When Arizona kickboxer Mystee Blackwood came calling, Kit Cope answered with the right response.
The two will be teamed up for Kaua’i’s first-ever women’s mixed martial arts (MMA) event on Saturday, March 25 at Hanapepe Stadium (doors open at 5 p.m.). Blackwood will be matched up against Kapa’a’s A.J. Jenkins.
“It’s my first time to Kaua’i and I’ve been helping Mystee out with a brand new striking scheme. She’s going to be seriously turning it up a notch,” Cope said in a phone interview.
The Las Vegas resident was called upon to train Blackwood in the art of Thai Boxing, Cope’s main area of expertise.
“She’s doing really good. She’s strong and working on getting her focus. She’s definitely going to be ready,” Cope mentioned.
If Cope’s name rings a bell, then it’s because of his appearances on MTV’s True Life show, “Life of a Muay Thai Boxer.”
In June of ’04, Cope and a colleague starred in the highly popular series and it gave him a chance to set the record straight about MMA fighters.
“The main thing I got to portray in the show to the world is that fighters are people. We have a whole lot more that goes into our day. It’s more than just fighting and there’s also a lot that goes into a fight before a fight,” Cope said.
When he’s not throwing blows, Cope is busy with his corporate fitness business, called “Execufit.”
“I create corporate fitness programs. I go into large businesses and corporations and set up fitness and health programs for them,” Cope said.
The 29-year-old exercise physiology graduate has been contacted by local officials to fight in a Super Brawl bout on O’ahu, but for now, coming to Kaua’i and helping out Blackwood remains his biggest focus.
“I’m not only excited to showcase Mystee’s skills, but I’m also extremely stoked to take off from the winter weather here and enjoy the beautiful Kaua’i atmosphere, and the friendly, accepting Kaua’i people,” Cope said.
Cope and Blackwood will be arriving on the island about four days before the March 25 event to get acclimated with the climate.
After recently undergoing major shoulder surgery, Cope said not to worry because he’ll still be signing autographs.
“I messed it up while riding with Cary Hart,” Cope said.
The autograph session and weighins signal the start of the event, which take place at Kuku’i Grove Center at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 24.
Other MMA stars planned to attend the autograph session include Kimo Leopoldo, Robbie Lawler, Jens Pulver, Niko Vitale, and Anthony Torres.
There are 17 fights on the card, with the event beginning at 6:30 p.m. on March 25.
Numerous Kaua’i fighters are scheduled to take part in the first-ever outdoor MMA event on the island. General admission tickets are $25 and $30 at the door. Ringside seats are available for $35. Tickets can be purchased at Meyvn Skate in Lihu’e, Tropical Tantrum in Kapa’a, Dynamic Tinting in Puhi, Sweet and Sassy in ‘Ele’ele, Westside Sporting Goods in Waimea, M&H Service in Waimea, and Wong’s Restaurant in Hanapepe.
- Duane Shimogawa Jr., sports editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 257) or firstname.lastname@example.org.