A professional mixed martial artist since July 2014, Mandy Polk of American Top Team owns a 6-5 professional record in 11 bouts comprised of four submissions and two decisions. Polk has fought for numerous MMA promotions including Bellator MMA. In this interview with Myles Painter of MMA UK, she talks about how she got started in MMA, training at ATT and more. Enjoy!
How did you first get into mixed martial arts?
In 2006 at the young age of 20, I had already earned my IFBB pro card in the fitness division. I obviously had a huge passion for the sport, but my passion for the workouts waned. I found muay Thai and jiu-jitsu as an alternative way to train and eventually competed because I’m goal-oriented and competitive.
You have competed with numerous promotions, the most recent being Bellator MMA in October 2019. What is one piece of personal or professional advice you have received that has left a big impression on you?
I have to choose 2. One piece of advice was from Felice Herrig on the sponsorship/marketing end of things. I had made the trip to Crystal Lake in order to train with her some when I was in the area. I think I’ll keep what specifically was said private, but I’ll say it was funny and helpful. The next specific piece of advice I will never forget was from Tonya Evinger sometime around 2012 maybe 2013. She said, in regards to any type of advice she could give me, “It doesn’t matter because the best girls will end up fighting each other anyway.” I love how simple she made it and how true it turned out to be and is. It motivated me to work as hard as I could and put myself in as many uncomfortable training situations as possible. It’s funny that my Bellator opportunity came about the full circle as a result of a Facebook post Tonya Evinger made.
How has moving to American Top Team impacted your career?
Moving to American Top Team’s effect on my career has yet to be seen since I’d only been training here for three weeks when the gym was shut down. I miss my jiu-jitsu coach and teammates so much. That said, there’s a lot of live training to be had with female high-level grapplers and fighters that I am not exposed to as much at home, so I’m sure my comfort level with handling a lot of different situations will be apparent in future performances. So far all the coaches have been outstanding and the quality of training partners is second to none.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
If you follow me on social media at all, you may have guessed I am a turtle lover and owner. I consider myself a relative expert on all things turtle related, having started a newsletter for my very own Turtle Club at the age of 9. I charged money for it! Fifty Cents!
What is your favourite fighter or fight of all time and why?
Urijah Faber was always my favourite and then he retired. So it was easy to say Urijah was my favourite of all time and Edson Barbosa was/is my current active favourite fighter. Now Urijah’s back, but Edson is now my teammate too so this is a really, really, tough question.
My favourite fight was probably the one Urijah fought with two broken hands, showed a lot of skill and heart, and was eventually bested by Mike Brown, who is now one of my coaches.
When you are not training, what is your favourite thing to do for downtime?
I watch A LOT of TV but that’s only when I’m finished with all my clients’ diets. I still do a lot of nutrition programs for bodybuilding competitors and fighters. I love the Office, Bob’s Burgers, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to name a few. Anything funny. I also spend time meditating, walking Floyd (my turtle) outside, and painting/doing sketch art.