What draws more attention, a fighter who wears a lab coat or a Masters’ student with stitches and black eyes?
Ontario native Taylor McClatchie fights in the co-main event of Lion Fight 65 after a career-long life of confusing her co-workers.
Beginning her combat sports training at 13 in kickboxing aerobics classes, McClatchie found a budding love for combat sports inside of her. Aerobics turned to training, training turned to fights. Each and every day, McClatchie goes to the gym, does her best to outwork everybody around her and goes home and puts her nose in the books.
All anybody in her gym life has ever known is McClatchie’s equal devotion to education as well as Muay Thai.
“In the gym you’re the person who’s like, ‘No, I have to go, I have experiments to run this afternoon,’” McClatchie explained. “The people I train with just accept that I’m a big nerd and I go work in a lab coat and do things with mice and it’s cool.”
As for the co-workers and professors she’s crossed paths with, it’s a completely different story.
“The researchers I work with and the scientists really can’t wrap their head around it,” McClatchie said. “In academia you’re different because you’re a high-level athlete in a combat sport specifically, which is weird.”
McClatchie sees a day in the future when combat athletes will be a more common sight in higher education settings. With the popularity of the UFC trickling into the minds of the general public, she knows she may never benefit from it, but others will.
“The older crowd, like the profs for me, I don’t see coming around any time soon,” McClatchie laughed.
The lighthearted lightweight has never let the “black sheep” label get her down. In fact, McClatchie has fun with it. She may hear whispers or watch eyebrows raise, but a little extra hard work takes all of that away.
“One of the dumbest things I ever did, I scheduled my Masters Defense for four days after a four-woman tournament,” McClatchie said. “So I fought twice in one night and showed up to defend four years of my Masters research in front of a panel of profs. And spectators.”
It was likely the only time in her life McClatchie was disappointed in the lack of damage she suffered. A few moments of physical pain would have been well worth the reaction in her Defense.
“I was almost hoping to have a vicious black eye or something just so that somebody would ask me about it,” explained McClatchie. “The profs are generally not the kind of people that understand combat sports at all, so it’s always interesting to kind of bring those two things together.”
With Masters in hand, McClatchie has found a level of comfort in her career in both the lab and the ring. She completely accepted years ago that her outside life will never completely win over the scientists she rubs shoulders with. Her boss will always avoid details when finding out what her vacation time is for and most co-workers will never take an active interest in the story behind the stitches, but whether they realize it or not, she has noticed cracks in the armor of their disinterest.
“My principal investigator has shared pictures of me at Madison Square Garden as a lead-in to my scientific talks at conferences, so I think he’s secretly a little bit proud,” McClatchie said. “He doesn’t get it but he’s a little bit proud.”
Currently there’s no professional Muay Thai in Ontario, but the second McClatchie finds an opportunity, she looks forward to rounding up a few co-workers, shuttling them to an event and daring them not to become taken over by the action.
Until then, it’s the same old black sheep in white lab coat, a combination McClatchie wears with a smile.
Catch Taylor McClatchie as she takes on Angela “Riptide” Whitley for the Lion Fight Women’s North American Lightweight Title at Lion Fight 65. The action can be found Friday, April 9, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!