Thursday, March 15, 2007


By Mick Hammond

While much of the attention the IFL has garnished has been focused on the team coaches, and rightfully so, there is none the less an abundance of talent within the assistant coaching ranks.

For example, Renzo Gracie’s Pitbulls have incorporated former King of Pancrase Ricardo Almeida as one of their assistants. The Anacondas of Bas Rutten’s leadership have brought in top tier instructors such as BJJ Master Sergio Pena and Muay Thai guru Shawn Tompkins. Perhaps even more impressive is the pool of talent Matt Lindland has drawn from for his Wolfpack in the form of National Champion wrestler/MMA veteran Chael Sonnen and current PRIDE Middleweight/Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson.

Yet, among all the talent within the assistant coaching ranks, one name stands out amongst the rest, Debi Purcell of the Marco Ruas-lead Condors.

Purcell, one of the true pioneers of woman’s MMA, brings decidedly unique and equally skilled attributes to the Condors as an assistant coach, which will itself be on display when the team takes on the surging Sabres at the IFL’s next event on March 17th in Los Angeles.

Shortly after one of her personal training sessions, Debi spoke to MMAWeekly about joining the IFL, the Condors’ upcoming battle, and the state of women’s MMA.

MMAWeekly: First off Debi, How did you get involved with the IFL?

Debi Purcell: Marco just asked me. [Laughs] When he asked me to do it I was in shock because I didn’t expect it. I was just really, really happy and grateful for the honor.

MMAWeekly: Nobody says, “No,” to “The King of the Streets” Marco Ruas do they?

Debi Purcell: No, you don’t say, “No,” to Marco Ruas. [Laughs]

MMAWeekly: What did you think of the IFL prior to joining as an assistant coach on the Condors, and what do you think of it now that you’ve had one show under your belt and your second coming this weekend?

Debi Purcell: I might kick myself in the butt after saying this, but this is true, I did tell Gareb [Shamus, IFL CEO] this so I guess I can say it, when I first saw it for the very first time in the first season, I didn’t really like it. I thought that production was quality, it was good, and I liked what they were trying to do, but I thought it was a little boring, not enough excitement.

I actually told them that when me asked me what I thought about it. [Laughs] But, I have to say that since then, they’ve come a very, very long way in changing that and trying to do something about it. They had a good concept and were trying to be professional about the whole thing, so that and what they are trying to do now [combined] is turning into something amazing.

MMAWeekly: What do you think of the way the IFL conducts business?

Debi Purcell: My personal experience with them…I wouldn’t be able to describe it words because the way that they treat me and the fighters is the first time in my fight career I’ve ever been treated like a professional athlete. I don’t know how to explain this, but it’s been a really great experience, you really feel like an athlete there and that’s really rare in this sport.

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