What started off as taking self-defense classes has blossomed into a promising career.



Megan Condis, whose last name was Davis when she graduated from Morton High School nine years ago, is undefeated as she prepares for her fourth Mixed Martial Arts fight.


What started off as taking self-defense classes has blossomed into a promising career.

Megan Condis, whose last name was Davis when she graduated from Morton High School nine years ago, is undefeated as she prepares for her fourth Mixed Martial Arts fight.

The gate opens at 4 p.m. Saturday for the Central Illinois Throwdown. Bands begin playing 30 minutes later, and the fights start at 7 p.m.

Condis is on the women’s card.

“This will be my first one outside, so it should be interesting,” she said.

General admission tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. VIP tickets are available for $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

The MMA cage will be set up in an area along the Peoria Riverfront that will be safe in the event of weather issues.

Hooters, from whom patrons can get food and drinks, is providing the ring girls.

Tickets are available at local businesses such as Co-Op Records, Shandi’s Music in Washington and CrossFit Trilogy in Pekin.

As one progresses through the ranks of self-defense courses, they reach live exercises at the higher levels.

With the ability to easily sell  girls fights, females typically just have to express their interest and promoters will find them a spot.

“I just kind of fell into it,” Condis said.

Condis’ competition has not been prepared for her.

All three of her victories have been by TKO. Two took less than a minute.

Condis said she trained for the first bout for about 10 months.

She works with a strong network of people at the CrossFit Trilogy gym of which her husband, Jake, Kelly Madden and Gavin Vansaghi all are owners.

Madden, a former University of Illinois wrestler, is a grappling expert, while there is a member involved in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and woman professional.

“They are all really generous with their knowledge,” said Condis.

CrossFit Triology is a minimalist gym that promotes constant, varied workouts with functional movements. Wrestling, MMA and Krav Maga classes are offered.

The business has a website, crossfit-trology.com. It posts workouts and pictures. The first workout is free for prospective members.

Condis has fought twice at the East Peoria Event Center and once at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.

She hopes a proposed bout in Canada in the fall will work out.

Bob Long of the Central Illinois Combat Club sets up fights. He is a coach, manager and trainer for MMA.

Condis does a lot of strength training and CrossFit workouts.

She aims to get better at grappling for fights that get to the ground, which likely will happen once she gets extended beyond the first round by an opponent.

“My goal is to eventually turn pro,” said Condis.

The former Potter has a personal philosophy of staying at 125 pounds to practice making weight.

Many in the amateur ranks do not have the determination to make their weight and there are no penalties, but there are fines for professionals who miss the mark.

Getting down to a nice weight is a good motivator, Condis said. It means a smaller person in the ring will be punching back.

Condis said she tries to mentally prepare — visualizing ways the fight can go.

“The thing that is hardest to do is manage your nerves and adrenaline,” she said.

Condis has seen foes get hampered by anxiety once they are in the cage.

Although Condis admitted she does not see MMA fighting being her primary profession, she said it is easier to have the support of sponsors.

While finishing work on her doctorate in English Literature (she needs to complete her dissertation), Condis teaches introductory classes twice a week at the University of Illinois.

She also earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in 2007 and ’10, respectively, from the state’s flagship public university.

Condis was a four-year varsity basketball player for Bob Becker. As a senior in ’02-03, she averaged 4.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game for the Potters.