Kelly Reilly is a fighter I’ve met when MMABLOGSPOT introduced me to Blue Petersen. She approached me as a manager figure for him, and the 3 of us became pretty closely tied. I’ve mentioned to her about interviewing her plenty of times, and then we both went on with our busy lives. I finally had the opportunity to sit down with her today!
Jason Przewoznik: Crazy Kelly, I’m glad we finally got to get this done. We’ve been in communication for a while, so I know a lot of what’s going on in your life, but let’s tell those who don’t know you… a little about yourself before we get started!
Kelly Reilly: I’m just the average girl…. born and raised by my father here in South Dakota. I’m 27 years old, 3 kids, and now a fiance! I’ve worked hard for everything I have… my whole life. I’ve been on my own since I was 16, finished high-school, graduated college, and one of the biggest accomplishments was getting physically fit. Every year since I have turned 25, I end up doing some outlandish thing (AKA a yearly mid-life crisis, haha). When most people go through the, “Gosh I’m getting old” funk, you think of them getting plastic surgery or travel the world… I’d say “normal”, but no, at 25 I hired a personal trainer! ….And at 26 I began MMA! I really didn’t know much about it; I had seen it on TV, been in a few scraps myself growning up, and well one of the promoters in my hometown area needed a girl to fight! So, me being me, I took it with no proper training or even knowing what i truly got myself into! …But I did it! I went all 3 rounds and lost by decision. Then I was hooked. I began training my boxing then moved on to my now love, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Now, I am helping others get their start as well.
JP: So you’ve been training fully for about a year ?
KR: Correct, a year and a half.
JP: Nice, I also noticed you said you liked helping others get their start in the world of MMA… Is that what Pinnacle MMA Management is all about? Care to share what it is you do there?
KR: Yes, I am an agent with one of the best in South Dakota. Omari Mamboleo and I have been working together for sometime now. He is where I got my start with training. There are so many athletes here that have no where to go, no idea how to start, and we work them through that to get them to the top. But, not only in MMA. I also help those who want to do what I did and become fit and healthy. 2 years ago I was probably about 160 lbs.; 3 kids really don’t give you time to do much, but I worked my butt off with my trainer Mark Bartels from Tryon gym and went from not even being able to run around a block without dying to running 6 miles no problem. I was eating healthy and I am now 110lbs (give or take). I help others, whether fighters or the average Joe succeed at that as well. I help my fighters get training whether it is me training them or getting them a gym. I also get them sponsors, fights, etc. I started off helping Blue Petersen and I moved to a handleful of guys now that I “babysit” as they call it.
JP: Geeze, 3 kids and you babysit grown men. Your hands must be full!! To top it off, you have to deal with me on a regular basis; Kelly “Superwoman” Reilly! lol …What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses in the MMA world?
KR: I know rough life isn’t it? (lol) My strengths would have to be my heart, I never give up no matter if my chances are small, I go in and give it everything! Also my ground game, it comes naturally to me, I have yet to be submitted in any of my fights. My weaknesses… dropping my left and the never endless breakage of my nose!
JP: Haha, I hear this almost every time I get a text message or a call about your fights, “I broke my nose, but I’m good!”. I find it funny, but that must not be too fun, haha. What weights do you fight at and what’s your floating record as an Amateur?
KR: I have faught at almost every weight in womens MMA. I started in a 140 while weighing 130. I am one of those that never fight at my own weight! …I have also faught at 145, 135, 125 and 115. All my fights after the first 2, I have weighed 115 lbs or less! …So I am known around here to take anyone and everyone no matter what size. My record is 7-6 now.
JP: Not bad, not bad. Must not be too fun fighting someone 20-30 lbs. more than you, though. Kelly’s a little rebel! I hear a lot of talk about you wanting to go pro soon?
KR: Yes, I plan to go pro here in the upcoming new year. I first will go and do a few training camps, work on my stand-up and Jiu Jitsu a bit more before I take on the world of pros.
JP: Very good, make sure you’re 100% before your pro record gets effected – I’m sure you’ll be 20-0 when you go pro, probably walking out with a broken nose from every fight though, haha. As you’re hitting the turning point of your fighting career (Ammy to Pro); Do you have any memorable fights, disappointing fights, or glory fights you’d like to share?
KR: My most memorable fight was probably my fight against Larrissa Murphy. It was the biggest test of my skill yet. I worked out of many subs put her in a few, but in the end my biggest weakness worked against me and she knocked me out. I give her props though, I have an iron chin and she did something everyone before her couldn’t. My glory fight though, was beating my first opponent in a “grudge” match. I walked in the cage unknowing what was going to happen, but in the end my hand was the one raised. Through all these wins and losses, I’ve learned to finally play smart and just because I can take the bigger weights, I shouldn’t. …So, NOW I stick to the 115lb weight class and I have reached #3 in the World WMMA rankings so far, now I just got to get to #1!
JP: Number 3, that’s impressive. With that, I need to make myself feel important (haha); You’re known as of recently for sporting “Knockout Lounge” on the butt of your shorts when you fight, how’s that feel? Amazing, right?
KR: It does, it feels amazing! (lol). Lets everyone know the best place to go to read up on the latest MMA news.
JP: Nothing like an unnecessary self-promotion plug, right? Haha. …But moving on, you mentioned going pro next year, do you have any set plans of action right now and do you have any upcoming amateur fights before you make that switch?
KR: Yes, I’m going pro probably around February, I want to ensure I’m ready for the best before I hit the pro circuit! I have 3 upcoming ammy fights set beginning October 14th; I go down to take on Summer Artherton in the Victory Fighting Championship event then all the way over to Michigan for WXC’s event where I go show Tori Music how it’s done. I then go for my first title fight in Wyoming next month!
JP: Ohhh now we get into the good stuff! Was hoping you’d mention your fight at VFC! Before I get into my little confusion about that fight, I gotta ask this – 3 fights in 2-months; 2 fights before you go for your first title shot. How do you feel about that, do you feel there’s enough prep time? Or do you prefer to just keep it moving and your head in the game 24/7?
KR: My head is always in the game, that’s what I have above many fighters… is nothing holds me back! I never stop training and my head is always in the game, it is second nature to me.
JP: Intense! Haha – Sorry for taking the leap, but back to the good stuff! Your upcoming VFC fight October 14th, you will be taking on Summer Atherton who has a 4-2 MMA record and is known for finishing fights. Though, I read her post-fight article, and a few things caught my eye as if there’s a bit of mis-information about you and your fight-game
(Can be viewed HERE)
Is there anything you’d like to clarify on this or discuss about this fight?
KR: Well, I’ve been wondering where she’s been getting her info… The interview actually made me laugh! I respect Summer to the max, but if I’m so unimpressive why am I ranked #3 and her well….. far from that? I have only taken 2 fights in my weight class, other than that I have beaten many fighters with anyway where from a 15 to 30lb weight advantage; one major one icluding #4 ranked 135 lb’er Margaret Bloom. But, people think as they will, I’ve had many call me out then to find out in the cage I’m nothing to mess with. Hoping she does what she included in the interview, and “take me down”. No one else is courageous enough to, and if she thinks she can handle it, well I’d like to see her try! …On a lighter note I am very confident in this fight; I have been working very hard training for this particular fight! I am not the fighter I once was, I have expanded my training areas and she will soon find out what I’m made of…
JP: Haha, I wish I was able to make it to this fight! Not to start a online feud, but in Summer’s interview page… One, they call you the HARD HITTING Kelly Reilly. I’ve seen you more as a woman, as many people you’ve fought seen, that you should be afraid to go to the ground with. Where DID they get their info from? Summer says maybe she’ll take you down – what are your thoughts on that?
KR: I’m not sure where she got that info from. I have a few videos on Youtube showing I can throw a punch, but those were fights early in my career. I do have a mean hammer fist though, it has caused hospital bills and a good set of stitches. I really hope she does try and take me down, it’s usually the one thing every other female fighter has been told NOT to do. Many have tried to submit me, all have failed. The only time I’ve seen Summer there was when she was knocked there…
JP: Ouch, that sounds like fighting words to me! …Which I guess works out well in this sort of environment, right? I’m pretty excited to see the results of this fight, though I won’t be able to make the trip! We hope you’re able to take the victory and show Summer how it’s done on the ground, Kelly! Don’t want to keep you too long, but gotta get to the fun stuff before I let you go! As you’re a reader of KO Lounge, you know this question: Who is your favorite super hero and why?
KR: Probably Batman; he has no special powers and yet he defies all the odds… Plus he has a sexy car!
JP: It’s definitely a fighter thing, 7 times out of 10; I hear Batman because he has no powers, but kicks some butt. A little cliche, Kelly. Haha
KR: At least I said he had a sexy car (lol).
JP: You’re a clown, haha. Sponsors, friends, etc – Is there anyone you’d like to send a shout out to or thank before I let you go?
KR: Well, I would like to thank all my sponsors and people behind me! Of course, Knockout Lounge because you are the shit! (haha). Deathpunch Fight Wear, Ripper Fight Gear, Down By Contact, Pinnacle MMA Management, Alien & Co. Tattoo, Tryon Gym, Omari Mambaleo, my trainer Jason Fertitta, and my Fiance Jake Tyree. Also, Ryan Stoddard for giving me this opportunity to fight at VFC!
Also a VERY special thanks to Advanced Sports Labs for affordable and extremely quick bloodwork!!
JP: Very good! Kelly, it’s been a pleasure – as it always is! Keep in touch and keep me posted on the fight results for you and Blue Petersen on that day! Keep that left hand up and take home that victory!