Name: Ellen Grinke
Current city: Minot, ND
Gym you are fighting out of: Currently training out of a gym at Minot Air Force Base
Weight class are you fighting at: Strawweight 115 lbs
This is your debut fight; tell us what it is like heading into your first MMA fight?
I am super excited to have my very first MMA fight. I have been training for about 3 years and I am very thankful that I got this opportunity to show how hard I have worked. Heading into my first fight, I have learned that it is very tough not only physically, but mentally. I have been very good at staying positive and to enjoy this journey.
What do you know about your opponent?
I actually do not know anything about my opponent. I honestly think it is good that I don’t know anything, because I don’t want to start comparing myself and psych myself out. I am just going to assume that she is tough and is going after the same thing I want, which is to win.
What are your strengths?
My hunger and drive for this sport is one of my biggest strengths. I would say that I am a well-rounded fighter. I love stand up striking but if it goes to the ground, then I am very comfortable there as well.
What inspired you to be in MMA, and what drives you daily?
Funny story…I took my very first boxing class for fun at a UFC gym, and immediately fell in love and became obsessed with it. After my first class I thought to myself, “This is it. THIS is what I want to pursue.” It made me feel so alive. I was driving about an hour every day after work to take class, and would stay to workout after. I would literally sit at my desk at work and low key watch MMA fights all day and study different fighters. What drives me the most to keep training would have to be my teammates at the gym. They work their asses off every day, and it inspires me and keeps me going.
What are your future goals, both inside and outside of the gym?
I would love to be able to travel and train at different gyms from all around the world. My biggest goal before I joined the military was to go to Thailand for a couple months and train because those people are straight up savages. I would also love to open up my own gym sometime in the future.
Do you have any pre-fight superstitions/traditions?
As of now I don’t have any pre-fight traditions, but I do know that any time I am about to go into the cage, I will always sit back and reflect on my life and be thankful for the opportunities I have been given.
Is there anything you wish people knew about you?
Fun fact about me, before I started fighting I grew up dancing for 8 years. Hip-Hop was definitely my specialty. Dance opened up so many doors for me and I was lucky enough to travel everywhere for conventions. I met a lot of amazing people along the way. It was a huge passion of mine and still is.
Do you have an occupation outside of the MMA world?
I am currently Security Forces in the United States Air Force. I have my bad days, but joining the military was the best decision I have ever made.
Who is your biggest supporter in the fight community?
I would have to say my parents. I know they would probably rather see me dance instead of getting punched in the face, but no matter what choice I made, my parents have always supported me. They have always told me how proud they are and how much they love me, and I will forever be thankful for that.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank heading in to this weekend?
I would like to thank Gerald Rivera for seeing something in me and taking his time to mentor me while he was here in Minot. I would like to thank my coaches and friends at WolfPack MMA in Rockwall, TX for training me when I first started and always supporting me — you guys will ALWAYS be family, no matter the distance. If it wasn’t for that gym, I wouldn’t be where I am at today. I would also like to thank all of my family and friends here, and back at home, for sticking by my side through everything. I have a lot of people I look up to and I am grateful that they are always there to help me.
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