Jesse Strader motivated by girlfriend’s time on “The Voice” TV show

Entertainment is a trending theme in the life of Jesse Strader.

The 5-1 bantamweight is dating Joei Fulco, a contestant on season 18 of NBC’s singing-competition show, “The Voice” A member of country singer Blake Shelton’s team, Fulco advanced to episode 12 where she was eliminated.

Although Strader’s career is currently on hold due to the pandemic, watching Fulco pursue hers is more inspiring than ever.

“It’s motivating to see somebody in another realm, but kind of the same thing, you’re entertaining people,” Strader said. 

“She goes out there and she has ice water in her veins. She goes on there, that’s where she’s supposed to be, that’s where she is most comfortable. That’s exactly like me in the cage, I got ice water in my veins in the cage. I’m so comfortable.”

Jesse Strader: “I never thought I would be doing any of this stuff with her”

Strader supported Fulco throughout her entire time on the show. The couple watched each episode from their house, which also served as a studio during the quarantine period.

Toward the end of the show’s season, Fulco competed remotely from home. Trader even pitched in to help the production side of things.

“They were filming like the last two or three episode from home, so literally, me and her brother were like setting up the camera and lights, doing the work for ‘The Voice’ producers,” Strader said. “I never thought I would be doing any of this stuff with her.”

A career of his own

MMA brought the pair together. In fact, the two attended the same gym and were friends for around three years before they started dating. 

While Fulco is pursuing a career in music, Strader is looking to return to the cage for the first time since August 2019. The California native is on a two-fight win streak, most recently knocking out Isaiah Batin-Gonzalez in under two minutes at Combate 41.

Strader is no one to go the distance, winning four of his five victories by finish. He is determined to earn another sooner rather than later.

“MMA is a short career, time is money and I’m ready to take it,” Strader said. “I’m feening over here for a fist fight.”


Strader competed for Combate Americas in his last four appearances. The 29-year-old is looking to branch out while Combate is still out of service during the pandemic. 

He was just a week away from competing for Combate this past march, but the event was scrapped due to the spread of COVID-19. Strader also eyed a return in September, but the opportunity fell through as well. 

According to Strader, he has been in a fight camp since last December.

Strader is staying optimistic, waiting for the next opportunity to come. After watching Fulco’s journey in music, Strader knows first hand what it’s like to see hard work come to fruition. 

“I’ve been itching so bad to just get in there and fight somebody,” Strader said. “It’s been a roller coaster of like, ‘OK, yeah,’ and then highs and lows, highs and lows. I’m staying positive, still pushing and staying with the grind, persistence and perseverance.”

See Bantamweight prospect Jesse Strader’s full interview with MyMMANews in the video above.

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Connor Northrup
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.