Olympians and MMA fighters are two groups of athletes who are regulars at tattoo parlors. When you combine both types of into one person, you are just about 100% guaranteed to find them sporting body art. UFC Woman’s Champion, Ronda Rousey, is one such athlete (she won a Bronze Medal in Judo at the 2008 Games in Beijing). Sara McMann, Rousey’s opponent in the February 22nd, 2014 title match at UFC 170, is another such athlete.
McMann was born in Maryland (in 1980), but has spent most of her life in the South. She attended high school in North Carolina and currently lives in South Carolina. She like to grapple from early on, becoming a wrestler in high school and went on to battle on the mat in college at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. Scholastically, she went on to earn a Masters in Education (focusing on mental health counseling) from Gardner-Webb University.
Sara’s wrestling days didn’t end when she graduated. In 2004, she traveled to Greece to wrestle on the U.S. women’s freestyle wrestling team in the Athens Olympic Games. She represented the U.S. well as she earned a Silver Medal, losing to Japan’s Kaori Icho by a single point the Gold Medal match.
Graduation from college, and the conclusion of the Olympics, did not mean the end of wrestling for McMann. Given the growing appeal of women’s mixed martial arts, she found promotions eager to sign her. In 2010, Sara originally planned to sign with Strikeforce, but contractual and logistical issues derailed that effort. She eventually got into the ring for promotions such as Universal Cage Combat, Blackeye Promotions and Titan Fighting Championships.
After getting her face bloodied in those lower-tiered promotions, she started moving up in the ranks. She fought for Invicta Fighting Championships before another attempt to fight for Strikeforce fell through. Finally, in 2013, Sara reached the pinnacle of her sport by signing with the Ultimate Fighting Championships (due, in no small part, Ronda Rousey’s pioneering breakthrough [UFC President, and founder, Dana White, had previously stated that women would never be signed to UFC]).
Once in UFC, Sara was able to get a bout in one of the promotion’s major events, UFC 159. There, she defeated Sheila Gaff by TKO in the first round. This subsequently opened the door to Sara getting a major opportunity when White made the Rousey vs. McMann the Main Event at UFC 170. McMann’s first shot at a title ended in disappointment, however, as a stunning punch by Rousey near McMann’s liver debilitated Sara just long enough for the referee to end the fight by TKO just a minute into the match. No doubt, Sara will be gunning for a rematch.
Outside of the octagon, McMann enjoys another strenuous role in her life; that of mother. She has a daughter with Trent Goodale, the wrestling coach at Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina. Sara is also very active in Habitat for Humanity, including helping rebuild homes in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake.
With all the good background on Sara, it’s now time for the fun body art. It should come as no surprise that she has quite a few tattoos. Among them in a very colorful collage of images that run from the middle of her back up to her shoulders.
You can find out more about Sara on her official website: http://saramcmann.com/
You can also follow her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/Sara_McMann