Shay Mazzato [0-0] has experienced the brutality and unfairness of her sport in more ways than most fighters in the league have. She has fought against the very best, making the level of competitors she has faced unparalleled by others. A study of her fights shows an athlete pushed to her limits by bigger and stronger opponents whose intent is breaking her. Her battles with Jessie Santos [0-0] and Feather Hadden [0-0] are not easy to watch because of the violence, but to say that she has remained undaunted and combative throughout her MMA journey is an understatement.

‘The Fox’ has fought for the title five times against four different opponents. Shay won one of those fights, holding the title for the shortest reign in LFC history. Unfairly, she had to defend the title 24 hours after out-dueling her nemesis, the powerful Monica Garcia [0-0]. And her reward for taking down Monica? A match against the Wushu nightmare, Andreea Vladoi [0-0] the following night. Andreea, herself deserving of accolades, came ready and did not give Shay any quarter. ‘The Storm’ wrestled the title from Shay and offered no apologies to the exhausted Mazzato.

Later, when the LFC title was vacated by Vladoi’s retirement, Shay’s name immediately came up as one to challenge for it. She was going to headline for the third straight event, and her mindset was in the right place for such an honor. Reflecting on the chance to fight for the title at LFC30 [0-0], she said, “Being in the Main-Event shows how much I am willing to put my body on the line and go hard to put on a good fight, and it really shows how tough I am physically and at heart.” Shay epitomizes what is unavoidable in the life of a warrior: readiness to do battle.

This time around she was matched against a very dangerous newcomer in Danika Della Rouge [0-0], someone as fast as her and as determined to take the belt home. The fight, which is one of the most exciting in recent memory, serves as a template for others who are honored with a shot at the title. The effort these two gave sets the bar for anyone thinking they can “mail-it-in” with so much on the line. This was a very close contest that could have gone either way. Sadly, for Shay, it did not go in her favor, but she is resolute and wants some more of Danika in the future. “A rematch is definitely in order. I know I won, but it was obvious there was favoritism in that fight.” she declares.

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Shay’s LFC career through the years

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With training on the honor system these days, Shay is motivated and doing all she can to stay fight ready. It comes down to dedication and sticking to the training habits that got her the title shots in the first place. Undeterred, she states, “I am definitely stepping it up, working and training harder to claim what is rightfully mine. You should always be ready even in the off-season.” Whether she gets a rematch against Danika at the next event is not up to her, but be certain that she is prepared for it and wants it badly enough.

With the Holidays in full force, Shay, not unlike her no-nonsense persona, has a reserved take on this time of year. She bluntly says, “I’m not much of a holiday person. I just have get-togethers with friends, but happy holidays to all.” Knowing what Shay has been through, it is not hard to imagine that such good will cannot last very long. There is the business of getting back at it ASAP. Hopefully the cage door swings open very soon.

Thanks for reading,
A.C. Mann