BURLINGAME, Ks. A small community's support gave one Kansas native a fighting chance to live her dream.
Tabby Patterson, amateur MMA fighter said, "You can't be weak in this sport. We train to survive. It's literally what we're doing. We're trying to survive in that cage. Put that to every day life."
Throughout Patterson's childhood every day life was an every day battle.
Patterson said, "I bounced from house to house. Family member to family member. Lived in Florida, Kansas, California, and Hawaii. I dealt with a lot and had to fight my own battles."
"Growing up I actually had quite a few street fights. The biggest problem was in Hawaii, because I was the minority. They would call me names and stuff like that because I was Caucasian."
By high school, Tabby had to move again but Burlingame, Kansas was her final destination.
"That town literally saved my life. I noticed how everyone cared for each other and I loved it. The community really helped me get on track."
The community put her on track and she received a track scholarship at Highland Community College. She then transferred to Emporia State where she became a cheerleader.
"Stunts were like my main thing. And I could throw girls like nobody's business."
However, Tabby didn't stay sidelined for too long. The cage was calling her name.
Standing with a 4-2 record, the rising octagon star explained that the sport is more dignified than the country brawls.
"MMA isn't a sport where you try to be all big and bad and mean and disrespectful. It's not about that at all. We have so much respect for one another."
Tabby has clearly maintained her toughness, but since moving to Burlingame her purpose for throwing punches has changed. As did her relationships.
"My family has gotten a lot closer. My mother is also one of my biggest supporters. And overall life direction. I probably would've never graduated from high school, never went to college or anything. Definitely wouldn't be sitting right here right now if it wasn't for Burlingame."
Tabby's next fight is July 26th in Topeka.