SHAMIR PESHEWA: Embracing the Challenge

“I feel there isn’t good or bad, just experiences in different situations,” – Shamir “Hella Kitty” Peshewa

By:  Thomas Vickers (MMA – Journalist)


(QUEEN MMA MEDIA) – Over the years the sport of women’s mixed martial arts has produced champions, superstars, and popular athletes.  Amidst all the talent it is important to remember there would be no competitive amateur or professional WMMA if there were no tough gamey fighters eager to jump at the challenge.  Each athlete helping to craft, shape, and develop what has come to be known as women’s mixed martial arts.  There would be no growing sport if it were not for the hardworking competitors who always give it one hundred percent.

Shamir “Hella Kitty” Peshewa is one of those tough hardworking gladiators.  She is the type of individual that does not shy away from a challenge.  For seven years Shamir played for the Hard Knox Rollergirls, a nationally ranked roller derby team out of Knoxville, Tennessee.

“My teammates gave me the nickname (Hella Kitty) because of how sweet I looked but how destructive and violent I was on the track,” explained Shamir when asked by Queen MMA Media as to how she acquired the nickname “Hella Kitty.”

Shamir Peshewa began training in November of 2012 and started competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in March of 2013.  She is currently a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and holds dozens of metals.

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“The challenge it represents to me.  It’s mentally and physically a chess game,” answered Shamir to the question what she enjoyed most about competing in amateur MMA.  “I love competition and I wanted to test myself,” she replied when asked what brought her to the cage.

The thirty-two year old Shamir is a courageous combatant who fights out of Tennessee and hosts a 4 – 5 amateur record.  During her near four year amateur career she has fought under several promotional banners including; Virginia Cage Fighting Championships, Apex Fights, Valor Fights, and Premier FC.  She is satisfied with her amateur MMA experience.  “I feel there isn’t good or bad, just experiences in different situations,” she explained.  Shamir describes herself as a gritty fighter.  Win or lose she is someone who gives every ounce of themselves.  Shamir always enjoys meeting new fans and giving autographs when requested.  It is easy to conclude that fans are drawn to her honest down to earth personality.

The amateur level is a place for gaining experience.  It is where a fighter tests newly learned skills, techniques, and strategies.  Often a fighter’s amateur record does not always reflect the whole story.

“My first loss my coach Eric Turner told me I had to learn to see things evenly.  He quoted a poem by Rudyard Kipling ‘IF’ and that really changed my mind set.  It was a big turning point for me as a human and athlete,” Shamir replied to Queen MMA Media when asked about her highest moments as an amateur.

Often in sport much like in life, great gains can and do come from loss.  Valuable lessons are often found in our shortfalls.  Through failure we learn to succeed. Shamir’s last amateur fight was in October of 2017 against Chelsea McCoy for the Virginia Cage Fighting Championships vacant featherweight title belt.  Despite losing via unanimous decision Shamir continues to push forward.  Like most fighters Shamir’s skill set and fight game are always evolving.  He coaches are continuously expanding her knowledge.  “At first I only knew one game, and one way to respond with a small skill set,” explained Shamir.  “We are never comfortable in our skill set, always hustling to learn.”

Shamir Peshewa has fought at both featherweight (145 lbs) and bantamweight (135 lbs) during her amateur career.  “I can make bantamweight but because of pure muscle mass I need a month notice or so, at featherweight I can make weight in around a week,” explained Peshewa.  “I work with Eddie Reymond of Eddie’s Health Shoppe who is my nutritionist.  I’ve always taken short notice fights.  For me I’ve never been able to be picky about opportunities,” she continued.

The hardworking Shamir is confidently moving in the direction of her next big challenge and with the guidance of her management ‘Underdog MMA Management’ is pushing for a pro debut in early January of 2018.

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Photograph by SJC Photography


QUEEN MMA MEDIA – Can you share your lowest moments as an amateur WMMA athlete?

SHAMIR PESHEWA – “I think everyone who has ever been driven to a great calling has moments of pure insanity, where they wonder if the path they walk is actually the right one.  I’ve fought with a torn hamstring and broken bones and have had set backs.  So yes, there have been some rough points, but I believe they have strengthened me and helped me become a better person, and only driven me closer to my calling.”

QUEEN MMA MEDIA – Who or what has been your biggest inspiration in your MMA experience? Why?

SHAMIR PESHEWA – “Creating stronger more confident people in our society and world. There is something incredibly humbling and beautiful about MMA / BJJ. This makes you realize you can take it and dish it out.  You are not helpless, or weak.  You’re a warrior.  I think everyone needs to know that about themselves.”

QUEEN MMA MEDIA – When you first began your amateur MMA journey did you have a specific goal?

SHAMIR PESHEWA – “My goal from my first fight has been to fight for the Invicta FC promotion.  I absolutely adore Shannon Knapp and her crew.  I love how its all women for women.  My dream is to help make the promotion bigger and better.”

QUEEN MMA MEDIA – Do you have any advice you would or could share with or offer another female who is considering an amateur experience in MMA?

SHAMIR PESHEWA – “I’d tell them to find a coach they trust and train six days a week.  It isn’t an easy sport, but the rewards are bountiful.  The self confidence, mental strength and overall health you find is amazing.”

QUEEN MMA MEDIA – Looking back over your almost four years as an amateur is there anything you would have changed or have done differently if you could?

SHAMIR PESHEWA – “No.  This is my journey.”

“I have interviewed countless athletes over the years.  Shamir is an example of the outstanding quality of hardworking individuals in women’s mixed martial arts today. She shines with intelligence, her kindness is evident, and she is truly a natural ambassador for the sport.” – Thomas Vickers (QUEEN MMA MEDIA)


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Cover Photograph by Terry Mercer