ONE-ON-ONE WITH ASHLEE EVANS-SMITH
The CFA press room got a hold of CFA women’s 145-pound champion Ashlee Evans-Smith close to two month after her historic win over transgender athlete Fallon Fox. Smith discloses her thoughts on the fight and her current state.
CFA: How was the fan reaction when you won?
Ashlee Evans-Smith: The fans were great. I’ve never heard my name screamed so loud as when the ref pulled me off and I had won. I remember feeling like the BankUnited Center was having a mini earthquake when they were cheering.
CFA: How did your family and friends welcome you home after the win?
Ashlee Evans-Smith: Everyone was elated for me. My close friends, coaches and teammates who believed in me welcomed me home with praise and love. The ones who wanted me to win, but were worried because of the situation, welcomed me home with shock and admiration.
CFA: How do you feel about trending on Twitter?
Ashlee Evans-Smith: It was nice to trend on Twitter since it was a clear indicator of the fact that what I had done had defiantly not gone unnoticed, but it was by far one of the least important parts of winning the tournament.
CFA: What avenues have opened since your victory?
Ashlee Evans-Smith: However, given the media attention and hype that surrounded the tournament and last fight in particular I’m grateful that a brighter spotlight was put on WMMA in general.
CFA: Did you manage to speak to Fox after the fight or recently?
Ashlee Evans Smith: Fallon came into the locker room after to talk and was very polite and gracious. We spoke briefly and hugged it out. I’ve done some interviews since where I’ve been asked about my stance on transgender fighters and how I felt about fighting her. She has announced publicly that should “stop crying about competing against me” and that “the whole thing is just silly.” I wish she would have the decency to not badmouth me when I’ve never done so to her. If I’m asked how I feel about the situation I’m going to answer. If she really thinks I enjoy talking about the issue she’s wrong. Like I said, I only took the fight to finish something I had started. I do not enjoy the added issue of her gender preference while talking about my athletic career to me that is “silly”.
CFA: Prior to the fight, how’d you feel about the hype leading into this fight on how at one point the limelight came on Fox’s controversy?
Ashlee Evans-Smith: I did not mind the extra media attention since more press is always a good thing, but I did have to entertain some unusual questions and typically pointless ones if I was not fighting someone who had a sex change. When I took the fight I knew there would be a whirlwind of unusual questions and that I would be the underdog for sure, but I was ok with it. I think all of that made winning even better.
CFA: Did you take a break or are you training?
Ashlee Evans-Smith: I took a break after the fight like I always do. It’s important to give your body time to heal and your mind time to recharge. It’s a stressful job at times and emotions run high almost always. Time off is a good thing but I’m back to training now and looking forward to my next fight.
CFA: I remember you said it was a struggle leading to this fight as you worked as a waitress. Are you still working as a waitress or are you working somewhere else or focused on fighting 100%?
Ashlee Evans-Smith: I am still working a part-time job at a Rock n’ Roll Club/bar where live bands play almost every night. It’s a fun environment. I enjoy staying busy and I only work a few nights a week so I can train more now.
CFA: Do you have any bizarre stories after the outcome of the fight?
Ashlee Evans-Smith: I don’t have real bizarre stories. There were people saying that I am “discriminating against Fallon and transgender fighters”. I’ve been nothing but respectful to Fallon because she deserves respect, but it’s bizarre to me that she would badmouth me for politely giving my opinion.