Sarah Kaufman performing a Muay Thai kick during sparring. (Adam Zugec)

Victoria MMA star fights for million-dollar prize

Professional Fight League has invited eight fighters to compete in eight-month tournament

The best pound-for-pound fighter to ever come out of the Island is competing to win a cool US$1,000,000.

Victoria Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star Sarah Kaufman is one of eight women selected to fight in the Professional Fighters League (PFL), which offers the winner a US$1 million prize.

The PFL is a unique MMA tournament, where fighters compete in a regular season earning performance points, with the highest scorers facing off in a knock-out tournament, culminating in a New Year’s Eve final.

ALSO READ: Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

“It’s an exciting opportunity to be part of the first female division at the PFL and it’s a chance to have potentially four fights and win the million dollars within seven or eight months,” says Kaufman.

“I’m actually going up two weight classes, normally I fight at 135 pounds and this is 155, so it’s going to be quite a different experience.”

It is almost unheard of for a fighter to become a champion in a weight-class two divisions higher than their normal class, but what Kaufman might miss in brawn, she makes up with talent and experience.

Boasting a formidable record of 20-4, Kaufman faces competition with far less experience. Despite Olympic gold medal winning judoka Kayla Harrison installed as the bookies’ favourite, Kaufman is confident of rising to the challenge should they meet. Unusually for someone of her weight-class, Kaufman possesses formidable punching power, with half her wins coming by knockout. She is also one of the few women in Canada to hold a Brazilian Jiujitsu black belt, widely regarded as the most difficult belt to attain, in the world’s most devastating martial art.

ALSO READ: Trailblazing Peninsula hockey player talks growing up as the only girl on the team

Kaufman hopes to rely on her pedigree as a former Invicta FC and Strikeforce bantamweight champion, as well as her experience competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) against legends of the sport Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko and Miesha Tate.

“I love what I do, my body is great and I feel at my peak. I only want to be in this sport to be the best in the world. I don’t need to do it to make a living, I do it because I love it and winning a million dollars is just a bonus. It’s a hard sport, you’re putting yourself at risk every time you step in there,” she says.

Kaufman has consistently been rated as one of the top fighters in the world, and while she is grateful to be competing in the PFL tournament, she says she has unfinished business in the UFC, where her career stalled following a bad car accident. Pundits have speculated that a return is likely if she has a good tournament, and Kaufman herself thinks she would be a strong top-five contender in the competition’s 135-pound division.

ALSO READ: Indian Army photos discovers footprints they say belong to our Sasquatch cousin

While reluctant to think too far ahead, Kaufman hopes to stay down to earth if she wins the money. She’ll keep her day job coaching all ages and abilities at Zuma MMA gym, but has promised her training partners a celebration.

“I’ve talked about holding a pizza party,” she laughs.

Kaufman joins Kayla Harrison, Genah Fabian, Bobbi Jo Dalziel, Svetlana Khautova, Roberta Samad, Larissa Pacheco and Morgan Frier in the competition. Kaufman’s first fight can be watched on Thursday, May 9 on TSN 2 at 9 p.m.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Still barriers to abortion access on Vancouver Island

Experts say transportation, support, doctors can be barriers to accessing abortion

Oak Bay dog walk benefits guide dogs

Two more walks set for Sunday in Victoria and Colwood

Coastline serves up a feast of fiddlers in Oak Bay

Local Juno Award winner musical director for ensemble

Police stay quiet on downtown fire investigation

The fire at Victoria’s Plaza Hotel was deemed suspicious on May 14

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7M to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Young man on Vancouver Island dies after losing control of ATV

Crash claimed the life of a 23-year-old south of Nanaimo over the long weekend

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Most Read