“Mean Been Reen” Reena Norville (3-0 MMA, 1-0 Muay Thai) will step in to the Spar Star Promotions cage this Saturday night to face the 3-1, Maraya Miller. SSP Fight Night 45 will be sanctioned by the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization and will be held at The Commerce Casino and Hotel in Commerce, California.
Norville, 32, has a unique story. She is the wife to professional mixed martial artist and Marine Corps Veteran, “The War Rhino,” Shane Kruchten and together, they are parents to their young daughter, Balyn. But the tale does not end there for this fighting couple. Earning her MBA just this year, Norville began operating a contracting company with her husband and training partner; giving up a salary that surpassed six figures because she did wanted to be in control of her own schedule.
“Shane and I started our own general contracting company,” Norville told MyMMANews. “We were licensed in January but we had been working for months to achieve that goal. Probably around this time last year is when we started. He went to general contracting school to get his license. I was in the middle of getting my MBA. Now I’m running the books, the payroll, managing the estimations, and keeping the company afloat. As far as fighting, I don’t think any fighter gets into it for money. Fighters don’t necessarily get paid all that well. It’s something that we love to do, especially if you are a competitive person, it is something you want to compete in. I honestly like to do it to see how far I can take myself mentally and physically, and see where I stack up against these people you see on TV. You idolize them and then you realize ‘oh my gosh, I’m not actually that far behind them.'”
For somebody who fights just to see how well they compare, Norville is doing quite well. The 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu student is undefeated with all her MMA fights coming within a three month span in 2018, followed by Muay Thai earlier this year. With both the contracting gig and fighting going her way, the choice to walk away from a career was easy.
“I was making six figures, but I hated my job,” Norville said. “I came home crying every day. What really set me off was on a Monday morning my boss asked me how my weekend was. I told him, ‘oh it was good, I went to the beach.’ And then I ask him how his was and he said, ‘ I was here all weekend.’ I questioned him, ‘Saturday and Sunday?’ He was like, ‘yeah.’ Then I looked at him and I was thinking, ‘I don’t want that when I am his age. I want something different. I want something more. I don’t want my life to revolve around work all time. Yes there is a point, but when you are already unhappy in your job and then you see something like that, it clicks. I was just like, ‘I don’t want to be here anymore.'”
Getting into Combat Sports
“I got into it to get back into shape,” she said. “I was playing soccer in college. After I college I started working and I got out of shape. I went back to try and find some sort of gym and get into shape. I was always an athlete in some way, shape or form. If I can’t go up a flight of stairs, it frustrates the hell out of me. That’s where I was at work one day and I was like, ‘I’ve had it. I have to get back in shape.’ I looked around. I was in San Francisco at the time and Gilbert Melendez had a gym. I stumbled in and I met Josh Clopton who is a former UFC fighter as well and he coached me my very first day there. I fell in love with jiu jitsu. I was like ‘ok, I like this as a hobby.’ I started doing it and it just turned into something else. I am competitive so I started competing and then as I kept getting better I needed to find something else. That’s when I got into Muay Thai, and then wrestling and then started competing in those as well. I was then able to transition them all to MMA as well.”
Fighting is a Family Affair
With both husband and wife competing, and a daughter in the mix, fighting is in the family blood, but it also makes for extremely emotional times.
“When either one of us is fighting, Balyn isn’t always necessarily there,” Norville said. “She’s with us when we are going and cutting weight, to the gym, and sweating it out and stuff. It’s something that we do together as a family. It’s something she loves to do together with us. That’s the hardest part. There’s just two days where I’m always nervous as hell when Shane is fighting. It starts at weigh-ins. I’m afraid something bad is going to happen and Shane is not going to make weight. Even though he has never not made weight, it is still something that is terrifying. The second day is fight day. The fight day is ok. We are all cool, calm, collected, but once he starts getting ready to go backstage, that is when my heart starts racing. I am just a nervous wreck and I can’t stop sweating because I’m so nervous for him. I know he is good and I want him to perform well, but this is the type of sport where it literally takes one punch to turn the fight around in your opponent’s favor. That is the hard part, knowing that.”
But is Shane just as nervous when Reena fights?
“He’s told me that he is nervous wreck, biting the towel, nervous as hell. I haven’t really seen it. He kind of hides it until I turn around and face my opponent. That’s when he freaks out.”
Weight on Point
“It’s actually going really well,” Norville said about the weight cut down to 115-pounds for this week’s fight. “I was under where my coach wanted me to be so I actually have to eat a little bit more than I was planning, so that’s great. The weight is falling off. The weight shouldn’t be an issue at all. I feel great, I’m moving well. I think my cardio is the best it has been in a long time. I’m excited.”
Training with Shane
“This camp he hasn’t really been training with me as much, but yes I do train with him,” Norville said about training with husband, Kruchten. “He helps me out a lot with jiu jitsu. For my stand up, I have my coaches. He’s always coaching me even if I’m not rolling with him. He’s always there.”
“I haven’t seen any film on her,” she said. “The only thing that I’ve seen is a couple highlights. I imagine she is going to come out and pull guard or take some shots because nobody has seen me go to the ground yet. I can only imagine that would be any opponents’ game plan for me.”
Reena is competitive in nature but understands she does not need to set out to be a world champion over night, and she won’t overexert her body to do it either.
“I know that I’m not as young as the other girls,” Norville said. “That doesn’t necessarily have anything on me. If anything it means that I’m wiser, I’m smarter, I train smarter. I try not to get hurt as much. I’m not pushing my body quite as much, that way I can keep the miles going. My main goal is not necessarily the number of fights, but more of listening to my body and seeing how long I can do it.”
Visit https://www.sparstarmma.com/ for ticket info and to watch Reena Norville compete this weekend.