Authors: Dawn Pendleton
|Fight Like A Girl (Part One)|
MMA is no place for a girl - unless that girl is Max Brady. Growing up around the ring as the daughter of a famous fighter, she finally takes her place in the MMA world after her father’s mysterious disappearance. Deciding to fight was the easy part - she never imagined finding a good trainer would be her biggest obstacle.
Hit Like a Girl
By Dawn Pendleton
© 2014 Dawn Pendleton
Any unauthorized reprint or use of this
material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form without express written permission from the
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places and events are the product of the author’s imagination and
any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, business
establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Jeff was an ass.
Despite the fact that we’d been training
together for over a year, I still found his ridiculous antics
annoying. Someday, he was going to get what was coming to him. For
the time being, I was stuck waiting around for him, literally. I
showed up over an hour ago, ready for some intense training, but
Jeff was nowhere to be found.
I started alone, punching and kicking an
eighty pound bag for a solid hour before Jeff decided to show up. I
was sweaty and pissed off, not a good combo. He waltzed over to me
and I ignored him, focused on visualizing his face on the bag and
then delivering heavy hits to it. It made me feel better, even if
it wasn’t real.
When he was focused, Jeff was an amazing
trainer. He was thoughtful yet demanding, pushing me to the very
edge of my physical limits. I liked that about him. But the rest of
the time, he was late, or worse, he showed up under the influence.
I didn’t particularly like him much, but I tolerated him because
finding a man to train a woman was difficult. The men in the
industry were egotistical and believed women’s fighting to be
inferior. Of course, if they gave me half a chance, I could prove
them wrong, but no one but Jeff ever agreed to even meet with me,
so I wasn’t in any position to be choosy.
“Don’t be mad, Max,” Jeff laughed, standing
just a few feet behind me.
Even at that distance, I could smell the
alcohol emanating from his skin. He disgusted me. “Shut it, Jeff.”
As pissed off as I was, I didn’t trust myself to turn around; I
kept my focus on the bag. I slammed my fist into it, imagining it
was his face.
“Listen, you little bitch,” he started, his
voice rising along with my irritation.
I whirled around, interrupting his
forthcoming tirade. “Fuck you. I don’t pay you to show up late, not
to mention still drunk from your repulsive efforts of last night. I
pay you to train. If you aren’t going to do your job, I’ll be more
than happy to dock your pay.” It was an empty threat, but it made
me feel better, at least.
He grabbed me, his fingers encircling my
wrist without any effort at all. “You wouldn’t dare,” he seethed,
pulling me so close I could smell the alcohol on his breath. “In
fact, I know just how hard you had it last year before you met me,
. You and I both know you won’t dock my pay or get rid
of me. Not now, and not ever. I’m the only man stupid enough to
train a fucking girl.”
I didn’t move, gauging his grip on my wrist
as he spoke. As soon as he lightened his touch, I moved. I spun
toward him, dropping my elbow into his ribcage and then pounding
the hell of my left foot onto the toe of his sneaker. He dropped
instantly, one hand to the gym floor supporting his weight while
the other held his bruised rib. When he looked up at me, I didn’t
. And I’d rather train
alone than with a loser like you. So either get it together or get
the fuck out. I’m not paying you to be drunk,” I spat at him. I was
sick of his shit, but I knew I wouldn’t fire him.
In two weeks, I had a fight, which meant I
needed a trainer more than ever. It took me a lot of time to break
into the MMA bracket, let alone actually qualify to fight. Women’s
fighting was still fairly new, but in the last few years, it had
blown up. That meant there were too many contestants and only the
best of the best were accepted. It had taken me a long time to work
up to the MMA; I’d fought in plenty of underground rings, but the
money wasn’t all that good. The rules also weren’t upheld, and
girls fought dirtier than men. I’d had my hair pulled, my leg
bitten twice, and my skin pierced repeatedly from sharp nails. I
considered those injuries lucky, as fighting could turn extremely
violent very quickly.
I turned away from Jeff, back to the bag. I
took my stance and just as I was about to strike, he attacked me
from behind. We went down hard, with me pinned beneath him. My
muscles screamed at the pain, but I wasn’t one to back down from a
fight. I took a deep breath as I played the fight out in my head
before I made a move. It was a tactic I used and one that made me
stronger. I predicted my opponent’s moves and nine times out of
ten, they followed through just as I thought they would. It was a
rare occasion when an opponent surprised me.
Once I saw the fight the way I wanted it to
go in my mind, I acted. Jeff’s legs had me pinned, one on each side
of my hips. I managed to get my left leg up in the air without him
noticing and hooked it around his chest, pulling him off me, toward
the ground. My other leg hooked him as well and he slammed into the
ground. I pulled my legs back and rolled to the side. I jumped to
Jeff was stunned for a minute and then he was
on his feet, the two of us circling one another. It was a dance,
almost poetic, if I allowed myself to disengage that way. He took a
few paltry shots. I knew he didn’t want to hurt me, but I also knew
he wouldn’t give up simply because I was a girl. I had to best him;
that was the only way to end the madness.
We fought mildly, only striking when
absolutely necessary. He had at least fifteen pounds on me, which
wasn’t much, but it was enough to make me question whether or not I
could take him. I went down, my aim to swipe his feet out from
under him, but he jumped, anticipating the move. As I stood again,
I considered the people around us, who were now thoroughly
engrossed in our fight.
The gym was small and locally owned. Freddie
was a sweet old man, though he could be a hard-ass when he needed
to be. He let me train in the gym for a full six months before he
made me pay. It was his way of seeing if I was worth my weight, he
told me. I guessed he liked what he saw, since it was Freddie who
helped me get my first fight. I owed him a lot. I chanced a glance
to his office and he was in the doorway, leaning on frame, arms
crossed over his chest. A slight smirk graced his lips. I wasn’t
sure if he was impressed or agitated, but I forced my eyes back to
He glared at me. “Just give up. You’re a
skinny bitch from the wrong side of town, Max. You and I both know
you won’t win this one.” His words bugged me, but they only drove
me to fight harder.
“Bring it, Cowboy,” I said, knowing it would
irritate him. Jeff was from Texas, though no one who knew him would
ever guess. He kept that part of his life behind him. Bringing it
up was my way of distracting him.
He shook his head. “Don’t call me
,” he all but growled at me.
As if sensing my decision, a few of the girls
who trained at the gym started chanting
. I laughed at
their antics, but Jeff turned to a particularly loud redhead near
him, probably to give her hell. I made my move.
I tucked my head down and rushed him, my
shoulder hitting his stomach. We went down together, but I was
faster than him. I managed to get him turned over to his stomach
against the cement and pulled both arms behind him, fully pinning
“Goddammit, Max!” he yelled, but I refused to
let go. He let out a slew of curses and I smiled as my comrades
started clapping. Most of the fighters in the gym were ladies, but
there were a few men, too. I felt good getting their approval.
Jeff struggled against my hold. “Listen up,
Jeff,” I started, plenty loud enough for him to hear me over the
incessant clapping. “You work for me. And if you come after me like
that again, I won’t hesitate to remove your balls from your body.
He huffed. “Fine. I got it. Get the fuck off
I jumped up and away from him, just in case
he decided to pursue me, but he was slow to get up. His body was
obviously hurting. Once he was upright, he glared at me. “This
isn’t over,” he promised.
I smiled at him. “Looks to me like it
He turned away, heading toward the men’s
locker room. As he walked away, I threw my arms up in a very
fashion and paraded around my fellow fighters. They
cheered me on as I strutted through the gym. Until I got to
Freddie. Suddenly, everyone was very busy with something else when
they saw his scowl. They all disappeared as I stopped in front of
“What?” I asked him. I thought for sure he’d
be proud of me.
He shook his head at me. “You’re supposed to
be a professional, Maxine. I thought you were serious about your
“I am. You can’t seriously think any of that
was my fault,” I whined. Jeff had started the whole thing.
“You’re better than that. And you know it,”
he said and then went back into his office.
I glared at his back, but I knew Freddie was
right. If I was ever going to make something of myself, I needed to
stay focused and not let a douchebag like Jeff get in my way. I
forced myself to walk away from Freddie’s office, vowing not to let
Jeff, or anyone else, for that matter, work me up like that again.
I was through letting anyone get under my skin.
That night, I was exhausted. I left the gym
and found several messages from Wynter, my best friend. She was a
party girl, the complete opposite of me. Where I was dedicated to
being fit and having a career, she was a tumbleweed. She did
freelance editing, but that gave her enough flexibility to do
whatever she wanted. It helped that her parents were rich and she
had a gigantic inheritance.
Wynter: Let’s go out tonight!
Wynter: Answer me back! I want to hit the
I laughed as I read the messages. I dialed
her number as I put my car in drive and left the parking lot.
“Max! I’m so glad you called! We’re going out
I loved the fact that she didn’t ask; she
just told me what we were doing. She’d being doing it since the day
I met her during our freshman year of college, so I was used to it.
I didn’t mind, either.
As a fighter, I generally only met and had a
social relationship with other fighters. But with Wynter’s help, I
was able to actually meet normal people my own age.
“Where are we going and what time?” I asked
her, knowing there was no escape.
“I’ll be at your place in half an hour,” she
promised. “I know you can’t be trusted to get yourself ready.” She
I shook my head and tossed my cell in the cup
holder. She was right, of course. I wasn’t now and had never been a
girlie girl. I didn’t own any makeup, let alone wear it on a
regular basis. She was my makeup artist, and I usually let her do
whatever she wanted. There was no use arguing with her; when she
made up her mind, she stuck to it and she was possibly the most
stubborn person I’d ever met.
I got home, set my keys on the hook by the
door and jumped into the shower. I took my time, washing my hair
and body, being sure to get the sweat of the day off. I might not
be into being girlie, but I loved being clean. Nothing beat a hot
shower after a hard workout. By the time I got out of the shower,
Wynter was already in the apartment, having let herself in with her
She set up shop in my room, her thousands of
pounds of makeup lining my bed.
“Hey,” I greeted her as I walked through my
room into my closet in just a towel.