UFC 299’s Katlyn Cerminara Opens Up on IVF, Miscarriages That Kept Her From Fighting

Miami, FL — If you don’t recognize one particular name on this Saturday’s UFC 299 card, don’t worry. You do know her.

Katlyn Chookagian is finally going by her legal name, Katlyn Cerminara, professionally starting with UFC 299, where she faces Maycee Barber. The flyweight was actually married several years ago, but dedication to Armenian fans and fan recognition in general made her hold on to her maiden name when it came to fighting.

At the same time, since all her paperwork, legally speaking, has Katlyn Cerminara, she’s finally making the switch.

That was not the takeaway from Wednesday’s UFC 299 media day appearance by the “Blonde Fighter,” a longtime veteran and former title challenger. Instead, it was Cerminara opening up about the tragedy that has kept her out of the octagon.

At last summer’s UFC X, Cerminara told Cageside Press that she was dealing with some nagging injuries. On Wednesday, she revealed to us that that wasn’t exactly the case. Not sports injuries anyway.

“Actually, so for the past year, I’ve been going through fertility treatments. It’s been a long year, that’s kind of why I thought I was going to be taking [time] off from fighting a little longer. For the last year, I went through three, four rounds of IVF, and I had two miscarriages.”

A clearly emotional Cerminara then explained that her return to fighting is to get her mind off that tragedy.

“It’s been a trough year, but I wanted to take a break from that, not just mentally but physically,” she told us. “And going through fertility is so hard. It’s so hard that I’m taking a fight to take a mental and physically break from fertility treatments. I’m taking a fight, because this is way, way easier than dealing with that.”

Cerminara also knows that she’s not alone in her struggles to conceive. “It’s a shame because unfortunately I know so many people that are going through this right now. Just my friends alone, my close friends are dealing with this. And you hear it, but people don’t talk about it because it’s very personal and obviously it’s hard to talk about.”

“It’s really hard, and there’s so many people going through that, and the amount of mental and physical strain you put on yourself, doing like four to eight hormone injections a day, back-to-back. Not just the mental load but the physical load. In the summer, after I had my second miscarriage, I was 170lbs from all the hormones and everything. Taking this fight wasn’t just ‘okay, here’s a camp, let’s get in shape.’ It was dealing with the mental load of that, getting over that, and then it’s like ‘okay, I’m already big for 125, so now I’m even bigger.’ So I had to kind of reset my body, I needed a little bit of extra time to get back in to fight shape.”

Following her second miscarriage, Cerminara went to dinner with her manager, and told him she needed to get a fight. She was looking for a mental break, and fighting being something she loves offered that. “Taking this break and focusing on fighting has been a nice relief from the stress I’ve had this year,” she added.

As for opening up about it during her media day appearance, “it’s a weird thing,” she later admitted. “I went back and forth like, should I say something, should I just keep it private, say this?” Cerminara admitted she was concerned about being perceived as using her own issues to gain a platform. “But I do think that, even with like my friends and me being open about it, there were so many people that I would tell about it, and they’re like ‘oh you know what? I’ve been doing that [IVF] the past year.’ And then we would talk about it, and I would feel good.”

Katlyn Cerminara also found a lot of women on social media struggling with fertility. “There’s a lot of people going through this, which can be comforting, but it’s also alarming that so many people my age are going through this.”

Watch the full UFC 299 media day appearance by Katlyn Cerminara above.