Thursday, March 29, 2007

Amanda Buckner Part 1: Ready for BodogFight PPV on April 14th

By Keith Mills

From multiple angles Amanda Buckner's next fight in BodogFight on April 14th in St.Petersburg, Russia, is going to be one fans will be talking about. Amanda trains and teaches with her husband Jay Jack at the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts in Portland, Maine and has a verifiable MMA record of 9-4-1, plus an extensive submission wrestling background including the Abu Dhabi Combat Club '05 Worlds.

The first reason to track Buckner is that in the last six months a new wave of interest in the women's 135-pound division has hit the "startup" shows. Gina Carano, for instance, has proven to be a goldmine for both Strikeforce and EliteXC while BodogFight's first pay-per-view featured Tara LaRosa. Looking ahead, BodogFight started a 125-pound division as well, while smaller shows are featuring all-women's cards similar to HOOKnSHOOT Revolution back in April '02. From that perspective, Amanda is one of the only women who fought back in the women's 135 lb. weight class breakout of 2002 that is still fighting today. Along the way, Buckner has won several titles including the International Fighting Championship's United States Women's Middleweight Championship, the Ring of Fire Women's Lightweight Championship, and the Smack Girl Open Weight Championship of '06. Amanda was the one Jaqueline Andrade beat at 145 lbs. to become the Women's Light-Heavyweight Champion and Tara LaRosa beat in the first season of BodogFight's "reality" show to earn her PPV shot.

Another reason is BodogFight's reality series. No matter what your feelings about the promotion, BodogFight is making big waves with its second season currently airing and the Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Lindland PPV in April. On Season 2, which taped in St. Petersburg, Russia in December, Amanda beat Julie Kedzie and earned the right to fight on the PPV against Hitomi Akano. Akano beat Tama Chan on Season 2 to earn her spot. From that perspective, Amanda is one of the only fighters to fight on both Season 1 and Season 2 and one of the only people that can accurately compare them. Amanda's fight against Julie Kedzie can be viewed on

The real reason to track Buckner though is she is, plain and simple, an exciting fighter. Watch her fight against LaRosa in BodogFight Season 1 or former HOOKnSHOOT Champion Jennifer Howe in Extreme Challenge for what was widely cited as being fight of the night on those cards. Amanda's win over Julie Kedzie was more cut and dry, but Akano is a closer matchup to Amanda just as LaRosa was.

FCF: How do you feel about being part of BodogFight?
AB: The organization is something I'm really enjoying being a part of. It is definitely a place I'd like to make my home so to speak as long as they want me around. I have a pretty good relationship with them so far I think. I think they like the way I come to fight and hopefully they will keep me around for a while. I've never been treated as well as by them, I'll put it that way.

FCF: What do you mean by "never been treated as well"?
AB: A lot of it is money based. I haven't had really bad experiences like you get there and don't have a place to stay. I've had pretty good luck at Sven [Bean's] shows, fighting in Ring of Fire. I fought in some other really good shows and had some good experiences but Bodog is just on another level as far as backing and budget. It makes you feel like you are being taken care of more as a professional athlete. You can actually live off it as opposed to having to fight once a month to pay your food bills.

FCF: Most of your fights have been in relatively established shows, such as Extreme Challenge and IFC. BodogFight has only been around since the "reality show" taping last August but is basically Euphoria MFC who you have fought for bought by a larger group. The question is how do you view BodogFight?
AB: I don't really think of them as a startup show because they are so large in scale and the fighters they have on the show are established names like Yves. It is not like a startup show where you haven't heard of any of the people. They have good money behind them, people like Miguel [Itturate] doing the matchmaking, and Jeff Osborne just getting hired [as Commissioner]. The people are way beyond anything you could consider startup but it is a whole different thing that the MFC too. It was a whole different experience. So far I've only done the two TV shows and that is a whole different experience as far as the filming and then the fights themselves are on a closed set. MFC [Mixed Fighting Championship] was run really well but was a regular event. I'm not sure, maybe it will feel a lot different doing this next one which is an actual live event with people watching and whatnot.

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