Sara McMann is an Olympic Medalist and the third-ranked fighter in women's mixed martial arts, and for a couple days in early September she shared her winning spirit and athletic expertise with young people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
On September 3, McMann visited three schools on the rez: Little Wound, Wolf Creek, and Pine Ridge High School. At each stop, she spoke to the assembled students about her life and answered questions from the crowd. Autograph sessions followed, as did the obligatory selfies.
Tacie Tylo Leabeaux: 't was an honor to take a pic with Sara McMann. You got a new fan!'
Following her talk at Pine Ridge High School, McMann and visit organizer Mike Kelly were honored with a song and star quilts. “It was so amazing having all the kids be so curious and to give me this gift," McMann told David Michaud of Native Sun News. "The things I told to these kids are things I haven't told to any 'MMA media' or anything. I only like sharing my story when I think it can help someone."
(Michaud, Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge, is himself an MMA fighter, with a 7-1 record as a pro.)
Sara McMann wears a star quilt at Pine Ridge High School. Source: facebook.com/officialsaramcmann
McMann then visited the farm of teacher Darrin Merrival, where she fed buffalo—with her mouth:
Journalist and MMA fighter David Michaud posted this photo of McMann online, observing that 'the big buffalo makes her look pretty tiny'.'
The following day, McMann shared met with some students from Pine Ridge High School and Red Cloud School to teach them some of her boxing and wrestling moves.
McMann won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, becoming the first American woman to medal in wrestling. Her record as a professional MMA fighter is 8-1, with her lone loss being to to-ranked Ronda Rousey in February.