Kaytlin Neil is a 135lb. fighter out of Utah and is currently sporting a 3-0 undefeated record in amatuer MMA. Kaytlin brings brains, beauty, and a dominant fight style to the scene of women's mixed martial arts and hopes to continue her career in this sport for quite some time. She has plans to make the leap to the pros within the next year or two, and hopes to obtain a belt as an amatuer before so. This this can all become a near reality for her when she steps in the cage for Tuff N Uff on August 23, 2014 for the vacant Bantamweight title. Please read more about the life and future goals of Kaytlin "Katniss" Neil as she continues her promising career in WMMA.
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 Lindon, Utah. I have always had a solid group of friends that I am still in contact with often. I am the baby of the family, with two older sisters and no brothers. I am the closest thing my family has to being a boy. We were like any other average family.
Were you involved in any sports as a youth in or outside of school?
I was a cheerleader for six years, before that I did competitive dance and gymnastics. Our high-school cheer team took first in every competition we competed in, including nationals. I was captain my senior year.
What is your favorite child-hood memory?
Going to Cherry Hill with my family every summer.
Any interesting child-hood stories and/or fun facts?
I actually loved going to school, I’m secretly nerdy. I graduated with a 4.0 accumulative GPA and sat on the stage with gold chords for my high school graduation.
Getting involved in MMA:
How did you get involved?
My friends took me to some MMA fights my first year of college. I thought it looked cool, so I started training.
What discipline did you begin with and care to share a bit about your early experiences learning the sport(s)?
I started everything all at once. In my early experience I thought I was a rock-star until I sparred for the first time and got punched in the face. I went home bawling after practice that day and had second thoughts about my love for the sport, but sucked it up and went back to practice the next day.
At what point did you know you were ready to step in the cage for the first time?
Before I did an MMA fight my coaches had me do a few grappling tournaments and two muay thai fights. I asked my coach before my second muay thai fight that if I won my fight if I could finally do an MMA fight, things went well and then I stepped into the cage.
When the cage locked behind you in your first fight, can you recall what what through your mind? How did your first fight turn out?
I was just remember being mad because the boy I had a crush on at the time, his parents were corning my opponent. My first fight turned out a lot better than me or any of my family or friends were expecting. I got a submission in the second round.
What are 3 things you've learned while being involved in this sport?
1-Anything can happened at anytime in any fight.
2-Humility is a must.
3-No one deserves to beat you.
4-You are never done learning.
What gym are you currently fighting out of?
The Pit Elevated in Orem, Utah
What is your current record (ammy/pro) and at what weight?
ammy 3-0 135 (ammy)
Do you currently have a nickname in this sport? If so, what is it and why?
Katniss. My first year of college was when the Hunger Games books were popular, my friends said I acted like Katniss because I would kind of just run around and do whatever I wanted, so they called me Katnip (Katniss’ nickname in the book). Then when the movie came out I actually looked like Katniss, so it was settled.
If you could improve one aspect of your game, what would it be and why?
Aggression, I am not very aggressive.
What is your most memorable experience as an MMA fighter?
Winning my first MMA fight.
Any interesting stories to share or learning experiences whilst fighting you would like to share?
Half of the time I am fighting the most ridiculous thoughts are going through my head that have absolutely nothing to do with fighting. Like what I am going to eat after, if my outfit looks ok, what my mom is thinking, etc.
If you could offer one bit of advice to an aspiring fighter what would it be?
Stick with it.
Would you like to give a shout out to any sponsors individuals who have supported you?
My family, the Harper family, Warrior Fuel, Ideal Shape, Endevr, all the staff and coaches at the Pit Elevated mainly Arnold Anderton, Brock Jardine and Jason Mertlich
What are your goals for the future in the sport?
I want to earn an amateur belt and turn pro within the next year or two.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the sport and where it's headed?
I think that it is awesome that it is growing so rapidly, and I like that girls are more involved in the sport.
If you could change one thing in the sport, what would it be?
I would change that amateurs can’t do head kicks in all the states, I think they should be allowed to.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
On the Ellen Show.
BBQ chicken pizza
Favorite type of Music:
Anything but country
Favorite TV Show:
The Ellen Show
“I would rather die standing than have lived life on my knees.” -Unknown
Do you have any children? Do you plan on having any/more?:
No and not anytime soon
Best day of your life:
Everyday I’m alive.
Interesting/Unknown Fact about yourself:
I have llamas
MMA, cheerleading, shopping
Who is your favorite super hero and why?
Spiderman, because of the awesome kissing scene in the movie.
Facebook Page/Fan Page: Kaytlin Neil
Manager Contact (for sponsorship/fight inquiries): Brock Jardine, he can be reached via Facebook.
About the Photographers
Portaits taken by Brent Risley
Action Shots taken by Rob Norbutt
Images courtesy of ShowdownFights.com