|Shauna “Lil Thunder” Carew image from Facebook
The life of a fighter is a tough one. It is constant training that drains you mentally, physically and emotionally. Each and every day you leave a little piece of yourself along with your blood and sweat in the gym. You carry the aches in muscles and joints. You deny yourself the foods you desire. You stay at home to rest your aching muscles and joints when your friends go out to play at night. You get used to always having some degree of physical pain in your life. You get used to being mentally and emotionally drained. The fighter makes all of these sacrifices and more without complaint, grinding out their daily training and often working another job, with the goal, the dream of fight night. That moment when you walk out to the cage to your music, hearing your name and the crowds cheer. Wearing your sponsor’s names, and hearing your supporters encouraging you. But what do you do when you cannot find anyone to fight? That has been Shauna “Little Thunder” Carew’s plight. She fights at Atomweight, the 105lb weight class and has a tough time finding fights at her weight class in Australia. Fortunately that is about to change on May 11th when she will be a part of the first female fight for Eternal MMA at Eternal MMA II Remorseless. It is only her third MMA pro fight. She was gracious enough to take the time out from her training to answers some questions.
Dwayne: Women’s MMA is growing quickly here in the United States. What is the state of women’s MMA in Australia currently?
Shauna: “Over the past 2 years WMMA has definitely seen a lot of growth here in Australia. When I first started training, there was only a handful of girls fighting and now we are seeing more and more WMMA fights appearing on cards all around the country. We are still light years behind the US as far as numbers go, and the majority of girls here are fighting in the divisions above mine.”
Dwayne: I know in the past you have struggled to find opponents, especially in your weight class, is that improving for you? Do you want to speak about the frustrations of not finding opponents and having to take fights against larger opponents outside of your weight class?
Shauna: “Yeah that’s right, it has been really frustrating not being able to fight as often as I would like to purely because there has been no one at the 105 lb division. My amateur fight I gave away 16lb to take the fight. I was lucky enough to be matched for my first pro fight on Brace’s All Female card at 105lb which was awesome. In February I accepted a fight at 115 lb – unfortunately this earned me a loss on my record, and although the urge to fight is strong – I won’t fight out of my weight division again. My next fight on Eternal MMA is actually at 100 lb – which is a great weight for me to fight at. The lowest recognized division is 105 lb and I generally walk around somewhere close to this weight. To consider going up a div to get fights again, where girls are cutting from 125 -130 lbs – and I walk around at close to 105lb is just something that is not going to happen again.”
|Shauna “Little Thunder” Carew credit: Facebook
Dwayne: You made your debut on BFW 17 Australia’s first all female MMA card. Are there plans for another all female card in Australia?
Shauna: “Brace Australia took a big risk in putting on the first all female card and I was honored to be a part of making history there. Although there was a lot of interest shown and some great support, I think we will begin to see more and more female fights being added to general fight cards, as opposed to another all female show.”
Dwayne: Do you feel more pressure in your fights because of the limited opportunities you have had so far?
Shauna: “It’s hard to get noticed and get experience with the limited opportunities that I have had the pressure I feel is more about putting on a good show, getting the win and being able to display my skills in the opportunities that I get. I know many promotions here and overseas are watching me closely, so I can only hope to keep getting opportunities here to be able to prove myself.”
Dwayne: What do you enjoy most about the fights themselves? And why?
Shauna: “It’s so hard to put into words…I love the rush, the adrenaline. When the cage doors closes and its time to do work – I love it! Competitively being able to test my skills against someone else. Oh and punching chicks in the face is kinda fun!”
Dwayne: Are you naturally a competitive person?
Shauna: “Yes, but more so with myself. I‘ve been told I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to exceed and do better. I have high expectations of myself and want to be the best that I can, push myself further and prove to myself firstly that I can succeed. Everyone else comes later.”
Dwayne: What do you enjoy most about training, and why?
Shauna: “I love the dedication and commitment. My whole lifestyle has changed since I began training 2 years ago. MMA is my life, everything I do revolves around it. Training, eating, sleeping – If I’m not at work, I’m generally doing one of those three things. The people I have met through this sport are a huge part of my life and I look to them as my family. The MMA community in Australia is so small, and everyone pretty much knows everyone involved.”
Dwayne: What do you enjoy the least? And how do you motivate yourself to push through?
Shauna: “Honestly I love every minute of it, as much as I complain when things aren’t working for me, or if it takes me a long time to learn a certain technique – I love it all. Frustration with myself is probably the only thing I dislike – and then I just try to tell myself to suck it up and keep going.”
Dwayne: Many people do not understand the team element of MMA. How much do your teammates help you prepare for a fight?
Shauna: “Although you are in there on your own in the cage come fight time, you wouldn’t be in there at all if it wasn’t for your team. My coaches and team mates are the ones that grind through every day with me, helping me to get better and be more prepared.”
Dwayne: You have mentioned you are shy, but you do not fight with shyness. What is it about the fight that brings out that bolder, more fierce side of you?
|Photo by Emerson Photo
Shauna: “Any shyness or worries or nerves completely disappear the minute the cage door shuts – it’s like I can switch it off and all I focus on is my coaches’ voice and doing what I have to do. I have changed a lot personally over the last few years; people that knew me years ago would never have guessed that I would be doing this today!”
Dwayne: If you could meet one fighter and have them show you one move, who would it be and what is the move?
Shauna: “I would love to meet Ronda Rousey – being such a pioneer for women’s mma – and to learn the secret to her seemingly unbeatable arm bar! She is a beast!”
Dwayne: Where does the nickname “Little Thunder” come from?
Shauna: “Little Thunder came about in preparations for my pro debut. A promoter from the US who had been doing some work with me at the time called me “thunder from down under” and a close friend and her partner at the time called me “little devil” – so when I couldn’t choose and wanted to respect both parties, the promoter for Brace suggested “little thunder” – a mix of both and so it remains.”
Dwayne: You are now fighting in Eternal MMA’s first female fight for their promotion on May 11th. What do you want to tell the fans about that night and your fight?
Shauna: “I’m really excited to be fighting on this card for a number of reasons. It’s the first female fight that this promotion has held, it will be the first time I have fought at 100 lb (45 kg) – which is a better weight for me to be fighting at, and I get to be on the same card as my training partner Jacob ‘J-Money” Mahony who will be fighting in a 4 man tournament. I’ll be fighting Nusreen Ispahany from Langes MMA in Sydney. This will be her debut fight, however she has been around the scene for a long time, training in Thailand and competing in BJJ competitions. Having significant fitness industry experience and years of training under her belt – I am not underestimating her at all. This is gonna be a great match up!”
Dwayne: Is there any one you want to thank?
Shauna: “First and foremost my head coach Mal Vanderaar, without him – I wouldn’t be stepping foot inside the cage! My striking coach Dean Wall, and my wrestling coach Mark Brady. I must also thank Brett Irvine and Ethan Law who have spent a lot of time working with me during this camp. All my team mates at Impact MMA – without these guys pushing me, helping me, meeting me for weights and sprints (Bec ‘rowdy’ Hyatt and Adrian ‘road rage’ Rodriguez) and being there as a huge support everyday without fail – they are all my family and I love them! Big thanks also to Matt Cooper and his team at Advanced Martial Arts for also helping me out during this camp. Finally a big thanks to my sponsors Fitness Innovations, Artists Outlook, Kellie Rose Designs and Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia – your support and sponsorship helps me be in the best I can be.”
That is a little insight to Shauna “Little Thunder” Carew. She showed tremendous heart in the fight in February where her opponent, Christine Tatnell, looked like a giant compared to her. In her first professional fight at BFW 17 all she did in earning the unanimous decision victory was take home FOTN honors as well. Her fight on May 11th Eternal MMA II Remorseless will not be streaming live but hopefully will be up on Youtube quickly. Meanwhile you can follow her on Twitter @aussiefightgirl. She does not have a “fan” page for Facebook but she will add anyone as a friend who wants to follow her fight career to her personal page. Give her some support on her MMA journey.