Interview With Roma The Panther Pawelek
You got involved in boxing first, What made you first decide to begin MMA in 2010?
When I started boxing in college, I founded a Fight Club so that I could gather more training partners. One of the members had a strong grappling background and he started to teach jiu jitsu half of the days. I really liked the ground game. In fact, it suited me better than standup. When I finally joined a fight gym when I moved to Montana in 2010 I wanted to combine everything I’ve learned and try MMA.
You were involved in a lot of male activites when you were younger i.e football, basketball and boyscouts. Do you think all of that has helped you now vs the female sports and activities?
I guess I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy growing up. Most of my friends have always been guys so I’ve never felt out of place in a male dominated sport. I’m sure growing up participating in those activities made me tougher and probably drew me towards trying combat sports.
What motivates you day in and day out when it comes to training?
I often remind myself that being a fighter is only a short time period in your life. When I feel unmotivated, I remind myself that one day I won’t be able to do what I do (perhaps injuries, career, family, etc) and that I need to cherish every moment I have available to train. No matter how difficult training or the mental aspect may be, someday I’m going to miss it. Including all the “worst” days.
Standing across your opponent right before the fight starts, what is going through your mind?
At that moment my mind is empty. I’m focusing on breathing and staying calm. I don’t think it helps to get too hyped up before the fight starts. I always choose a calmer/slower walk out song and try to take slow breaths. My adrenaline is already high; I don’t need to increase it any more.
What is the biggest misconception about you?
Because I’m a “fighter” people sometimes assume I’m cocky or aggressive. Really, I’m a bit shy and pretty sensitive.
What is the best advice you have been given?
My best advice regarding training comes from my coach Tyrone Angolia. He says to view yourself as though you are a million dollar industry. Meaning: take care of your body, train smart, work on the mental aspects of the game, and keep the long term goals in sight.
How was it training with Charmaine Tweet in Canada?
Training with Charmaine was an amazing experience! I met a lot of great female fighters that have become long-term friends. The coaching was fantastic as well. It was also my first time training with a top level Invicta fighter and I had some of my hardest sparring rounds of my life with Charmaine. I feel bad for any opponent that step in the cage with her!
I know your goal is to get into Invicta. If they were to call you up tomorrow and offer you a fight who would you want it to be with?
I would accept any fight they offered me! I’m not picky. At some point though I would like to rematch Aspen.
What has been you most memorable experience in the sport so far?
The most memorable was flying out to my pro debut alone this past Thanksgiving. I took the fight on short notice and last second my coach wasn’t able to come. I met Rachael Smith and her corners on my layover. They cornered me and helped me through everything. After the fight I met two female fighters I’ve wanted to meet for a long time (LeAnn Amundson and Heather Wilson). It meant a lot to me that they drove out to cheer me on.
If stranded on a dessert island what three things couldn’t you live without?
Books, iphone, coffee
If you had a steamy scene in a movie with a male actor who would you want your co-star to be?
Definitely my boyfriend, haha.
Most embarassing moment?
There are too many! And most of them I probably shouldn’t immortalize on the internet. One that comes to mind:
I overslept one morning for my favorite Kettlebell class. I rushed out of bed and put on the first pair of pants I could find (which happened to be my younger brother’s plaid PJ bottoms). They were a little snug, but I figured it would be ok. I got to class in time and was in the front row when we were doing KB swings. You all probably see where this is going…the pants ripped right along the middle seam. Bad day not to wear underwear.
If everyone had to wear a Warning Label what would yours say?
Dance Moms, My 600 Pound Life, Hoarders
Here is the time for any shout outs you would like to do
First I want to thank my management team Linda Kriner and Roger Mitterling. Also a huge shout out to my coaches and teammates at Performance Martial Arts, my chiropractor Tim Frieh DC, Rise Fight Shop, MMA Roadhog, Sportsfood INC, Deathwish coffee, and all my other fans and sponsors.
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