In an indication of MMA’s growing popularity among female fighters, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has recently announced its intention to create it’s first ever women’s division.

Based in the United States, UFC is the world’s largest promoter of mixed martial arts but had previously long resisted calls to instate an all-female competition.

Sedgwick acknowledged there was still a negative perception among some in the community surrounding the role of women in what is widely considered to be one of the world’s most violent sports. 

“When I was telling people I was going to be on an all-female, I did get some weird reactions,” she said. “Some people seemed to think we’re just a bunch of animals in a cage but we’re not.

“There are rules and there is a referee who can see when you’re no longer able to defend yourself and who will stop the fight. I was actually pretty proud to step into the cage to represent women and to make history.”

Sedgwick’s initial foray into competitive MMA proved short lived however, as she was taken down in the first round by Toowoomba fighter Lisa Sutton in her Brace For War debut.

But despite the loss, Sedgwick said her enthusiasm for the sport remained undimmed.

“There was just such an adrenaline rush,” she said of her first fight. As soon as I got out of the ring I turned around and said to the promoter, ‘I want to do that again.’ ” 

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