|Dr Rosi Sexton in her cage fighting attire
Lots of people lead double lives - but Inside
Out met someone whose two passions couldn’t be further apart.
Meet Rosi Sexton - doctor of mathematics by
day, caged fighter by night!
Rosi Sexton is an unlikely fighter.
She’s a high achiever
in the academic world of Manchester University where she’s just become
a doctor of maths. In this world, she’s quiet, unassuming and calm.
But in her spare time she’s also a top British fighter
in the rather unusual sport of cage fighting – otherwise known as mixed
martial arts. Put her in a cage and she becomes fierce, feisty and quite
from the University of Manchester
Rosi says, "Both I do because of the challenge. Maths
is obviously a mental challenge.
"With mixed martial arts what everyone sees is the
physical challenge, but there’s also the mental aspect.
"It’s like a game of chess. The difference is you’ve
got to do it while they’re hitting you, which is a bit more challenging!"
What is mixed martial arts?
Mixed martial arts combines techniques from different
disciplines like wrestling and boxing. There are few rules making it as
true to real fighting as possible.
The cage is there for safety - to stop the fighters falling
out of the ring.
In America it’s big business but has only taken off here
in the last five years. It isn’t recognised by any UK governing bodies
despite its historic origins.
Karl Tanswell, a Mixed Martial Arts Coach says, "It’s
the original Olympic sport…. It’s the ultimate athletic endeavour."
It was Rosi’s tenacity, rather than a natural talent,
that impressed Karl enough to take her on at his gym in Manchester.
Karl says of Rosi when he first met her, "I thought she
was too small and that she’d get hurt… I just wanted to get rid of her
|"A few women over here want to fight Rosi
- but they're not on her level."
|Karl Tanswell, Trainer
Through intense training and dedication, Rosi has become
Karl says, "She trains like a pro. She’s disciplined,
she takes her nutrition and she rests when she needs to… and that’s what
you need. If your preparatio
n is good, then your game’s going to be good."
Dedication is an all-around attribute for Rosi. Maths
isn’t an easy subject and to become a doctor of it requires dedication.
Lack of opponents
Mixed martial arts is a male dominated sport – there
are only a handful of female competitors in Rosi’s weight category in
Britain and she’s fought and beaten them all.
Rosi’s last major fight against Carla O’Sullivan was
in April 2003. This means that she has now literally run out of opponents.
Rosi says, "It gets frustrating sometimes. I don’t get
to fight as often as I’d like."
how to be a winner
Mixed martial arts certainly isn’t for the faint hearted.
But Rosi claims it’s not as violent as it looks because fighters submit
rather than fight to the end.
Rosi says, "It’s one of these sports that the tabloids
love to jump on because they can play on the violence, which is a shame
because if they could see what was involved in the sport and the technicality
of it, I think a lot of people would change their mind."
Despite no official recognition all competitors must
be licensed and insured. According to the industry, injury rates are very
The shortage of women in the sport hasn’t done Rosi’s
game any harm, but with no major fights to look forward to it is a challenge
for Karl to keep her motivated.
Now that Rosi’s trounced the available talent in Britain,
Karl is looking abroad to Japan, France and America for serious opponents
in Rosi’s weight category.
In the meantime Rosi is to continue training and practising.
Considering her experience and dedicated personality, it is likely that
however long she waits, she’ll be fully prepared.