After winning her pro debut Ashlee Evans Smith now awaits the outcome of another type of battle. Smith defeated Tori Adams to advance to the semi-finals of Championship Fighting Alliance (CFA) women’s tournament but now awaits the outcome of the Fallon Fox situation. We all know the story so I’ll spare you the details.
After a nine month absence Smith went the distance with Adams showing she has remained dedicated to her training. “I am a firm believer in the motto “hard work pays off,” explained Ashlee.
Despite the Fox controversy and having to face two more opponents for the title, Smith is highly motivated. “It’s amazing to be able to start your professional career off with a win. This is the momentum that I needed to rise to the top,” she says. In our interview we discussed her recent win, her Tuff-N-Uff experience, and of course transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox.
How did the CFA signing come about, and what attracted you to the promotion?
My great management team GBH signed me up for the CFA tournament and I agreed because I feel it is an amazing opportunity to showcase my skills and be a part of a professional organization before moving to a larger one.
Were there any other offers of interest before the CFA signing?
There were other offers before this fight but the tournament was the most appealing not only for the money aspect but the belt too!
Your CFA 10 fight with Tori was a tough battle. What challenges did she present, and how were you able to come away with the win?
My fight at CFA 10 was a battle but I was able to walk away with the win because I stuck to my game plan and was more aggressive and I feel that my technique was just a little better than hers. I also felt like I was in great shape and ready to go 15 minutes with her.
What other bout(s) did you enjoy seeing on CFA 10?
Every fight at CFA10 was exciting just like CFA9. The matchups are always amazing. Every female fight was great and the KO head kick in the main event was beautiful.
Previously you fought in Tuff-N-Uff and earned the featherweight title. How has that experience prepared you for the next level?
Tough enough is a great promotion and I was lucky enough to fight for them four times. They really prepare you for the professional level and winning a title was a great feeling as well. It drives you to be better and collect more gold.
Do you think the continued success of WMMA depends more on the shoulders of INVICTA or UFC now with their female signings?
I think women’s MMA is not going anywhere, regardless of the UFC and their signings or Invicta and they’re beautiful matchups and lengthy cards. Women are fighters and we are going to fight to fight no matter what happens.
When you fight do you feel like you’re carrying some weight of WMMA success on your shoulders?
I believe that every time a female MMA fighter steps into the cage they fight their heart out and most of us train aptly and appropriately and if that keeps happening then I believe that is the essence of “hard work pays off.” …So we ALL carry the weight on our shoulders. Good thing we are strong women! :)
Now let’s talk about the current Fallon Fox situation. How did you learn of the news and what was your first reaction?
I was sent a Facebook message from one of her previous opponents right after I fought that night at CFA9. I was at the hotel lobby when I got the message and wasn’t sure if it was a bitter opponent or it real situation. After the news broke that Fallon had come out officially I was in shock and really had no clear opinion on the situation. It’s so delicate and different that I wanted to educate myself in every aspect before I spoke on it.
If Fox’s license is approved do you think that will open the wrong type of doors in MMA and sports in general?
If her license is approved I think that it will open doors for new rules and guidelines. Whether or not those doors should be open is not up to me.
Why do you think Fallon decided to come out now especially with the CFA Women’s tournament a stake?
From what I’ve read it was not her decision to come out now, she was forced to come out. Whether or not that is the truth …I do not know. If she chose this time perhaps it was because she wanted a good opportunity to be in the limelight. Otherwise she might have been trying to keep it secret her entire career.
They are hopeful the tournament will continue to in April. But if doesn’t do you feel it will be a major setback in your pro career?
If the tournament does not continue I will be sad. I have my heart set on winning that belt. If it does not continue it will not hinder my pro-career though. I will take another fight with another organization or possibly CFA as well. I know what I want and nothing will stand my way.
What has been the general consensus on the Fox issue from people you know in the MMA community?
I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback. Almost everyone that I have talked to believes it is wrong and should not be part of the new rules. I would say 90% of people I talk to believe that she should not fight.
IOC recently dropped wrestling from the Olympics. What are your thoughts on that, and do you think that opens or closes the doors for MMA to be entered in the Olympics?
Wrestling being taken out of the Olympics seems like a ridiculous joke to me. I believe in my heart that it will not go through. It is the best sport in my opinion and it is a huge fundamental of mixed martial arts as well. Wrestling saved my life and has done so for many other people as well. I hope that everyone does everything they can to SAVE OLYMPIC WRESTLING.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much to my management team GBH&and all of my sponsors: Fighter girls, Blood Hound, Gx Nutrition, 7 a.d, Fight Twisted, Skull Geek Racing, Tri-Coasta, Amber Sports,
And without my gym and coaches I would be nothing. SUBFIGHTER MMA & INNOVATIVE RESULTS! I love u all. :) You can find me on any one of my social media sites or website: Ashleemma.com, Twitter: @ashleemma1, Instagram: ashleemma, Facebook: Ashlee Evans-Smith.