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PFL 6’s Kaitlin Young on ‘misunderstanding’ between female fighters and male coaches: Things ‘get glossed over’

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PFL 6’s Kaitlin Young touches on the natural disconnect between female fighters and male coaches, even with good intentions.

Kaitlin Young after beating Cindy Dandois at PFL. Photo: PFL

PFL 6’s Kaitlin Young says the female experience is not always truly understood in predominantly male training environments.

Young (12-10-1) meets Mariana Morais (16-11) at PFL 6 on Fri., June 25, 2021, at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., airing on ESPN2 and streaming on ESPN+. Young majored in kinesiology at the University of Minnesota, an education that has thus far served her well in her mixed martial arts (MMA) career.

“I think there are a lot of things. First of all, I think it’s really helpful at kind of sniffing out bulls—t, like realizing when coaches don’t know what they’re talking about,” she told MMAMania.com. “That’s honestly maybe one of the best benefits. Cutting weight has been super helpful. I’m sure you noticed this, I think it happens a lot when female athletes will have a male coach, there are some physiological differences between, particularly the way we carry body fat that can make a really big difference in weight cuts and things like that.”

Young, 35, elaborated on how there can sometimes be a disconnect between male coaches and female fighters.

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PFL’s 2021 playoffs continue on Thurs., Aug. 19, 2021, with an exciting women’s Lightweight semifinal main event featuring one of the league’s most dominant champions, Kayla Harrison, and one of the division’s most exciting newcomers, Genah Fabian. In PFL 8’s co-main event, top-seeded Heavyweight, Bruno Cappelozza, faces No. 4 seed Jamelle Jones in another semifinal contest.

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“There can be a misunderstanding,” she explained. “It’s not necessarily because they’re women, but just things because of the circumstances of being raised female that kind of get glossed over. Complications that can happen in relationships as she starts to get more successful is a thing that you just have to be aware of as a coach.... Sometimes it’s not anybody’s fault, but if you can only go through life in the body you were given, so.”

Young also served as a matchmaker for Invicta FC, a role that completely opened her eyes to a side of the fight game that most fighters will never experience.

“When you sit there and it’s so much more objective because it’s not you and the fight, and I think this is probably true with my media to a certain extent, anybody that’s in production,” Young said. “You sit and watch it over and over again, how corners talk to people, how they’re walking in and what their attitudes are like, ‘Oh, isn’t it interesting how every time somebody doesn’t post for three weeks, they pull out of the fight.’ You start to pick up on patterns. It is weird because you see some patterns in yourself, too, so, yeah, I think if you’re paying attention, it’s a really crazy experience. I’ll be really excited to see Miesha [Tate] fight again after doing it as well.”

Young has won five of six fights since returning from a self-imposed retirement between 2014 and 2018, a decision that was made on the heels of four consecutive losses. Following a victory over Cindy Dandois in her PFL debut on May 6, Young touched on how PFL’s point system and playoff objective force her to adjust gameplans.

“Where I am right now with the three points, I am in a good spot, but they’re only taking four [fighters to the playoffs], so there is a sense of urgency that maybe wouldn’t be there if I knew, ‘Oh, if you finish this in the first, you get six points and if it goes to decision, you get three.’ And you can still win this fight and not make it to the playoffs. So, yes, it does add a little bit of a different layer there, because, in a way, it’s kind of nice because it takes away the guesswork.”

Finally, Young peeled back the curtain on her favorite teammate, Taser (the dog).

“Yes, Taser. He’s wonderful,” she gushed. “I’ve had him since he was a little puppy, and he is going to be 17 in October. So he’s an old man. I know I tried to bring him with me, but the hotel wouldn’t allow it, unfortunately, because he’s great, though. I never had little dogs before him and. I’m converted, you know, I enjoy the Chihuahua.”

PFL 6 takes place this weekend (Fri., June 25, 2021) at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., airing on ESPN2 and streaming ESPN+. The card is headlined by Kayla Harrison vs. Cindy Dandois and also features Anthony Pettis vs. Raush Manfio.

For more on PFL and its ongoing season, click here.