Sarah Kaufman sparring with a training partner in the cage. (Adam Zugec)

Vancouver Island fighter chasing million-dollar prize

Victoria MMA star one of eight invited to compete in eight-month tournament

The best pound-for-pound fighter to ever come out of the Island is competing to win a cool US$1,000,000.

Victoria Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star Sarah Kaufman is one of eight women selected to fight in the Professional Fighters League (PFL), which offers the winner a US$1 million prize.

The PFL is a unique MMA tournament, where fighters compete in a regular season earning performance points, with the highest scorers facing off in a knock-out tournament, culminating in a New Year’s Eve final.

ALSO READ: Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

“It’s an exciting opportunity to be part of the first female division at the PFL and it’s a chance to have potentially four fights and win the million dollars within seven or eight months,” says Kaufman.

“I’m actually going up two weight classes, normally I fight at 135 pounds and this is 155, so it’s going to be quite a different experience.”

It is almost unheard of for a fighter to become a champion in a weight-class two divisions higher than their normal class, but what Kaufman might miss in brawn, she makes up with talent and experience.

Boasting a formidable record of 20-4, Kaufman faces competition with far less experience. Despite Olympic gold medal winning judoka Kayla Harrison installed as the bookies’ favourite, Kaufman is confident of rising to the challenge should they meet. Unusually for someone of her weight-class, Kaufman possesses formidable punching power, with half her wins coming by knockout. She is also one of the few women in Canada to hold a Brazilian Jiujitsu black belt, widely regarded as the most difficult belt to attain, in the world’s most devastating martial art.

ALSO READ: Trailblazing Peninsula hockey player talks growing up as the only girl on the team

Kaufman hopes to rely on her pedigree as a former Invicta FC and Strikeforce bantamweight champion, as well as her experience competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) against legends of the sport Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko and Miesha Tate.

“I love what I do, my body is great and I feel at my peak. I only want to be in this sport to be the best in the world. I don’t need to do it to make a living, I do it because I love it and winning a million dollars is just a bonus. It’s a hard sport, you’re putting yourself at risk every time you step in there,” she says.

Kaufman has consistently been rated as one of the top fighters in the world, and while she is grateful to be competing in the PFL tournament, she says she has unfinished business in the UFC, where her career stalled following a bad car accident. Pundits have speculated that a return is likely if she has a good tournament, and Kaufman herself thinks she would be a strong top-five contender in the competition’s 135-pound division.

ALSO READ: Indian Army photos discovers footprints they say belong to our Sasquatch cousin

While reluctant to think too far ahead, Kaufman hopes to stay down to earth if she wins the money. She’ll keep her day job coaching all ages and abilities at Zuma MMA gym, but has promised her training partners a celebration.

“I’ve talked about holding a pizza party,” she laughs.

Kaufman joins Kayla Harrison, Genah Fabian, Bobbi Jo Dalziel, Svetlana Khautova, Roberta Samad, Larissa Pacheco and Morgan Frier in the competition. Kaaufman’s first fight can be watched on Thursday, May 9 on TSN 2 at 9 p.m.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Group continues to pull sunken, abandoned wrecks from Salish Sea

Dead Boats society inching towards 89 wrecks pulled from Capital Regional waters

People tab ‘Roaring ’20s’ as theme for Parksville sand sculpting competition

‘Topsy Turvy’ and ‘Celebrate!’ also considered for 2020 beach festival event

Port promoting tourism excursions for cruise ship passengers in Nanaimo

Port authority develops partnerships in advance of six ships arriving in 2020

Captain says nothing beats VIU volleyball program

Graduating player Andrea Cankovic has three national titles and isn’t quite done yet

Don’t be blinded by love: Saanich police warn of online dating red flags

Canadians lost about $25 million to romance scams in 2018

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Court awards Nanaimo woman $300,000 after crash exacerbates her fibromyalgia

Judgment follows 2015 motor vehicle accident on Turner Road

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read