M&F: What happened after you won the Miss USA pageant in 2012?
WM: I began training at Onnit Academy and was kickboxing to stay in shape. Then I realized that there was a whole ground game you can do without getting punched in the face, so I started jiu-jitsu right after I handed my crown over.
Why did you start to box?
I wanted to break the stereotypes. Just because I was a beauty queen didn’t mean I couldn’t fight and do it well. It was about proving to myself that I could do it, and I wanted to see and feel what it felt like going through fight camp.
Did you keep it clean during fight camp?
I wasn’t drinking [alcohol], but I would take cannabidiol oil to help with muscle recovery. I’d occasionally smoke marijuana to help me sleep.
What did it feel like to get punched?
It’s shocking. The first time I got wailed in the nose, it hurt; my whole face went numb. Your whole body is like, “This should not be happening. You should not be here.” It was the weirdest feeling.
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Rumor has it you broke a girl’s arm during a Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament.
It was terrifying. She tried to take me down, but I reversed her, then she posted. I grabbed her elbow and it just snapped. It popped in my ear. I got off the mat and started crying. She hit me up from the hospital and was like, “Hey, totally my fault. Don’t worry about it.”
How did it feel to land shots against River Fuller in your first fight?
It was exciting. She thought I wasn’t taking it seriously, that I was just some beauty queen hopping into the ring. It’d be difficult to turn down [another fight].
Any similarities between fighting and beauty pageants?
The mental aspect. Before you step onstage or answer a question, you need to calm yourself down; it’s the same with fighting.
You’re into the psychedelic ayahuasca. What’s it like to trip on it?
It’s a way of completely diving into the unknown part of yourself. It brings out insecurities and traumas you have in your life and allows you to look at them from a different perspective.
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What does the “7-6-16” tattoo on your wrist mean?
I made a vow to myself on that date in fight camp to always push myself toward fear and resistance. If I want to do something but think I’m not good enough, this will act like a constant reminder to [go for it].
Pro Caliber: Whitney met Oscar De La Hoya, and he showed her some moves. He was so impressed that he talked to her about fighting with his Golden Boy Promotions.