A Sardis secondary grad is making history in the world of women's mixed martial arts (MMA) this fall.
Sarah "Cheesecake" Moras, who graduated from SSS in 2005 and fights out of Toshido MMA in Kelowna, is among the first group of female fighters ever to be featured in The Ultimate Fighter, a long-running reality TV show that premiered on FOX Sports 1 last Wednesday.
The first show saw Moras take down former top-ranked bantamweight Tara LaRosa of Albuquerque, N.M., in what has been called the upset of the show so far.
The victory earned the Chilliwackraised fighter a six-week stay in the Ultimate Fighter house in Las Vegas with 15 other contenders (male and female).
Their fights, both inside and outside of the ring, will be the stuff of the series for the next 13 weeks.
"It's basically like [the reality TV show] Big Brother except for you fight," Moras told the Times.
Having trained in MMA for six years, Moras tried out for TUF-18 (as the series is dubbed) in April at the prompting of her coach.
She had a good feeling about it right from the start.
"Sometimes you just know certain things are going to happen," she said. "I knew I was going to make it on the show." Getting a couple pointers from a fellow Toshido fighter who'd been on the series during a previous season didn't hurt.
The show's makers aren't super keen on Canadians' mythical politeness, for example.
"He just said we make boring television," Moras said of one show official. She was called back, though, and drew LaRosa as her first opponent.
"When I started training, she was ranked number one in the world for my weight class, so it was a pretty huge deal," Moras said.
Still, the 25-old-Canadian contender was undaunted.
"Obviously you're a bit scared like you're scared with any fight, but I was excited. I knew I had the skills to beat her, and I knew this would be the perfect place to show that."
A two-round win by decision, compliments of a couple Moras takedowns, a few submission attempts and a lot of punches and elbows, soon proved her right.
Like all the winners featured in Wednesday's two-hour TUF-18 premiere, Moras will now appear on the show for the next 13.
Apart from the series finale, which will air live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas Saturday, Nov. 30, all the episodes were pre-taped this summer, and Moras is sworn to secrecy about fight results and other drama that will be featured on upcoming episodes.
What she can say is that for six weeks she lived in a four-bedroom house in Las Vegas with 15 other fighters, no TV, no phones, no computers, no books, no music and a whole lot of TV cameras watching her every move.
"There's cameras always around the house," Moras said. "You're always mic-ed, so they sort of listen in on your conversations, and if you're talking about something interesting, then the cameraman will run towards you and start filming you."
Cameras in the bedrooms? In the bathrooms? Yup.
"You kind of just can't care," Moras said. "You sort of sign your life away when you go for something like that."
Even though filming wrapped up this summer, Moras had to wait till last Monday to get her first glimpse of what made it into the show.
She's blogging about the series for Sportsnet, so she gets a copy of each episode the Monday before it airs.
So far she likes what she's seen, but then the fighters haven't taken up residence in the house yet on the show, which is usually where the fun begins.
. The next episode of TUF-18 airs Wednesday at 7 p.m. To read Moras's blog, visit www.sportsnet.ca/mma/ufc/sarah-moras-tuf-18-blog-history-in-the-making.
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