Knoxville, Tennessee’s Amy “Donkey Kong” Coleman is the latest addition to Invicta Fighting Championships’ featherweight roster. The 30-year-old Shield Systems product made a successful pro MMA debut with Valor Fights in Jan. 2015 with a second round TKO of Jessica Zomcik. Coleman then returned to the Valor cage in May of this year with a unanimous decision win over Annie DeCrescente and was subsequently picked up by the leading women’s MMA promotion.
Pro MMA Now was able to catch up with “Donkey Kong” to talk about her burgeoning MMA career and this new milestone on the journey.
Congratulations on your contract with Invicta FC. How did the signing come about? Was it a complete surprise, or had this been something in negotiations for a while?
Thank you! While the actual receiving the contract was a surprise, talks with Invicta have been happening for a while; however, with injuries and such, the timing wasn’t right until now. I am definitely very excited and thankful for the opportunity. I have every intention of making the most of it.
With the recent success of the men in Tennessee making it to the UFC, how proud are you that females like yourself and Amberlynn Orr, who have cut their teeth in the same regional circuit, are getting your shot to shine on bigger stages finally?
I am very proud. There are several good higher level amateur and newly pro girls in the area, hopefully, we keep the trend going. I think with the pro/am promotions in the southeast, such as Valor Fights, bringing bigger and better fights and draws every show, we will see even more professionals getting exposure.
You’ve had some long layoffs between fights because of injuries. Was there ever a time when you thought about hanging it up? And if so, what changed your mind?
Even with injuries and the nay sayers, I have never once thought of hanging it up. Anyone that knows me, knows it’s not my style to quit. I am not done in this sport, I need to leave my mark and help pave the way for others, like the people I look up to have for me. I have too much drive and too much to live for to go down easy.
Understanding that Invicta was a major goal of yours to achieve, what are your goals now that you are there? What are you looking to accomplish now that you’re there?
I want to show that I belong with the best. I am not looking to just be thankful that I made it, I want to become someone young athletes can look up to and someone that fans can rely on to put on a good show. Every fight I try to show how well rounded I am and I want to continue to do so as I climb the Invicta ladder.
Have you looked at the Invicta roster? Are you looking to just take what’s thrown at you, or is there someone on the current roster that you would like to see in the cage right away?
I have definitely looked at the roster, both as a fan and an athlete. I don’t want to limit myself by saying there are certain girls that I want to fight. I am willing to do whatever I need to do. I am not one to speak ill of my opponents unless its warranted. I think the 145 division is stacked, the champ may be one of the most devastating and dangerous female athletes of all time, but I won’t back down from a fight. Whatever makes sense, I will do.
Outside of your large and passionate fan base, you seem to keep a pretty small inner circle. You don’t do the selfie game as much as other female fighters and you don’t cross train a lot just to be able to post pictures with other fighters. Are you just more comfortable keeping things smaller, or is all that just not part of your personality?
I have always been laid back. I was never a party girl. I have always worked hard, studied hard and competed as often as possible. I am not comfortable needing to be in the lime light. I don’t shy away from attention, but I don’t seek it out, not that I have the time to. I like where I am at in life. I have multiple college degrees, I am married to a wonderful man and have part ownership in the gym that I train at, so I tend to keep it small. I am the type of person that is fiercely loyal, so if you make it into my inner circle, it means something, and I will be one of the most generous and giving friends you will ever have.
Who are the people right now that make up Team Donkey Kong? Who are the people that are helping you achieve your dreams, that you want to make sure get the recognition they deserve?
Team Donkey Kong is full of many important people, we have to be a machine with many moving parts. My head coach is Ben Harrison. He is the reason I even considered starting MMA. I have always competed in martial arts but until our paths crossed, it wasn’t even on my radar as an option. He has been my coach since the beginning. My boxing coach is John Foust, he has brought my boxing up to a new level and it gets better all the time. My wrestling coaches Mike Weldon and Wade Wilcox have helped me learn the fundamentals of wrestling and incorporate my judo background into MMA. My team at Shield Systems who continue to help me grow as a person and athlete. My husband for supporting me and encouraging me to chase my dreams. And finally, my sponsors, Ogle Elrod, and Baril, and fans who have been beyond supportive in my journey.
Any parting words for our readers?
I appreciate you all more than words can express! You can follow my journey on Facebook by liking my fanpage, Amy “Donkey Kong” Coleman, and on Twitter and Instagram @amycolemanmma.