Printed from www.thewhig.com web site Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - ©
2006 The Kingston Whig-Standard
Queen of The Cage'
Tuesday, April 18, 2006 - 07:00
Local News - When the imposing wire cage closes down on Mike
Sweeney's wife Rebecca for her first ever mixed-martial arts bout next
weekend, the last thing he'll be worrying about is her safety.
"If anything, I'll be more concerned for her opponent," said Mike,
whose business partner and wife of three years will take on New
Mexican fighter Thricia Poovey at a U.S.-circuit, mixed-martial arts
event April 22 in Calgary.
Although it will be Rebecca's first competitive fight, Mike Sweeney isn't
losing sleep over what may happen to his sweetheart inside the cage.
"I know her skills and I know what she's capable of. She's a killer."
The Sweeneys run Martial Arts Planet in Kingston, a well-known self-
defence school where both are also instructors. Mike has owned the
school for almost 20 years and met Rebecca when she enrolled in the
adult kick-boxing program after moving to Kingston nine years ago.
He immediately knew she had talent growing up, Rebecca had played
just about every sport she could but it was her tenacity and
ferociousness that made her the fighter she is today, Sweeney said.
"Rebecca certainly has the physical talent, but she invests more hours
than just about anybody else that I know in getting good at this," he
said. "She's in the top five per cent of anybody that I've ever met. She
trains like a pro."
Becoming a pro isn't something for which Rebecca is shooting, even
though the circuit in which she's fighting on April 22, King of The
Cage, bills itself as a professional organization. The event she's
fighting in is dubbed "Carnage."
She says she's treating the fight as a personal challenge rather than a
stepping stone to a professional fighting career.
"I'm expecting to win," Rebecca says matter-of-factly.
"But I just want the experience just to see what I can do, to see what
my training has done for me. It's just another challenge."
Mixed martial arts, or MMA, is what its name implies a blended form of
one-on-one combat incorporating boxing, kick-boxing, wrestling and
submission holds. A combatant will pick and choose various elements
of different fighting disciplines in order to knock his or her opponent
unconscious or force the person to tap out.
"No holds barred," Rebecca says.
MMA is a sport that still suffers from a stigma, the Sweeneys say.
Despite gaining popularity in the late-'90s and being held in high
esteem in other parts of the world, that stigma has meant people often
perceive MMA to be nothing more than a brutal blood sport.
The Sweeneys say it has hurt the sport's credibility as a legitimate
athletic competition. In reality, MMA is a sport of precision and intense
mental focus requiring relentless physical training, the fighting duo
"As scary of MMA might seem, the reality of it is that it's safer than
boxing," Mike says.
"To the average Joe, there's that stigma. For those who train, it's
nothing like that. This is what we do," Rebecca adds.
Rebecca, originally from Deep River, Ont., moved to Kingston nine
years ago with no idea that a dormant passion for martial arts brewed
inside of her. Her daughter signed up for karate at Martial Arts Planet
and, looking for something to do in a new city, Rebecca took up kick-
boxing. It was the key that unlocked a consuming passion for combat
"I love the challenge of it," she says. "There's always something new to
learn and it never gets boring. There's always that next level to attain."
For Rebecca, that next level is seeing if she can hang with a fighter
who's got some real ring, or cage, experience. It's a role that suits her
"I like coming in as the underdog," she said.
Sweeney vs. Poovey is the only women's fight on the 14-bout card.
Female participation is still rare in MMA, Rebecca says, but many of her
students in Kingston are female.
"There's certainly women who are interested, but it's just a matter of
getting in the door and doing it," she said.
In the lead-up to her first fight, Rebecca has stepped up her training
regimen. In addition to her regular teaching, she's in the weight room
two hours a day and in the ring sparring whenever she can.
Both Mike and Rebecca are confident going into the fight, although she
says he might be a little nervous deep down.
"He's nervous for me, but he knows this is going to make me happy
and he's very supportive," she said.
If he is nervous, Mike isn't showing it.
"I know what she can do," he said. "I don't think there's any way her
opponent is as prepared for this fight as Rebecca is."
TTT Best of luck Rebecca !!!
I found another article in the Calgary Sun. It is linked near the top of this
Whoop ass lady! Woot woot!
Best of luck to the Sweeneys!
All the best!!
Nice!!! Good luck Rebecca.
I'm suprised the Whig Standard printed that article. We've been trying to get them to acknowledge MMA and our fighters for a few years now, and they refuse, stating it's illegal, immoral, etc.
Thanks guys. Rebecca lurks here, so she reads the comments, and I know
she appreciates the support.
Way to go Rebecca! Good luck.
Rob: If I knew the secret to the Whig (or any newspapers) I would use it on
a much more frequent basis. :)
Rebecca, nice article! Wishing you an awsome fight. You're looking lean and mean!!! First fight's the best. It's an unbeatable high...
Let's stay in touch. I have a fight in November, and I'm looking for a training partner. If you're interested, maybe we could get together. Kingston's a pretty short drive away.
Again, all the best to you and Mike,
Wagnney always says the Rebecca skills are for real and that she hits like a Mac truck.
Good luck Rebecca!
Rebecca by ref stoppage 1st round!!
Rebecca is a stud!
Rebecca is a determined, hard working, gifted, tough athlete.
Best of luck! Make us fellow Kingstonians proud!
Good Luck Rebecca!