Q&A with Denise Bruckner-Gillentine
By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans. Today I will be sitting down with pro debut fighter Denise Bruckner-Gillentine. She will be stepping into the cage April 15 at the World Fighting Championship. Denies is also fighting for a very special reason. This event is to benefit her late son. I urge you to please support her worthy cause. Let’s sit down with Denise and talk for a bit.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Denise: It’s my life. It’s my only means of being capable of breathing. If I didn’t fight I would die again inside my heart. It keeps me focused and gives me a reason to live. After I lost my 12 year old son I died too. For the next five years after losing him I turned to drugs, alcohol, and smoking to bury the pain. I tried several suicide attempts with intentional overdose. I did not want to live. I even became homeless. I just no longer cared about anything. Then five years later I got a phone call that my sister was dying of cancer. It made me realize I had to stand for her. So I looked for something to turn to as an outlet instead of drugs and the other stuff. I found MMA. It is hard for me sometimes to not want to hide my pain in those other things. Only because I train to fight so I know I can’t. If I did not fight, I would go back to the drugs. I need something to get what is inside of me out. So fighting is life to me. I’m dead without it.
Nick: At what age did you begin to train martial arts?
Denise: I started training in Karate when I was 28. I was 9 months pregnant when I tested for my blue belt. I brought my son to classes as soon as he was born. We did taekwondo together until the very night he died. After that I never went back. I couldn’t without him.
Nick: What disciplines do you train in and what belts do you have in them?
Denise: I have a red belt in U.F.A.F. United fighting arts federation and a black belt in taekwondo.
Nick: You currently have 7 amateur fights under your belt. What made you decide to jump into the pros now?
Denise: Mostly because I am 52 years old. I don’t have the allotted amount of time most people have. I feel ready.
Nick: What camp do you train with currently? How long have you been with them?
Denise: I just moved to Vegas I am training under Gil Martinez at the Roy Jones Boxing Academy. Been with him for only six months.
Nick: With 8 of your wins coming via KO/TKO what is your favorite strike to use?
Denise: I would have to say my sidekick.
Nick: What would you say your best attribute is in the cage?
Denise: My best attribute is my heart and will to keep going.
Nick: You currently fight at atomweight a weight class that has been abandoned in the past for more opportunity. King of the Cage has recently signed several fighters in that weight class to try and build it up. Would you make a possible move to sign with them should the opportunity arise?
Denise: Probably not. I’ve already fought two of the fighters they have signed on. Looking forward to fighting them all. They have been asking.
Nick: April 15 you will be facing Mellissa Wang. Have you researched your opponent prior to the fight?
Denise: I haven’t researched her other than just knowing were she trains. She looks strong and trains at a good school. It’s going to be a good fight. I’m hoping to put on a good fight for the fans.
Nick: Do you have a prediction for your debut?
Denise: I like fights that go the distance. People like to watch fights that last, and of course I plan on winning who doesn’t walk in with those intentions.
Nick: What advice could you give to a new fighter starting their amateur career?
Denise: I would tell them to not get discouraged and give up. Make needed sacrifices to train even if it’s with your job. Let nothing and no one stand in your way. Some people you love won’t like it, but it’s not their dream it;s yours. Listen to no one other than your own heart. Do what make you happy not them. Life is too short to give in to other people’s negativity.
This match was made around Denises late son. All proceeds raised will be donated to a non profit youth organization to help save the lives of kids. Commemorative ribbons will be handed out at the fight to every person in attendance. Denise’s son’s best friend will be walking her to the cage. Please search for Ed4Ed4All – (Education for All) on Facebook to see how you can help out or purchase a shirt.
I have to say that Denise is an amazing woman with an amazing story. She has endured so much while thinking of helping others the entire way. I wish her all the best in her upcoming fight. No matter what the result is she will be helping children everywhere. I truly must thank her for lending me some time to talk with her. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA