She might consider herself a “peacemaker” when it comes to family feuds, but when Deborah Garcia, 31, competes in her first professional cage fight this weekend, she’ll be ready to start a war.
On Saturday, Nov. 10, Garcia, San Antonio’s first professionally-sanctioned female Mixed Martial Arts fighter, will go knuckle-to-knuckle with Deborah Wofford, 37, during the Texas Battlegrounds Professional MMA Cage Fighting event at the AT&T Center.
Representing Power Team Jiu-Jitsu and Fitness, Garcia, a plumber who owns her own business, has been training everyday for three weeks since learning she would be a replacement for an injured fighter. Despite the quick turnaround, Garcia has been sweating it out with personal trainer and MMA fighter Rudy Hernandez. This includes hours spent in the Spartan Pit, a training room at Power Team that resembles a construction site more than it does a gym with everything from tractor tires to sledgehammers to keep athletes in pain and in shape.
Having grown up with four brothers, all of whom are now in the military, Garcia can take care of herself. She says she is ready to be a warrior in the cage. Garcia sat down with the Current to talk about training, to tell us what it feels like to get punched in the face, and to scare the hell out of us with the size of her forearms.
How did you get interested in cage fighting?
When UFC `Ultimate Fighting Championship` first came out back in the ’90s, I was blown away. I wanted to fight like that but could never find a place in San Antonio that was training fighters for that. Then Power Team came along and I wanted to see what it was about and how good I would be in it.
What is it about Mixed Martial Arts fighting that you like?
There is variety. You can go from grappling to ground-and-pound. In MMA, everything goes.
Tell us about the Spartan Pit.
It’s awesome. I think that’s something every athlete should be in. It’s overall conditioning. I think basketball players are even doing it now. I’m getting stronger and my energy level is higher.
What do you tell people that say men are naturally stronger than women?
It’s true. Well, there are guys that come in that just started and it’s easy to flip them a few times. But the fighters that know more about it, they’re tough.
What does it feel like to get punched in the face?
At first I was kind of shocked. But you get used to it. I’m always looking to get the punch in and don’t realize that I’m getting hit.
And hitting someone? Don’t you worry you might hurt another fighter?
I like it. It’s like a rush — knowing my ability. I think if I did hurt somebody I would be sorry
afterwards. But during the fight, I need to hurt her, make her give up, or knock her out.
Did you get into a lot of fights in high school?
A couple. I would always stick up for the nerds that got picked on because they were my friends. I was in ROTC and athletics so I had friends
everywhere. I would
always try to defend them. I’m not an aggressive person, but in a fight, I think I can be the aggressor.
What does your family think about you
They didn’t take me seriously until the fight card came out and they saw it on the internet. They’re worried. Ever since that movie Million Dollar Baby came out, they’re like, “What if something happens to you? What if you fall on a bucket?”
What is the girliest thing about you?
I like to cook. I’m always looking for recipes online. •
Tale of the tape
Name: Deborah Garcia
Weight: 135 lbs
Hometown: San Antonio
High School: Southwest High School (c/o 1995)
Day job: Plumber (owns Tapout Plumbing)
Favorite MMA fighters: Debbi Purcell and Frank Shamrock
Favorite movie fight scene: Fight Club, where Edward Norton fights himself
Professional Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fighting
(Xtreme Fight Championship)
Sat Nov 10
One AT&T Center Parkway