Melanie Shah is hunting for gold in enemy territory at BKFC 51

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At 41 years young, most fighters’ careers are over. Melanie Shah is just getting started.

With bloody decision victories over Mathilda Wilson and Sydney Smith, she has vaulted into headlining BKFC 51 in Salem, Virginia. On Friday, September 29th, she will look to take the strawweight title from the reigning Britain Hart.

The Birmingham native has done some training at Team Renegade, home of the UFC welterweight champion, Leon Edwards. She provided more insight into the gym’s aura. “I’m very lucky to be around that level of fighters,” said Shah. “Everyone has got fights coming up. [The Edwards brothers both have] got fights coming up. I’ve got a fight coming up. So, everyone’s super hyper.”

The Next Mom Champ?

What makes the proud mother of three unique, is that a majority of her training is done at home with her husband. Despite working from home, the title challenger lives a hectic life. “There is no average day. I mean literally, it changes day to day,” said Shah. “So, I might have a day where I’m training at 6 in the morning, [and] then training at midnight.”

Remarkably, the undefeated warrior has already carved a special place for herself in the history books. Few athletes have fought for a world title after becoming a mother. This rare category includes 23-time grand slam tennis champion Serena Williams, former UFC champions Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena, and 2-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison.

Shah’s championship task might be the most dangerous, as she will be competing without gloves. She shared her emotions about being on this extraordinary list. “Well, it is very overwhelming to be considered in that kind of group of women,” said Shah. “It is an honor to be anywhere near them in that kind of status because they’re all just amazing athletes.”

In the grand scheme of things, Shah just wants to inspire her fellow mothers. 

“I think it’s not just related to combat sports, but just anything in life. You have to make it happen for yourself. Becoming a mother shouldn’t stop it for you. You should still aim to go for what you want. [My title fight] is a great example [that] you can set for your children as well. That you can keep going for these things as a mother, and all the responsibilities that come with that.”

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About Post Author

Anik Subramanian

Anik Subramanian is a United States based journalist who fell in love with mixed martial arts when it was the first sport to return during the pandemic. He also sheds light on the warriors who enter the BKFC's squared circle. You may know Anik as a journalist for FightBook MMA. Follow his X & Instagram accounts linked below.
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