Melissa Shepard is Women's Mixed Martial Artist fighting out of Missouri (Destruction MMA) with a 5-3 amatuer record. I've been a fan of Melissa for quite some time and have been following her career since I heard about her. She has big plans to continue as an MMA fighter and make her professional debut in due time to see exactly how far up the ladder she can climb. Keep your eyes peeled, as "Cruel Intentions" is definitely a Fighter on the Rise that you should be following!
Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up and what was life like growing up? (Family, school, friends)
I grew up in a small town named Doniphan in Missouri. Everyone knows everyones business. It's that small. Lol
Were you involved in any sports as a youth in or outside of school?
I went to Doniphan School and I played basketball and softball. I had a lot of friends but my best friend as a teen was named Jami Kelly. We used to go mudding and riding around out on the country roads and cruise town. Like I said, small town not a lot to do. Outside of school I wasn't involved in any sports.
What is your favorite child-hood memory?
My favorite childhood memory would be staying the summers with my childhood best friend Marissa Willcut Day. We were exactly alike and just like sisters. Some of my best memories of my life were made in those summers with her.
Any interesting child-hood stories and/or fun facts?
Interesting/Fun facts about me are that as a kid I was extremely aggressive and always got kicked out of ballgames and got in fights with the neighborhood boys. I wore a few black eyes at a young age.
Getting involved in MMA:
How did you get involved? What discipline did you begin with and care to share a bit about your early experiences learning the sport(s)?
I was first introduced into MMA by watching the pay per view cards on tv. Tito Ortiz was my favorite fighter.
My older brother David DeRousse was an amateur MMA fighter and kickboxer and later introduced me to his gym. From then on I was hooked.
I first started learning how to throw basic punches with proper technique. This was hard to me. I thought I'd never get it right.
Then graduated to basic kicks. And so on and so on. Slow stages.
At what point did you know you were ready to step in the cage for the first time?
I trained anywhere from 6-8 months before I asked my coach if I could finally book a fight. We set a month we wanted to be ready by and booked my first fight.
When the cage locked behind you in your first fight, can you recall what went through your mind? How did your first fight turn out?
It was also a debut female. When the cage door locked I thought to myself alright she is gonna try and hurt me, I better try and win this thing and hurt her first. It lasted 32 seconds and I won by tko. My brother cornered me and I listened to every word and it worked and it worked fast.
What are 3 things you've learned while being involved in this sport?
Three things I've learned in this sport are:
1. You get out what you put in.
2. be ready at all times
3. Anyone can win. Records don't matter always.
What gym are you currently fighting out of?
Currently I fight out of 10 planet Jiu Jitsu and Destruction MMA.
What is your current record (ammy/pro) and at what weight?
I am a bantamweight and my record is 5-3-0. I have fought highly ranked opponents in the tri state area and enjoy the challenge.
Do you currently have a nickname in this sport? If so, what is it and why?
My nickname is Cruel Intentions Shepard. I acquired this name from always going too hard with people in the gym. If we were suppose to throw hooks at 30% I did 80%. I ended up getting a few newer students wanting to quit.
If you could improve one aspect of your game, what would it be and why?
If I could improve anything in my MMA game it would be my footwork. I see people with beautiful foot work like they are graceful and in harmony with their fighting steps. That is something I am currently working on.
What is your most memorable experience as an MMA fighter?
My most memorable moment as a fighter is when I won my first bantamweight title. How hard I worked for it and how proud I was that I won one in such a short time as a fighter.
Any interesting stories to share or learning experiences whilst fighting you would like to share?
One interesting story I have to tell about my amateur fight career is that I have already beat a Pro fighter. I fought for another bantamweight title and won against a girl that was already Pro and had lied on some paperwork and did some name changing. That is a funny story not many can tell.
If you could offer one bit of advice to an aspiring fighter what would it be?
My advice to any aspiring fighter is to never give up on your dreams. Do the impossible. Shock the world!
Would you like to give a shout out to any sponsors individuals who have supported you?
I would like to give a shout out to some of my Sponsors: Hype Xtreme Fighting has been more than fantastic to work with. Thanks Dave! Wes and Christy Bye from Cash City and Cash City Fight Club. Kristin Haga from Sunkissed tanning and her fabulous fit body wraps! Shurfit Mouth guards, they are by far the best protective mouth guard I've ever tried. My coaches Joe Worden, Don Bell, Brittney Dugas, Matt Lewis, and my brother David. Also my new personal trainer Keith Harris.
What are your goals for the future in the sport?
My ultimate goal in this sport is to turn professional and see how far up the ladder I can climb.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the sport and where it's headed?
I think the sport is advancing at such a rapid rate that women are really at an advantage thanks to pioneer WMMA fighters such as Meisha Tate and Jeri Sitze, and Gina Carano to mention a few.
If you could change one thing in the sport, what would it be?
The one thing I would change in this sport today would be drug tests for amateur fighters. I think it is important for any athlete pro or ammy to not be at such an advantage over the other from performance enhancing drugs. In Missouri I have never been drug tested out of 8 fights.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
10 years from now I cant even imagine where I will be or where this sport will have gone. I am just happy to be able to compete now.
Some fun facts about me are that I am a cosmetologist and salon owner. I am also a nail technician. I am a girlie girl but can turn into a fierce competitor when its time.
I like lasagna and just about any type of Italian food.
Favorite type of Music:
I like all types of music.
My favorite movie is Stepbrothers
Favorite TV Show:
My favorite tv show is Sons of Anarchy.
My favorite quote is: "Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people…"
Do you have any children? Do you plan on having any/more?:
I have four wonderful children. Chris is 16, Hannah 15, Grace 13, and Danielle 11. The day each one of them were born were the best days of my life. I also have a wonderful husband named Tim. We don't plan on having anymore children. Our family is complete.
Best day of your life:
The day each one of my children were born!
Interesting/Unknown Fact about yourself:
Interesting/ unknown facts about me are that I used to judge beauty pageants, Im scared of heights, and I am also scared of the dark.
I don't really have many hobbies. I enjoy going on the river with my family in our boat. Camping, and most importantly fighting.
Who is your favorite super hero and why?
My favorite super hero is Thor. It absolutely has everything to do with the way he looks! LOL
Facebook Page/Fan Page: Cruel Intentions
Manager Contact (for sponsorship/fight inquiries): My manager is Joe Worden of Destruction MMA