Anna Dempster is the hero the internet needs and the women’s martial arts scene deserves. Last week, she volunteered to fly to Florida to square up against internet troll Kristopher Zylinski, who, according to his comments on a public thread, doesn’t believe that even a woman trained in martial arts can beat him.
We’ve already detailed how the McDojoLife Facebook page made internet matchmaking dreams a reality, but now it’s time to get to know the woman who offered to take on the challenge. Dempster is a 7-0 amateur fighter our of Oregon, having started her MMA career four years ago after leaving a college softball scholarship behind to pursue her fighting career. “I am the youngest of four and learned real quick how to fight/defend myself,” she says. “I was a really fat kid and got teased a lot, and the only defense I knew was to throw blows.”
Dempster says that her mind was made up when she first stepped into a gym — this was going to be her life from then on. “I love everything it stands for, especially women in the sport,” she says. “Something I find particularly significant is that it was wrong for my grandmother to even watch men’s wrestling, god forbid participate, and here we are in a generation where we as females are on the rise and now I able to express myself in the best way I know how: fighting.”
While this fighter is certainly starting to turn heads with her flawless record, the fact that she took up McDojoLife on their offer has really thrust her into the martial arts spotlight. But she’s not doing it for the fame. “I took the fight because I am not one to ever back down, but even more than that, the bigotry in that twerp’s statements disgusted me. It is like he time traveled way back in time, relishing in the oppression of women. I firmly believe in empowering women, and anyone that tries to go against that repulses me. I want to not only prove him wrong, but everyone out there with the same opinion.”
Unlike her opponent, Dempster knows that her gender has no bearing on her chances of winning this match. “I train with men constantly and there is no differentiation — we are all fighters when we step on the mat or in the cage, not differentiated by gender. We are fighters, warriors, and killers. That’s it.”
If it weren’t obvious already, this fighter isn’t remotely nervous about her upcoming bout. In fact, she’s very much looking forward to it. “I am excited for the opportunity to shut this f***er up and feed him my fists. I am excited for the opportunity to prove him wrong, and maybe even change his view of this sport and women in the sport, and honestly women in general… I feel very confident in my ability to destroy him.”
Those who are excited for Dempster and Zylinski to face off don’t have to wait for very long. The fight is officially scheduled to take place at Breaking Point Martial Arts in Apopka, Florida on January 6 at 7:00 pm EST. Those who aren’t able to attend in person will still be able to watch the match via a livestream on the McDojoLife Facebook page. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Zylinski will have the courage to show up to the match that he agreed to, but there’s zero doubt that Dempster will be ready to go when the clock starts. “I have time and time again co-mained in tournaments in which women without opponents in their weight class weren’t able to join the men’s [divisions]… the opportunity to finally cross this barrier is an opportunity I do not take lightly.”