Breaking Point

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[dropcap]E[/dropcap]veryone has his or her breaking point. It is a trainer’s job to find it. To be able to push to that point and keep pushing until that limit is unrecognizable. Some say that there is a marked difference coming out of the training gate. Surprisingly, a woman’s initial breaking point is higher. Mixed Martial Arts trainers across the country will tell you that some of the toughest and most relentless fighters in their gyms are women. Janie Konyek is one of those women. Female MMA fighters have not received the recognition that they deserve at the amateur level, but it is coming. Janie Konyek (MMA Futures –Grey Hat) will compete in Tuff-N-Uff this Saturday, November 7 at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada for an Invicta FC professional contract. TufIFC

Kansas City based, Invicta Fighting Championships partnered with Nevada based Tuff-N-Uff earlier this year. Invicta, which launched in 2012 and has provided women’s MMA with the necessary platform to succeed and gain the recognition that it and the sport deserve will be in Las Vegas next Saturday November 7th. Invicta has become MMA’s premier all-female fighting promotion and the sport’s top amateur organization. Invicta FC and Tuff-N-Uff have partnered to promote WMMA and give professional contracts to the best up and coming female fighters.

jeff meyer
Jeff Meyer CEO Tuff-N-Uff
shannon knapp
Shannon Knapp Invicta President

Tuff-N-Uff has been promoting combat sports for over 20 years and is the first promotion to feature an all female MMA event in the State of Nevada. Tuff-N-Uff pioneered an amateur MMA program where amateurs can demonstrate their skills. Invicta FC President Shannon Knapp and Tuff-N-Uff CEO Jeff Meyer partnered in June. Tuff-N-Uff held a women’s strawweight tournament with Las Vegas’ own Jamie Moyle taking a decision over Molly Wren-Holmes to emerge as the winner and secure an Invicta FC contract. And this Saturday we will see a lightweight and a featherweight tournament winner move on to Invicta FC with a professional contract of their own.

Tuff-N-Uff has seen talented females come through their ranks over the years. Some have moved on to have successful professional careers. TUF 20 strawweights Angela Magana and Emily Kagan formerly fought for Tuff. Others include women like Kaiyana Rain, Jessamyn Duke, Ashlee Evans-Smith and most notably, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey who has certainly made an impression professionally. Here are the fighters announced to compete in the 4-women tournaments on Nov. 7 as announced by Tuff-N-Uff:

 The Featherweights (145 lbs.)

Leah Letson – Milwaukee Wisc. (4-0) vs. Pamela Sorenson – Minneapolis, Minn.(5-0-1)

leah 1                               pam 2

Heather Wilson – Williston, N. Dakota (4-1) vs. Paola Ramirez – Carlsbad, Calif. (3-0)

heather-wilson-01                             paula ramirez

 The Lightweights (155 lbs.)

Leanne Foster – Beaverton Ore. (3-1) vs. Felicia Spencer – Orlando, Fla. (3-1)

leanne foster                              felicia spenser

Jessica Richer – Long Island, N.Y. (2-0) vs. Janie Konyek – Omaha, Neb. (2-0)

jessica richer                              janie 3

MMA Futures – Grey Hat, Janie Konyek will compete in the tournament this Saturday. Janie Konyek 2-0 currently holds MMA Futures – Grey Hat Status and is an inaugural member of the Grey Hat Team. Tickets are on sale at the promotion’s official website, TuffNUff.com. The culmination of these tournaments will take place at a Tuff-N-Uff event in Las Vegas in early 2015. More information about this event, as well as the remaining bouts for the Nov. 7 Tuff-N-Uff card can be found at TuffNUff.com.

MMA Futures talked to Janie Konyek about the upcoming event. “The one thing they hate to tell you about fighting is that training camps are tough. Your mind and body can get exhausted at times. You have to push yourself through it,” says Konyek. Training camp can be extremely monotonous with hours and hours in the gym every day. When asked about how she got involved with Invicta, Janie Says, “I think it was Steve Wilson who first contacted me on Facebook though a group of 155 and up female fighters. He said that they might be having a 155 tournament so I contacted my manager, wrote up a bio and they called me back. It was pretty amazing.” The selection criteria is a bit secretive. According to Konyek a fighter must have at least three fights, have a good bio and the rest is between Shannon and Jeff. Chance Crestinger another MMA Futures Grey hat says,” Tuff is the best promotion I have ever worked with.” “Chance is a friend of mine and he told me that Tuff is a great promotion to work with. I am very excited to do the tournament,” Says Konyek.  When asked about her opponent Janie says, “I have seen a little bit but I know that she is a grappler and I am pretty much a stand-up fighter so it should be a good match-up.”

We all have our tricks for avoiding falling into a training rut, for some people it’s picking up and moving camps entirely; for others it’s bringing in new coaches or training partners, or adding a new exercise routine. “I have just been training and trying to get my mind right for this fight,” says Konyek.  For Janie, she sometimes gets a mini-adventure, a chance to train outside of the cage. Janie is a member of the U.S. Army and plans to retire from the military after 20 years of service. “It takes me away from my MMA training that I need for this fight but it kind of clears my head and gets me out of the monotony. I have actually been able to balance everything out with school and work this time, which has been really nice,” says Konyek.

Janie exudes a certain peace knowing that she is serving our country and doing something bigger than herself for all of us. Maybe that’s why the best MMA fighters are from here, the United States of America. Everyone has his or her breaking point. Janie has pushed the limit. Female MMA fighters like Janie Konyek have not received the recognition that they deserve at the amateur level. ” I feel really good about my chances, I know I am going to win and this is my time to shine,” says Konyek. And we agree.  There is a certain strength and survival element in the thought of defending your country that expands the limits of tolerance. Now Janie is finishing up with her fight training camp. She is fighting for an Invicta contract next weekend November 7th at Tuff-N-Uff in Las Vegas. And we can tell you that Janie’s breaking point is somewhere above. She has never been more ready for a fight.