I’ve written plenty of stories on wrestling, usually pro wrestling. In fact, I expand to boxing from time to time with stories on various boxers like Yuri Foreman and Dmitry Salita. But meet Marina Shafir – one of the toughest women I know – well – sort of know. She is a MMA fighter looking to make an impact. Below is her story. Pay attention because she is going places.
1. Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Sorrocca, Moldova. I have 2 older brothers, my mom is a seamstress and my dad was a mechanic. My family moved to the United States in 1993. I'm not sure if it was the synagogue or a Jewish community, but we got help getting an apartment and my parents got an English teacher.
As a kid, I was always outdoors. My mom was guaranteed to deal with knotted hair, dirt under my fingernails, and bruises EVERYWHERE. I didn't speak a lick of English but playing was universal. I started judo at the age of six. Nothing too serious, just an activity to keep me busy (plus it was the cheapest sport my family could afford at the time). I competed until I was around 19, I just fell into depression after hurting my lower back (also the traveling and competitions were not cheap, on top of getting hurt I didn't want to put my family into anymore debt). I bartended and worked at Starbucks for a while which seemed to be the perfect combination, until I decided to start training again. Aside from the training stuff, I have an urban style, an obsession with sneakers; I love to cook; I have a weird obsession with old school Kung Fu movies and mornings are my jam!
2. What was your Jewish upbringing like?
My Jewish upbringing is a bit interesting. I wasn't brought up Orthodox, but my parents raised me to respect Orthodox Jews. I went to a Jewish school from Kindergarten through third grade. My mom didn't cook Kosher, but when the holidays came around she did. She made the best matzoh ball soup and hamentashen. We lived in the same apartment complex as our rabbi, who trained me for my bat mitzvah (even got to blow the shofar), but I never had the ceremony.
3. What got you into MMA?
I got into MMA after I started doing Jujitsu. At the Jujitsu school I trained at, there was boxing, Muay Thai, grappling and wrestling. I enjoyed doing all of those things, and then someone suggested fighting, and I thought it would be fun.
4. Are you excited about the Ultimate Fighter TV Show? Do you think it will help your career?
I'm stoked for the ultimate fighter show! It's going to blow a lot of people away when they see the talent and heart these kids had on the show. I hope it helps my career! Hopefully I don't look like a doofus while I coach!
5. What can people expect from the show?
Drama. With a capital D.
6. Who are you most excited to face in the Octagon?
Hmmm, the top five women in the 145-pound division. But every fight is exciting!
7. Have you ever considered professional wrestling like WWE? Think you could handle it?
Who knows! I definitely won’t shoot WWE down! Those shows are intense! And the fans are REAL and LOYAL. The story line is always intriguing with those shows. I know the wrestlers have to take their personas home with them, I don't know if I’ll be able to handle all that..
8. What is next for Marina?
I just want to fight. I hope that's next.