Mandy Polk is a Memphis, Tennessee native who graduated from Germantown High School as 3-time National Cheerleading Champion. Most people assume she was a wrestler, but Polk was 26-years-old the first time she stepped on a wrestling mat.
“MissDemeanor” Polk elaborated a little on her beginnings, stating “Many people ask me if I wrestled, or if they know I cheered they’ll ask if I wish I wrestled. Don’t get me wrong, I would have LOVED to have found wrestling sooner in life than I did but I am grateful for and rely on my experiences that led me to becoming a champion early in my pursuit of athletics.”
She credits her early years as a cheerleader for helping her develop her mindset and habits that have made her a successful fighter.
Polk is currently one of few active professional fighters fighting out of Memphis and the only female pro, which is something she’d like to see change.
“As a pioneer of WMMA in the area, of course I’d love to see more female pros and more pros in general coming out of Memphis,” Polk said. “I do think Memphis needs fewer gyms and ‘fight teams’ in order to be more effective on the regional and national scene. Really, I’d love anybody I’ve put a lot of work in with to do well. I’m super excited to see Komodo Joe Tran and Kendal the Crocodile Hollowell as pros, both are athletes whom I have put in a LOT of time with one-on-one, on the mat and in the gym.”
She feels like being from an area without a lot of professional fighters has been a disadvantage for her in her career because matchmakers are typically looking to match her against their fighter, generally giving her less notice at a different weight than what she prefers to fight at and feels the match ups are usually meant to favor her opponent.
Polk is ecstatic to be signed with Bellator and claims it’s undoubtedly one of the best things that’s ever happened to her. She intends to win the fights she has left on her contract in a dominant fashion to secure her position with Bellator and establish herself as a serious threat to the 115-pound weight division as a whole. Polk says she’s inspired by a lot of the OG’s of the sport such as Cowboy Cerrone and jokes that anytime she sees a woman who does something no one thought she could do, she “cries like a baby.”
She said she’s also inspired by the show Survivor and is even thinking about applying for casting, stating that “Life can be hard so I love stories where people made joy and found victory in even the most dire situations.”
About a month before everyone was told to quarantine, Polk was at American Top Team in Coconut Creek training with the numerous high level professional female fighters there, something she hopes to continue once the gym opens again.
Despite her gym being closed Polk is still working with her coach Steve Bruno and when she doesn’t have combat training works with fellow IFBB Fitness Pro Jenny Worth. Polk believes she’s in the best shape of her life and wants Bellator President Scott Coker to know she’s fight ready as soon as fights resume again.
Cameron Pollard is a freelance writer and WMMA competitor from Memphis, Tennessee, who is passionate about telling in-depth, fighter conscious stories.