OK, so the basic setup for this show is similar to that of The Ultimate Fighter and The Contender – 10 female Muay Thai fighters live in the same house, train under Master Toddy and fight each other. The reqard is to fight in Thailand against a Thai champion.
The girls arrive in the house in Las Vegas, and of course they admire it. We’re introduced to Janine Jackson, a martial arts instructor and Miriam Nakamoto, a personal chef (which begs the question – would taking abuse from Gordon Ramsay be harder?).
Next in the house is Ardra Hernandez, who has had 11 pro fights and actually lives in Vegas, working as a cocktail waitress. She also has a daughter (who trains in Muay Thai) and judging from her crying, I’d say that Ardra is a single mom.
Next up is Kerry Vera, a realtor and wife of UFC heavyweight Brandon “The Truth” Vera – a guy who I’m anxious to see back in the Octagon soon. Gina is a gym owner and is looking at this show to get women more involved in the sport. Dawn Boyd lives in Las Vegas and is a grad student.
Michelle Waterson is a waitress from Denver. Lisa Mills is a teacher from New York. Jennifer Tate is a single mom from Stockton with 7 pro fights. The final fighter is Felice Herrig, and Aesthetician from Buffalo(?) Grove, IL.
It looks like most of the women here are in their 20s, with Ardra being the oldest at 31, so age shouldn’t be a factor in any of the fights, I think.
The girls get a call from Master Toddy, and are told to get out to Red Rock. The casino?
Red Rock Canyon
Guess not. Master Toddy appears on a rock up above and tells the women to make their way to him. He’s got quite the stereotypical accent, btw. Master Toddy tells them that he’s here to learn how the women fight. He tells them to enjoy the day.
There’s a knock on the door, and it’s Muay Thai fighter/Mixed Martial Artist Gina Carano, who will be their mentor for the show. Only five women will be going to Thailand, and all of a sudden there’s am uncomfortable silence in the room.
Lion Heart Gym
Master Toddy introduces the second mentor, Lisa “Black Widow” King, who states that Muay Thai is the deadliest of the martial arts with respect to striking. We get clips of training, and Gina Carano calls Master Toddy a genius. Since I’m not a Muay Thai afficionado, I’ll take her word for it.
Later, we learn that Master Toddy will be picking the fights, and the first fight is Felice vs. Gina. Master Toddy tells us that he picked this bout based on the similarities in weight and experience between the two. They fight in three days. Man, that’s a long time.
The one thing I notice about this show is that the girls are using laptops, they’ve got cellphones etc. They’re certainly not being deprived of anything… but where’s the fun in that?
Miriam is sleeping in the closet, apparently due to an argument with Felice.
Lion Heart Gym
Gina Carano has had about 5 different outfits in about 2 minutes of airtime. Are we sure that this show isn’t all about her? Anyways, she’s training Felice for the fight, while Lisa is training Gina.
Gina debates whether she wants her boyfriend there for the fight or not. Meanwhile, Miriam and Felice are still arguing.
Lion Heart Gym
Gina hurts her foot during training, and Master Toddy tells her to talk with Lisa about strategy. The next day he evaluates both of them against each other. And we get a look at their potential Thai opponent, Sornsawan Khenphet.
Back in the house, Kerry helps Gina with her foot. Felice goes out and gets her nails done. Gina goes to the doctor and gets some x-rays done. He diagnoses the injury as a grade 1 sprain, and tells here that she’ll probably need to suck it up for the fight. The other girls talk about the upcoming fight, and they don’t seem to agree on who will win.
Gina and Felice are packing, and Felice cries, so she gets some support from her dad. Gina thinks that the crying was just an act.
OK, we find out that the fights are three 2-minute rounds, so based on the clock it looks like we’ll see full fights.
Fight #1 – Felice Herrig vs. Gina Reyes
Felice comes out with kicks, they clince and Gina lands some knees. Gina gets an inside leg kick that causes Felice to stumble. Felice lands a straight left that stuns Gina. We get a bell and that means that we in fact DON’T get to see full fights. BOO.
Felice is swinging wildly and kicks Gina in the face with a front kick. Gina hammers away with side kicks.
Gina starts with knees from the clinch, but Felice comes back with punches, and gets more agressive as the round goes on. The bell rings, and based on what we saw, Felice probably won the fight.
Winner: Felice Herrig (Unanimous Decision)
Master Toddy thinks that Gina’s knees were good, but not effective enough, and Felice was able to work past that.
I’ll be honest, I’m not that thrilled about the lack of fighting on the show. This is not The Contender, where five rounds of fighting means that about half the allotted TV time is eaten up. Three 2-minute rounds means that you only need to devote about 10 minutes to the fight, and if you truly want to get more women interested in Muay Thai you should probably show the whole fight and see how it develops, instead of giving us the highlight reel.
I also felt that I didn’t really get a feel for the fighters or the training either, which is also troubling since that’s the entire reason for having this reality competition. Despite the presence of good-looking women, I find myself not really caring that much. Maybe this works for the target audience on Oxygen, but for me, Fight Girls isn’t really working.
Sir Linksalot: Fight Girls