MMA Mom fights for the love

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MMA fighter Tandi Shaeffer fights for her son Ammon, age 15, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Balancing training, work and taking care of her special needs child is not a burden, but a blessing.

"There's a lot of reasons I love MMA." said Shaeffer.

"I've been fighting for 10 years now; getting into it for different reasons, fitness, overcoming different things that I wanted to overcome, deep things inside. But then you really learn to love the sport and love the technique, it's like a chess match."

Tandi Schaeffer is undefeated in professional fights and her coach, Kwami Stevens, believes she has what it takes to compete with the best in the world.

"If you're beautiful, you can go further than most, but if you're beautiful and can fight, your stock just rises on end and she happens to be both. There are girls right now in her weight class that I see with the title, that I have no doubt that she can beat." said Stevens.

As challenging and intimidating as life in the cage may seem, it pales in comparison to the challenges she has overcome in her own life.

"I got pregnant when I was 15 with my son. My son is severely handicapped, he has cerebral palsy. So developmentally he's at the age of a 4-6 month old baby. Absolute angel, but he's completely, 100% dependent on me."

Caring for Ammon is a labor of love. He‘s there with her each day whether she's training for her next fight, or teaching young people about the sport that has changed her life. His presence and strength inspires her to become the best.

"I've never been without him and I think he's helped me throughout this." said Shaeffer, "He's helped me to be stronger and not complain about things."

"I have to be strong for him. I have to be the voice, the hands, the back, the legs. Be his support and be his voice when he's in pain which helps me as an athlete and with fighting, to be a voice for myself."

"It's kind of helped me push through every single situation, every injury, and every rehab."

"He has an aura around him that's very calming , he kind of brings me back down to earth and helps me stay humble. He's amazing."

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Jeremiah Jensen


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