Lauren Murphy speaks with MyMMANews
UFC flyweight Lauren Murphy’s mixed martial arts journey originated as an attempt to get her son interested in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at a Gracie Barra gym where she took the adult class to encourage him. She rapidly fell in love with the sport and found herself going as much as possible, stating “Within a few months I was learning MMA and about six months later I took my first pro fight. I was only going to do one fight, but somehow I ended up doing another and another… Four years after I started training, I was in the UFC.” Murphy jokingly admits her son never did fall in love with BJJ and quit practicing shortly after they started.
Murphy is currently navigating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the best she can, and says she feels lucky to be quarantined with her husband who just so happens to also be a black belt, that also coaches and corners her for fights. While she doesn’t regret the five years she spent at The MMA Lab, Murphy reveals she felt over-trained and under-confident there. The veteran opened up about her experience there stating, “At the time I thought ‘Maybe I just need to work harder’ but I’ve always been a hard worker. I was actually really over trained, which led to bad training sessions, which led to my coach treating me like shit. I was killing myself trying to earn respect, and it was never going to happen. The truth was it just really wasn’t a good fit and just not for me.”
Murphy decided to move back to Houston to once again work with the coach that trained her earlier in her career for her Invicta and Legacy fights. She says she’s much happier with not only her career but her life in general since moving back to Texas and feels it has shown in her recent performances.
The UFC flyweight says she loves that the UFC is trying to return quickly and had a lot of praise for the promotion, stating “The UFC really does pull out all the stops when it comes to taking care of the fighters, particularly at fight week. They want us to feel great so we can have great performances. My experience has always been that our health is top priority for the UFC. You can say what you want about pay structure or fairness to the fighters, or have whatever opinions you want about Dana White, etc. But I have always felt the UFC takes care of our health like no other promotion. I would not hesitate to compete for them during this time because I know how well they take care of the fighters.”
Murphy went on to say she hopes to fight on Fight Island and while it looks like her next opponent will be Roxanne Modaferri, she really doesn’t care who she fights, revealing that she eventually would like to fight all the women at the top of the flyweight division before her career is over.
Ultimate Fighter Experience
Lauren Murphy also opened up about her experience on The Ultimate Fighter, and while she didn’t seem emotional about it, she was brutally honest. She had plenty to say about her experience on the show with former UFC fighter and coach Eddie Alvarez, stating “He treated all the women in the house like they were jokes, like our dumb little dream of being the UFC champion was just a little game that these dumb little girls play. He was condescending. He would talk a lot of shit about the women, to the other women. If one of the women on his team lost a fight, he would wait for her to leave the room and then bash her to the rest of the team. He came to the mansion we were living in, ignored all of us, watched fights on his phone we weren’t allowed to watch, and got drunk with some buddy of his that none of us had ever seen before.
“He did things like make lists of the women on his team and then put a big red X through the names of the women he thought couldn’t win the tournament. Then he left his list sitting out where we all could see it. He refused to give us rest days. He brought in a new ‘coach’ every four days, for six weeks. They literally ran out of TUF jerseys for the green team because Eddie brought in everyone he knew from the East Coast. He had women who were bracketed to fight each other, spar each other before they were supposed to fight and would coach the one he thought had the best chance of winning. He was just an ass. Of course none of that was shown on the show. I’m proud of myself for standing up to him and not putting up with his shit. I feel bad for the other women on the team who stayed. They didn’t get to experience what great guys and coaches Justin Gaethje and Trevor Whitman were. It’s no surprise that team Alvarez performed like shit through the season and Team Gaethje killed it.”
Murphy says she felt she was misrepresented and none of Alvarez’s behavior was shown on the show largely due to the fact the original PR woman (who would later be terminated) openly admitted to being best friends with Alvarez. Despite all this, Murphy says she had a great time on TUF and would definitely do it again if given the chance. She summed up the experience by stating “ I loved meeting all the other women in the house, many of whom I keep in touch with to this day. It was such a unique and wild experience…. There were only two bad parts to it really: putting up with Eddie and navigating the editing power of the production crew.”
The 36-year old competitor went on to state she feels fight culture has definitely progressed for the better and credits Invicta for igniting a lot of change in the beginning. However, she does admit that even with the changes sexism is still alive and well in MMA, stating “There are a lot of male coaches and athletes in the MMA scene who still look at women as either sex objects, or not to be taken seriously at all. Hopefully this will fade over time as those types of people age out of the sport.”
“Lucky” Lauren Murphy says her Ultimate goal is to fight for the title and when she’s done fighting she would love to keep working with fighters, revealing “I like to teach, and my experiences with guys like Justin Gaethje, Alex Cisne, and Bob Perez, have shown me how important it is to teach and coach with encouragement and positivity. This sport has changed my life so much, I really hope to give back half as much as it’s given to me.”
Lastly, I’d like to leave you with some advice from Lauren Murphy to any fighters pursuing the sport: “Work hard, be consistent. You can slow down, you can cry, you can crawl if you have to, but don’t quit. I think the biggest lesson I’ve ever learned about this sport is that it is fucking CRAZY and anything can happen. Literally anything. So don’t give up, because you just never know.”
Cameron Pollard is a freelance writer and WMMA competitor from Memphis, Tennessee, who is passionate about telling in-depth, fighter conscious stories.