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

Victoria city staff start from square one on Crystal Pool project

Victoria staff need direction on revised plans for the Crystal Pool and Wellness Project

‘Panda’ Goodlife runner searches for his head

Facebook post for help leads to ‘unconfirmed panda head sightings’

Victoria’s 2020 Capital City Comic Con to feature a special Star Trek guest

Cherry Bomb Toys announced tickets for the event will go on sale on Friday

For Central Saanich couple, fight against MS is a matter of family

Altenkirks sell greeting cards and wooden bowls to raise money for MS Society

Victoria feels the pinch at the pump as gas prices jump 18 cents

Gas up to 157.9 cents per litre at some stations

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Most Read