By: Darrien Starling Brooke Mayo
, also known as "The Bully" embarks on a journey to become the queen of the Bellator Flyweight division. She makes her professional and Bellator debut February 18, 2017 inside the SAP Center in San Jose, California at Bellator 172
. Her competitive nature accompanied by her massive support system, which includes her family, friends, and coaches have heavily contributed to her success in mixed martial arts (MMA).
"I know it was tough for my parents to see me go through the amateur struggles and the daily training struggles so I really appreciate them standing by me even though it was hard for them to watch sometimes." Her parents' acceptance of her competing is very important to her, which makes her professional debut even more heartwarming. Mayo's friends have also exhibited a great deal of support and encouragement throughout the process. In her last fight, Mayo's coaches were not unavailable to be in her corner. Her friends decided to step in as a replacement and provided help in the absence of her coaches.
Not only did Mayo's friends display their loyalty, but her last fight required her to showcase great character and professionalism. The weight agreed upon between Mayo and her opponent was 135 pounds. The day before weigh-ins, she received a call that her opponent was going to be three pounds overweight. Even though her opponent was heavier, she didn't hesitate to take the fight. On the actual day of the weigh in, her opponent was overweight by seven pounds instead of three but Mayo had no problem with fighting the heavier opponent. "I still had the height advantage and my athleticism helped out a lot. I also had better Jiu-Jitsu even though she had more experience than I did on paper." Mayo went on to finish the fight in the third round via TKO.
Before diving into the fight game, the California native's first love was the soccer pitch. Throughout her childhood Mayo excelled in soccer and even went semi-pro for a year shortly after college. Injuries played a role in her decision to switch her focus from soccer to fighting, "For a long time that [soccer] was my main goal but after I had surgery I didn't know if it was going to work. But It all worked out for the best." She decided to let go of her soccer dreams, however, she couldn't abandon the cravings for competition brewing in her heart. Mayo was then introduced to Jiu-Jitsu and quickly fell in love with training, which lead to her passion for MMA. Her anticipation to compete was so extreme, that she jumped into an MMA match without ever participating in any Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, a match in which she won.
Mayo's ferocious approach to training led to the tagging of her nickname, "The Bully". In her early days of training Jiu-Jitsu, she was one of the smaller competitors in the gym, as a result, she felt obligated to exude toughness and embrace the grind while rolling with her teammates. "My friend Anthony from my days at Dynamic MMA gave me the name. It's kind of a joke because my personality is really nice, but when I roll with people I have grinder mentality and a grinder style." She is also a dog lover as well, and ironically her favorite type of dog is a bulldog.
Mayo will make an attempt to bully Veta Arteaga
in her Bellator debut. Arteaga is looking to shift back into the win column after suffering her first loss under the Bellator banner against Anastasia Yankova
by way of split decision. Mayo has taken pride in her training camp for this fight and is excited to showcase her talents in front of Bellator fans, "In my amateur career I wasn't able to showcase many techniques I've worked on, but in preparation for her [Arteaga] I have some new tricks and new techniques I'll be able to showcase that I think will work really well." Mayo expressed strong gratitude for being added to the main card and is excited to be fighting on the same card as the greatest heavyweight of all time, Fedor Emelianenko
As an amateur, "The Bully" displayed versatility in finding ways to win fights. She has a few wins in each category, by decision, submission, and knockout. With that said, she has very high expectations for her debut, "I'm feeling pretty confident, I know I will be considered the underdog. I honestly visualize a knockout or a submission, I'm going in there to get a finish, I don't fight to squeak out close decisions." Mayo says she has premonitions before fights and she has a strong feeling that she will get the stoppage she's looking for.
The former soccer defender has set some lofty goals for herself as she enters Bellator, " I just want to be the undefeated flyweight champion. I'm not sure how long it will take to get there but that is my ultimate goal honestly." She will have to exercise patience to accomplish that feat but she is very confident it will happen sooner than later. Mayo expressed her excitement regarding Bellator allowing fighters to be very active. Mayo fought 10 times in 2015 and plans on fighting frequently to move up through the Bellator ranks.
Mayo was extremely excited when she got the call from Bellator and accepted the offer with no hesitation. She is impressed with the momentum going forward such as the international travel and the recent super fights. A huge selling point for her was the women's flyweight division. Mayo struggled to find flyweight competition last year but now feels that problem has been solved,"I'm really impressed Bellator puts an emphasis on their female division. I'm so excited; it's been hard to showcase my skills as a flyweight because the opportunities are limited in that division. I can't wait to fight"
Make sure you don't miss out on the action. Catch Mayo vs Arteaga on February 18th at the SAP Center in San Diego, California on Spike TV. You can also check out one of the greatest fighters of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, take on Matt Mitrione
on the same card in the main event.