Erin Toughill Talks Exclusively To AddictedMMA.
Coming off her first fight in two years Erin Toughill reveals to AddictedMMA’s Steve Wickett the problems that faced her in the lead up to her fight with Ashley Sanchez. We touch on her split with husband Neil Melanson, severe illness in the lead up to the fight and discuss whether or not Gina Carano is being “protected”.
AddictedMMA: Hi Erin, thank you for giving up your time to talk to us.
ET: Thank you for asking me to do this. I just have not felt the need to speak about things and my life and what’s been going on. Now things have settled down.
AddictedMMA: Let’s start with your last fight, a disappointing loss against Ashley Sanchez. What sort of condition physically were you in coming into that fight? I have watched it twice and to me something seemed amiss? That’s just my opinion.
ET: I left Vegas at the end of last year. I really was in a rut out there and things were not working with my career or business.
Vegas isn’t a good place; if you like to go out and party every night? Then it’s wonderful, but I just wasn’t connecting with the energy out there. I loved my gym. I loved the people who trained me or who I helped or the kids I trained & I loved my husband…But there was just nothing else for me there.
I felt like I needed to make a change before things with my career and business got worse. So I picked up and came out here and have been rebuilding my whole life. I was doing very well prior to moving to Vegas; cusp of a title fight, business was amazing, financially doing well…lol and a lost it all. Material things can be replaced, but it doesn’t matter how much money you have…if you’re not happy? Doesn’t matter.
So I was working full time and training twice a day and really chasing my tail the last few months. I was going through the situation with my husband, and then about four weeks before my fight, I contracted a severe kidney infection. I went to the ER and had 105 degree temp and was basically peeing blood, lol, I have NEVER had a kidney infection and I have never been in so much pain. I could not even get out of bed for 6 days. I was exhausted walking to the restroom.
My coaches and clients and close friends obviously knew, but I guess I said I’ve worked too hard to pull out and destroy things even more. I could not train nor work for over two weeks. I slept and I tried to rest. I was on very strong antibiotics and was on them for my fight. Even a basic kidney infection takes two months to clear up. So basically, I just started healing a few weeks back I also was oblivious to the fact that antibiotics destroy your endurance and cardio, lol. So the infection along with medication? I was very sick, but I had to fight. I was EXHAUSTED in that fight. My kidneys hurt and my cardio was horrible. And yes, I got beat by a decision, lol and yes, at the end I got a few elbows to the face. But it really did not feel like I was in a fight because I did not get my ass kicked, TKO’d, KO’d or subbed. I had someone who was the better fighter that night. And I had a cut on my nose and that was all. I slept fine and that’s that. I have been beaten up 10x worse in sparring sessions.
AddictedMMA: What about mentally? With all of the issues cutting weight after such a long lay-off coupled with your personal problems was your head in the right place?
ET: Yes. Well, I asked for the separation, which will now be a divorce. I have no regrets with my life. I can say that I will follow my heart and I truly do not care what anyone thinks of me. That was very hard to be going through that while I was preparing for my bout. The weight wasn’t an issue; that came off and it’s still off. So I weigh about 160 right now, which is comfortable for me. Mentally…I don’t know, it’s hard to say. I just think everything plays a part in a big comeback and the fact I hadn’t fought in two years is already and obstacle, but personal life and the kidney infection sealed the deal.
AddictedMMA: Does the often unjust criticism you receive from the fans (many of whom have never stepped into a cage) get to you at all?
ET: Ummm, no…Lol! I read nothing and when I say “I don’t care”…it means “I don’t care”. I am not going online defending myself lol, I have no need. Haters are in all sports and all walks of life. Pretty funny because I can’t even make a comment on my own Facebook without some stalker taking that and turning it into a story or a thread or whatever…and I know that because my fans forward me things, but 99% of the time, I delete them. I really don’t have time for drama, chaos and dysfunction in my life and I can separate my passion for fighting with the low level of intellect of wanna be “marks” who want to not just trash me…but pretty much every fighter in the sport. I’ve been watching and involved in this sport a long time & I don’t understand the “fans”. They really are sad in many ways. But we also have real fans; fans who truly love me as a fighter and the sport in general. I get tons of fan mail lol I never get hate mail…so I don’t know what to say.
AddictedMMA: If you could fight that fight again tomorrow what would you do differently?
ET: I would not fight if I knew my kidneys could possibly shut down from a severe infection.
AddictedMMA: So what’s next for Erin Toughill? You put your hand up to welcome Gina Carano back but that fight went elsewhere. Is there anyone else you’d like to step up your comeback against?
ET: I asked Shannon Knapp right away. Look, I might have had a shitty fight after a two year layoff, but my record indicates that I win. I win way more than I lose. I am allowed a bad fight once in a while, I’m human. Look at Marloes, she was beaten by Cindy Dandois who was a pro debuter and Marloes was 15-4 or something…now she is a world champion and rightfully so. She deserves it. So if they want to protect Gina, then I am not the right fight for her. I can only do so much. I am in a great place right now and I will fight again.
I was offered a boxing match in June, but the money wouldn’t even cover my food! Lol, I’m serious. It was insulting what they were offering some of the women in boxing. And I’m going to start talking to some of the people I work with and we will see what’s next.
But it’s unfortunate because all fighters, no matter if they had 50 straight wins, get a loss…and then they suck or need to retire or whatever. Kind of sad the wannabe’s have no idea what we go through to do this sport. I am open to offers and well see what happens. Trust me; it’s a small bump in the road. I’ll be just fine…
AddictedMMA: Well whoever you fight you know AddictedMMA will be supporting you all the way. Aren’t you ever concerned fighting will ruin those looks of yours LOL?
ET: No. Because I have had almost 30 pro fights and I still look OK. I think I would have stopped fighting years ago if I was losing consistently and getting my face smashed.
AddictedMMA: Thanks Erin, is there anyone you’d like to thank before we finish?
ET: I’d like to thank Neil Melanson for being the wonderful man he is and always will be. He was and always will be a huge part of my life. I don’t know why things work out like they do sometimes…but I don’t try to figure it out because it can make u go crazy. Things happen for a reason…He helped me and supported me and was my biggest supporter. I don’t feel any of this is personal information. We are regular people and have lives and jobs and we just try to live our lives like anyone else would want to.
AddictedMMA: Erin thank you for your time once again, it’s always a pleasure talking to you. Good luck with whatever you do next.