Getting back to Bellator, and in particular Bellator 172, now that some time has passed, what’s her take on the stoppage? Mayo, who saw her debut fight waved off due to a doctor’s stoppage late in the first round, suggested after the bout that the call might have been made due to the fact that she’s a girl, whereas a guy might have been left to fight it out to the closing bell. It’s a statement that’s hard to argue against when you consider similar injuries to Mark Hominick at UFC 129 and Matt Mitrione at UFC Fight Night 81. At the very least, gender-related or not, it seems like some fighters are given more leeway than others when it comes to recovery time, and fighting through injuries.
“The more I watched it, the more strongly I felt about my opinion and my stance on it” Mayo explained. “Maybe if he’d checked my eye and actually done a vision test and tested it, done an actual test I would have felt like it was more fair.”
What made it worse was Mayo being aware there was nothing major wrong with her eye that night. “I think just because of the nature of just walking up and waving your hands right away, without even knowing if there was anything wrong with me, and then going to the doctor an hour after that and having them be like ‘you just have a hematoma’ well crap, I’ve seen that in soccer, I’ve seen that in basketball growing up.”
“I kind of knew that.”
It was a frustrating end to her big debut. “I didn’t even have a concussion, everybody was like ‘oh my gosh how are you feeling?’ and I was like ‘I feel like I could fight next weekend.'”
“It was definitely tough, for me to be as competitive and fiery as I am, to just be like ‘oh yeah it’s fine, it’s all good’ – to me it wasn’t” Mayo stated in regards to the loss, which clearly still stings. “To me just having a TKO on my record when I’m grabbing the doctor, begging him to let me fight is a tough thing to swallow.”
Mayo definitely sees differences in how doctors (and others) approach the men’s side. “I’ve been watching a lot of fights recently and I hear the doctors say ‘hey, do you want to continue?’ I’ve heard doctors ask male fighters ‘do you want to continue?’ and I’ve heard guys say ‘no’ and I’m like ‘what the hell… you don’t want to fight? I would!'”
“I guess it’s the name of the game, something I need to be aware of. Whether or not I think it’s right or, it’s something that’s there, it’s a little bit of a bias that’s there” Mayo continued. It’s a bias she understands, at the end of the day, even though it certainly upset her last time out. “I don’t blame anybody for being more sensitive towards females, I think that’s a natural instinct to have, but it plays a factor in this sport. Whether people like to hear that or not.”
The loss no doubt hurt a little more given the close nature of the fight, which Mayo felt she had a good chance to win on the scorecards. Now, however, it’s time to move past the fight — and criticism of its position on the main card, which Mayo admits bothered her “a little bit” and to which she responded by saying “I lay it all out there,” later adding “if that’s what the fans want to see, that’s what they want to see.”
Looking ahead to Bellator 183, is she carrying a chip on her shoulder into the bout?
“I’m trying not to have a chip on my shoulder, I don’t like to carry that weight with me into a fight” she answered in regards to any emotions sticking around following her debut earlier this year. “Obviously it’s kind of there a little bit, the feelings are there, there’s a lot of emotions when it comes to fighting.”
Perhaps they’ll come out in the fight regardless, but Mayo is in a good spot leading into the bout. “I feel like right now I’m in a good place mentally. Of course I want to finish, I want a TKO, I’m feeling aggressive, I’m feeling strong and confident and good about everything in terms of my camp. So I totally want a KO, a TKO, a submission of some sort.”
“At the same time that can be detrimental if you overthink like that,” she cautioned, “and then when the finish doesn’t happen, the frustration starts to set in and that’s when you start to fight differently.”
“I’m trying to go in with a clear mind and an open mind, and take what’s there in front of me and not force anything.”
What’s her take on opponent Kaytlin Neil?
“She’s rangy, she kind of fights outside, not super forward aggressive, not the best grappler. I think it’s a good stylistic fight.” She’s seen a little bit of Neil previously. “When I first saw her fight, it was against Brieta Carpenter, because I was fighting Brieta when I was an amateur. I watched her [Neil] get knocked out in the first round by Brieta.”
“I know that she’s breakable.”
Brooke Mayo takes on Kaytlin Neil on the preliminary portion of Bellator 183 this Saturday. You can catch the action live at bellator.spike.com
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