Michelle says she watched Carano's fight against Kobold and was unimpressed. "I didn't see a lot of technique or skill," she says, "I just saw a lot of wildly swinging for the trees."

And although Carano's record as a fighter is solid, Farrow's fought more than twice as many matches in a career more than twice as long. "Maybe it's a little bit of jealousy on my part, but to tell you the truth, there are a lot more other girls who deserve to be there more than she did," Dusty continues. "Michelle put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this sport before that girl even knew what a cage fight was."


Farrows' student David Richardson
Jamie Peachey
Farrows' student David Richardson
Farrows' student Steve Sayegh
Jamie Peachey
Farrows' student Steve Sayegh

Details

Rage in the Cage 117, the special 10-year anniversary megashow, is scheduled to take place Saturday, November 8, at the U.S. Airways Center.

See more images from our cover shoot, and video of Michelle Farrow in action in 2001, here.

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Michelle Farrow's last fight, in November 2006, also marked the end of her marriage. Farrow was defending her Rage in the Cage championship against Nicole Maldonado. Turns out, Dusty had been having an affair with a woman who worked at a flower shop down the street from the dojo; Michelle heard about the affair the day of the fight.

"My last fight, he was my corner man. And I found out he'd been with somebody else that day," Farrow says. "It totally took the fight out of me. My mind wasn't there."

In the video of her last match (viewable at www.phoenixnewtimes.com), the camera shows Michelle conferring with Dusty before round three. Clinging to the cage, she hangs her head and looks defeated before the bell even rings. She's thrown to the mat at the beginning of the round, and fight commentators express their disbelief.

"I cannot believe Michelle is on her back," one of them says. "This does not look like her."

Maldonado straddles Farrow and unleashes a striking frenzy 27 seconds into the round. Farrow attempts to twist out of the position, but keeps taking blows to the head. After at least a dozen strikes from Maldonado go unanswered, the referee stops the match.

Farrow lost the fight, and the Rage in the Cage women's championship she'd held for five years (Maldonado has since vacated the title and disappeared from MMA).

But losing her title was the least of Michelle Farrow's worries. "When we separated, I had to decide whether or not to give up the dojo," she says, with tears in her eyes. "And this is my life. I can't abandon these guys. So Dusty and I try to get along for the sake of the dojo, but we don't really talk to each other all that much."

Michelle says that sometimes she feels as though she and Dusty are cordial to each other for the sake of the kids — the kids being the students at the dojo.

"It's like any family. You have your ups and downs, you win, you lose, and you all take it together," she says. "It's wonderful when they win, it's horrible when they lose, but you learn to support them and love them and hold their hand when it hurts."

The fighters at Farrow's dojo all come to her with their injuries, and she patches them up with ice packs, antiseptics, and bandages. At a Rage in the Cage event in Prescott this past September, Eric "Shortbus" Regan needed extra attention. "He got cut bad," Farrow says. "The boy was a bloody mess." Farrow spent a half-hour wiping blood off Regan, giving him a sponge bath, and checking for other injuries (luckily, there was just one bloody cut).

"If someone gets hurt, I'm gonna go over there and try to take care of you," she says. "I don't know if I'm too motherly, but I don't think my guys are lacking because of it. I think it bonds the team together."

For some men at The American Martial Arts Center, receiving fight training from a woman was uncomfortable at first. "In the beginning, it was very awkward," says Steve Sayegh, one of the Farrows' veteran cage fighters. "Coming in as a senior in high school, you're young, dumb, and full of whatever you want to call it. You've got this pride that's just completely way above normal, and you always want to think — especially as a football player or a wrestler — that you're dominant. And if you talk to Michelle before you start training with her, you get this idea that, 'Okay, it's gonna be total domination for me out there.'

"And then you start grappling with her, and man! She kicks ass. She dominates the majority of the people, if not all of us, here. She's a badass. She's strong as hell. She's smart as hell. For the typical guy out there who looks at a female and thinks less of them, the last person you wanna do that with is Michelle."


Some of Michelle Farrow's wishes are coming true. MMA is getting bigger, and one of the largest growth spurts is taking place in her hometown. In the past two years, Royce Gracie's academy, The Lab, opened in Glendale, and Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den opened in Scottsdale. Both facilities boast more than 3,000 square feet of mat space and regulation fighting cages.

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2 comments
stephen Sears
stephen Sears

Hello Michelle /Lougie/Geno/Joney Say Hello

You Are Always Welcome to do siminar in North Thailand You will Be secured by special agencies. If you are serious to go to Thailand welcoms you 006-53-43-62-07 homeCALL YOU ARE WELCOME ANY TIME

Gilbert
Gilbert

I love Michelle like a mother! As one of her students and friends I admire and respect her. This article put my view of her on a whole new level though!

 
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