Cherokee Breaks New Ground As A Woman Mixed Martial Arts Fighter
She’s a surgical tech by day, and a mom to her 7 year old son Coy…but in her other life she is one tough cookie. Kathina Catron is one of the top women fighters in Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, in this region. And she’s a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
UFC stands for Ultimate Fight Championships. It’s a type of fighting where it seems almost anything goes and it’s growing in popularity. Catron came into the sport almost by accident.
“I met my husband slash coach probably about 4 years ago and he’s actually a professional MMA fighter. I started out just trying to get in shape, I was a little heavier and I wanted to get in shape,” Catron said.
“I just got good at it and evolved into fighting,” Catron says laughing. Catron laughs easily, which is the exact opposite of what you would think someone would be like with a nickname like “Killer Switch.”
Catron’s husband, Scott Lowe, is proud of his wife, and says she is the only Native American female in MMA.
“Right now, as far as we know, I'm the only native professional MMA fighter that has stepped into the cage at Invicta. Invicta is like the UFC for women, it’s the highest we can go at this point if we're not 135'ers.”
“135” refers to the weight of the fighter. Catron fights at 115 pounds.
“The 135's, they have actually opened up in the UFC so they're allowing 135 females to fight in the UFC right now,” Catron said.
The sport involves many different types of fighting, hence the name mixed martial arts.
“Basically what we do is a little bit of everything in the cage, we box, we kick-box, we do judo, we do wrestling, jujitsu, any kind of mixed martial arts that you could think of,” Catron said. “A lot of it is utilized in the cage so that's basically what the MMA is, is everything all thrown into one.”
There have been instances of husband/wife teams in sports, such as Olympic gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner and her husband Al Joyner, that were successful. Catron is coached by her husband and thinks they make a great team.
“Oh yes, absolutely,” Catron said. “You know in most relationships, especially when it comes to husband/wife relationships, they're not going to be scared to tell you what you're doing wrong, or how you're going to do it. You’re going to listen.”
“But there are those times, when I’m like 'what, what are you talking about?’ laughs Catron.
“It’s easier to work with somebody that you're comfortable with, in my shoes, you know. He helps me see what I need, and I trust him to coach me and show me what I'm doing wrong.”
Catron and her husband Scott Lowe own the gym in Tahlequah where she works out.
“Right now, I'm the only female that we have in there. It’s just that we're growing still, people don't know a lot about us because this sport is not here yet, MMA is still rising in Oklahoma,” Catron said.
“I think once people see that you can be successful and it’s something that is not only fighting, that it shows self-confidence, you've got to be able to have that in this sport,” Catron said.
“I mean, it really helps out in self-defense. We have people that come in for self-defense and never fight. Mixed Martial Arts helps people get through things, you know, just do what they want to do with it.”
Catron said she felt very emotional before her first fight, to the point of tears.
“It was actually before I even went into the cage, it was my nerves...then when I got in there, you know, once the doors shut, that’s it,” Catron said. “You're fighting, because that's the only way you're getting out of that cage (laughs) until that round is over. Actually, I did pretty well in my amateur career. I went 5-0 as an ammy, and I won all by tko's.”
The viewing public may not be ready to see women fight and get hurt like men, just as so many objected to women in combat. This doesn’t bother Catron.
“We all know that's part of what we're doing, you know, that's what we choose to do. I love mixed martial arts and I love getting to fight. Women are still coming up in this sport. People are still trying to accept what we're doing,” Catron said.
“In the end I think that we are better fighters because we're smaller, we have to be really technical with everything we do in the cage because we not as strong as the guys. We're going to go in there with all the techniques and all the tools that we have to win that fight,” Catron said.
Its because of that precision that Catron feels women MMA fighters make for a better show.
And if she had a daughter?
“I would definitely get her into Mixed Martial Arts. Even if she didn't want to fight as she got older, I would get her into it for self-defense,” Catron said.
“She would always be able to protect herself.”
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