Confessions of a Female Cage Fighter
Felice “Lil’ Bulldog” Herrig has been training at Curran Mixed Martial Arts in Crystal Lake, getting ready for Saturday evening’s MMA fight in Rockford.
You can’t find many female cage fighters.
That’s why 26-year-old Felice Herrig trains almost exclusively with men.
She wrestles with them, punches them in the face, knees them in the guts, picks them up and slams them on the canvass—all in a day’s work.
She’s physically attractive and she uses it to her advantage. She dares to be tough and sexy, she said.
“I’m not in the mainstream," she said. "I’m tough, super-aggressive. Why can’t I be tough and feminine all at the same time?”
Herrig fights at 115 pounds, and most of the men she spars with are much heavier.
She was training Wednesday evening with professional MMA fighter Joey Diehl. Diehl was showing her takedowns and submissions.
“It’s hard to find women that do this,” Brian Butler said. “It’s even harder to find little women that do this. Felice trains and spars almost exclusively with men. Felice is more dedicated than a lot of guys out there. She loves this sport.”
Butler, managing partner of SuckerPunch Entertainment based in Richmond, Va., is Herrig's manager. He flew in to see her fight, which will be part of the MMA show Saturday night at Rockford MetroCentre, 300 Elm Street, in downtown Rockford.
Herrig (5-3) will be facing Kelly Warren (3-0).
Herrig didn’t seem too worried about Warren.
“(Kelly Warren) is undefeated,” Herrig said. “I’d like to blemish her record a little bit.”
Felice Herrig's story
She’s a 2003 graduate of Buffalo Grove High School, where she participated in track and gymnastics.
Nearly nine years ago she started training as a boxer and as a kick boxer.
In 2007 she appeared on “Fight Girls,” a reality show on the Oxygen Network, a cable channel.
A former boyfriend gave her the nickname “Lil’ Bulldog.”
About three years ago she started fighting MMA. Her trainers are Jeff Curran—the famous cage fighter and owner of Curran’s Gym in Crystal Lake—and Doug Mango.
She has a huge following on the Internet. Her Facebook page advises visitors to go to her fan page because the original Facebook page is jammed full.
"I'm really into social media," Herrig said. "I know how to market myself."
Next month—available in stores—will be the video game Supremacy MMA, with Herrig as one of the animated fighters in the game.
She trains full-time, making a living from sponsorship money she gets from fight-gear manufacturers.
After her fighting career is over, she wants to become an actress and star in a movie in which she would portray a super hero.
A stunt-double for Herrig's action scenes probably will not be necessary.