YAKIMA, Wash. - It's a typical Monday night at Yakima Mixed Martial Arts. Rich Guerin trains dozens of fighters in the art of mixed martial arts or ultimate fighting. Most of them are men. But not all of them.
Tara LaRosa has been training with Guerin for six months in Yakima. LaRosa, born and raised in New Jersey, is the top-ranked female mixed martial artist in the country. She picked up the sport five years ago, even though her family had serious reservations.
"The hardest part was not having the support of my family," says Tara "but when they saw how successful I was, they warmed up to it."
Tara's credits her training method for her success. She spars with men instead of other women.
"I'm used to taking harder hits, I'm used to having to work faster against people that are a lot stronger than me."
Her fellow fighters say Tara can more than hold her own, and rarely do the guys go easy on the girl.
"If you go easy on Tara LaRosa," says fellow fighter Tommy Truex "she'll knock you out!"