'Soccer mom' fights pro MMA fighter

Most unfortunately, the MMA promotion Xplode Fight Series takes place on the San Pasqual Native American reservation, so it is not subject to state regulation. There have been a series of failures by the organization, but none so viral as a fighter dubbed Soccer Mom, for reasons that will shortly become apparent.

Katie Castro fought Kristi Lopez at XFS: Cerebral on July 19, 2014, and lost via strikes in 26 seconds. The bout is listed as pro, but there is no rational reason to license Castro as a pro; unfortunately, there is no fighter licensing for XFS. Lopez, on the other hand, was 1-1 as an amateur, and had already had her first pro fight.

In her next outing, Castro fought “Lethal” Laura Salazar, who was 3-0 as an amateur, and 1-0 as pro. Castro did a little bit better, lasting 28 seconds, instead of 26 seconds

Castro, at this point unable to last even one minute in two fights combined, and with no other fight experience, was next matched with Ilima-Lei Macfarlane. “The Ilimanator” was 5-0 as an amateur, with only one fight going the distance. The bout outcome was as certain as Bambi vs. Godzilla.

What Happened

Castro, clad in casual tights and top over a sports bra, is introduced as an independent fighter, meaning she doesn’t even have a gym. She looks distracted, like she can’t remember where her car is parked, or if she has one.

The referee asks both fighters, “Are you ready?” Never in the history of the sport has the answer been so resounding a no.

Castro wanders forward with a complete absence of stance, footwork, or conditioning, and attempts a hammerfist. Macfarlane slips that, and counters with a straight to the chest and a jab to the face. Having enjoyed such success with the hammerfist the first time, Castro tries it again. Macfarlane again slips and counters with a beautiful straight, this time to the jaw. Having enjoyed such success with the hammerfist now two times, Castro tries it a third time! Macfarlane slips and simultaneously counters with a straight. Soccer Mom collapses to her knees.

Linked up like a golf ball on a tee, Macfarlane lands a final right to the face and it’s all over. Elapsed time was just 10 seconds.


The Fallout

Although Castro has no children, the media saddled her with the Soccer Mom nickname, and the video went viral, even appearing on ESPN. XFS owner Gregg Sharp defended the matchmaking, and addressed the “haters” of his self-regulated effort.

“I am not naive in the fact that sooner or later a hater or two would jump on to our YouTube account and make something of nothing,” said Sharp to Collateral Damage MMA. "Let’s strip the names and gender away and take an objective look around the world of MMA. A 0-0 fighter debuted against a 0-2 fighter and the knockout was vicious. Does this not happen on every level of MMA short of the UFC? Of course it does.

"Now let’s add back the players real slow and see why there is nothing wrong with the equation and we can look across the board at promotions and sanctioned events all the way up to the big leagues and see that having a fill-in opponent happens quite a bit.

"First person we ask is her trainer does he accepts the fight, then we ask Katie if she accepts the fight. We then get her pre-fight with the doctor, wrapped up and they fight. Ilima wins by knocking Katie out and that is it. If we were not in San Diego, no one would care. If we did not have tons of talent that has come through our show no one would care.

The bout took place on tribal land in California, but beyond the reach of government regulators. California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster said his staff would not have okayed the fight, or for that matter even Castro’s attire. He took several steps to curb the practice of unregulated events.

Xplode Fight Series has not held a show since 2015. Sharpe is currently focused on Locked & Loaded, an arm wrestling promotion.

Castro never fought again, having gone 0-3, in a combined time of 64 seconds. Macfarlane would go on to become the inaugural Bellator MMA women’s flyweight world champion in 2017, and successfully defended it four times.