Sharice Davids took her first fight in 2006, long before MMA was on national television and part of the mainstream consciousness.

She fought off and on as an amateur for the next seven years, as she juggled law school at Cornell, working as a lawyer and traveling around the country engaging in economic development projects with Native American tribes.

Very shortly after Davids’ pro debut, the UFC announced it would be adding a women’s strawweight division. That was Davids’ weight class and the Kansas native decided to give it a go.

On one hand, Davids wanted to be a part of the continued progression of women in MMA. She also knew if she didn’t make The Ultimate Fighter 20, it would be something of a “last hurrah” for her in the sport.

So Davids traveled down to JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., in early 2014 to put in what she hoped was adequate preparation for the TUF 20 tryouts. Davids spent time at Jackson’s previously when she was working with Native American tribes in the area.

“When the opportunity presented itself, when it started to look like, OK, UFC might have women, it looked like a possibility that I could fight,” Davids said. “If I worked really hard, obviously, and things fall in place, I had the opportunity to get into the premier fight league. It was actually a hard decision to even take the time away to be able to focus on the amount of training you have to do to get to that.”

Davids, who had a 5-1 record as an amateur and a 1-1 record as a pro, acclimated herself well at tryouts. She submitted Nina Ansaroff, a current UFC fighter, once during a grappling session and was also tapped out by Ansaroff. The finish earned her a $100 bonus from UFC president Dana White. Davids was also happy with how she hit pads.

The preparation was there, she was in great shape and there were tangible results. But, in the end, Davids was not chosen for the show.

“When I didn’t get selected for Ultimate Fighter, I was like, well, I think it’s time to kind of shift my focus back,” Davids said.

Less than four years later, the MMA veteran is now a former White House fellow currently running for Congress. Davids announced her intentions to run for the Kansas 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives last month. If elected, Davids would be the first Native American woman to serve in Congress and the first openly gay federal representative from the Kansas delegation.

Davids, 37, is one of a number of Democrats attempting to run against incumbent Kevin Yoder, a Republican, in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses Kansas City and some of its suburbs. The Democratic primary is Aug. 7 and if Davids wins that, she’ll be the candidate from that party running against Yoder. The general election is Nov. 6.

“In some ways, I feel like my whole career has been leading to this,” Davids said. “Although, I don’t necessarily think it was planned for me to become a politician so early in my career. I don’t know, I guess when you think of politicians you think of much older people.”

Davids loved martial arts before she loved politics. She said she used to adore Bruce Lee and wear black belts around the house, throwing kicks along the way. When her mother, a career military woman, was stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany, Davids said she took a taekwondo class, but when they moved back to the U.S. training was too expensive.

As a 19-year-old college student, Davids picked up martial arts again, taking classes in karate, capoeira and then combative taekwondo a few years later. When one of her coaches told her she was working harder than some of the pro fighters and suggested she take a bout, Davids begged off.

“At first, I was like, ‘Oh no, no. I don’t think so,’” Davids said.

Responses to "This Native MMA fighter wants to add some serious punch to Congress"

  1. Anonymous says:

    GO FOR IT!!!!

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