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This is the twenty-fourth profile in our Society Nine Storytellers series where badass female fighters across all sports, media and culture in our community share their definitions of femininity, strength and empowerment and discuss what they fight for.
Have a story to tell? Submit it here! Tell us who you are, a little bit about your journey and what you fight for – in life and sport.
I don’t remember much growing up, but some of my most detailed memories began when I saw my first muscle magazine. To my amazement, I saw something I had never seen on TV or even knew existed. There was a photo of a beautiful woman who had muscles and looked strong like the guys did, except she was all made up with a pretty swimsuit and was smiling instead of grimacing. I began to read the articles and saw the names of these superwomen and knew I would never forget them. Corey Everson and Rachel Mclish; even today these women seemed larger than life to me. From then on, It seemed I looked for all things bodybuilding. Whether on TV or in the magazines my uncle would have at the house, I was hooked. I didn’t quite know what it meant to have a body like the women I saw, but I knew I was drawn to it. I had no idea that many years later my life would center around fitness. To this day I think about how much seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Barbarian had a huge impact on me. In fact, it’s still my favorite movie. His physique and kick ass mentality resonated with my fascination with the human form and the way in which it could be so perfected like a beautiful art.
During my school years, I was always very active. I participated in track and basketball. I was drawn to the competitive nature of all sports and the way in which I was physically challenged. I knew during this time that being physically fit and active would always be a significant part of my life. I was also quite aware that I was enamored with the physical body in it’s most chiseled form and at this time I began delving deeper into the art of bodybuilding and fitness modeling. Fitness modeling and bodybuilding was not something I knew I was going to pursue after school. The idea didn’t fully develop until I decided I wanted to change career paths from marketing to personal training.
I realized that the first stop on my journey would be to become a certified personal trainer. I felt this made the most sense and it would be the perfect introduction into the world of physical fitness and would allow be to gain access to the events, activities and people that would further expose me to the world of bodybuilding and fitness modeling. During this time, I opened my first gym and was delighted to be surrounded by everything related to fitness and health. I began boxing as part of my regimen to remain physically fit; which also would be a new challenge for me. I was also bodybuilding at this time and I loved seeing how my body began to transform from what I thought was a 110lb petite girl to a powerful dynamo.
My routine was a combination of what I learned from becoming a certified trainer to the years of reading and watching everything I could get my hands on for bodybuilding. During this time, I met a guy at the gym who would come in frequently. As we spoke more he told me he was a boxing coach down at the Charlotte Boxing Academy and he thought I should come check it out. I decided to visit the gym and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was as if this place was pulled out of the Rocky movie. It was old, falling apart, dank, and it smelled a cross between bleach and old paint. Typical me; I showed up early. It gave me a time to survey the land before I started. I didn’t see any other females and the head coach seemed unsure about my abilities upon first glance, but after I proved myself handily in the first workout they eagerly took me on as part of the team. I trained hard and hit the amateur and semi-pro circuit. And the rest....as they say...is history!
Fast forward several years later...I am now living in Portland, OR. Life is going well and I have found success as I continue to work in the area of health and fitness via gym ownership and personal training. But, something was missing. Life seemed satisfying...but...BLAH. I wasn’t pushing myself and enjoying the rush of and excitement of physical challenge in my life; something I enjoyed often before life became a about business and career centered activities. I started watching MMA again, not having watched it since many years before which was during the Tough Man and UFC 1 days. During this same time, I had been greatly enjoying watching the rise of MMA as a sport and intrigued with the art and sheer physicality required to excel at the sport; in addition I was amazed and impressed at how rapidly it was gaining in popularity.
It was then that I made my decision to begin MMA training. This is exactly the mental and physical challenge I was in need of. At that time I had no idea this would lead me down the rabbit hole of what my life is today. A few years and several fights later, I feel more like a fighter than I could ever imagined. I have felt more challenged in my training as an MMA fighter than all other types of training I have taken on in my life...COMBINED.
Never before have I pushed my body to and through its absolute limit; and much further than I ever knew it could go. Through my training as an MMA fighter I have learned to respect my body in new unimaginable ways and have had to dig deeper than ever to locate the mental toughness and tenacity required to stick with something so overwhelmingly intense; at every single level. The journey has been one that has humbled me through and through. But I have celebrated every success fully and appreciated every obstacle, which I have come to realize makes me a stronger fighter.
It seems like only yesterday I wandered onto my first mat and met the young men and women who were strangers to me. Those faces are no longer strangers; we have shared countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears together. I know it may sound a bit cliche but they have become my brothers and sisters from another mother. Sure teammates, sparring partners, and sometimes coaches do come and go. But no matter what, I know I have a team of support who cheers me on and is willing to kick me in the butt every day .
I often get asked if being a woman in this sport is hard. Of course I’m sure many women feel it does come with unique challenges, but in the cage and on the mat I am treated just the same as my brothers (and sisters) in arms. You're expected to train hard, embrace learning, respect others, and be a great competitor. I was raised with those same values and have tried to practice that mindset all my life. So for me, being a fighter feels like home.
Crem Frazier is currently a Sales Manager/Personal Training Coordinator at an upscale fitness gym in Seattle, and a competitive MMA fighter.
In her down time (what little she gets!) she enjoys playing chess, writing, movies and reading graphic novels. She is passionate about personal growth, family, and achieving a good balance in life and wants to serve as an example for other women that it is possible.