UFC veteran Valerie Letourneau recently signed with Bellator MMA and she’ll be making her promotional debut against Emily Ducote at Bellator 181.
Letourneau once challenged Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the UFC Women’s Strawweight Title at UFC 193 and it was an experience that almost killed her.
“The worst was when I fought Joanna [Jedrzejczyk], and you can talk to ‘Bigfoot’ and talk to Mark Hunt, because I was sitting between them [in the sauna],” Letourneau said on The MMA Hour. “They had to take me to the hospital right after weigh-ins. I couldn't even drink, eat, or speak. And I don't know if you remember, but we did an interview as soon as we walked off the stage and I couldn't stop shaking. I couldn't stop shaking, and I couldn't even walk. I just made it to my chair and after that, I couldn't move, I was so cold, so cold inside. I felt like all my bones were knocking on each other and they had to give me an I.V., I was going to die. You’re not supposed to have I.V., but you get to this point I had to push. My blood pressure when I started cutting weight was 80 over 35, that’s how low it was. Can you imagine how I was feeling? Just trying to have a conversation, just trying to even think properly, I was losing my voice, vision. I couldn't even hear properly. So you just think your heart is going to stop. Mentally, you just stay strong and say, ‘okay, I'm going to make it tomorrow.’ I was talking to my body like it’s not even part of myself, like it’s a machine and you just keep going, keep walking, keep doing your thing. But how many times can I do this? And the more you do it, you're more traumatized. Every single time, you're more concerned of — let’s say a week from the fight, I was thinking more about how much I was going to suffer again to make it to 115 [pounds, rather] than the fight.”
The fighter did survive and make it to the fight, where she lost a unanimous decision to the champion.
In the future, the former UFC fighter would like more weight classes to open up for the female competitors.
“They need more weight classes for women, that’s for sure,” Letourneau explained. “And I even heard many guys saying that 15 pounds between, let’s say 155 and 170, I remember [Donald] Cerrone was saying 155 pounds is five pounds too small for him, but then 170 pounds is almost too big, and I believe him. For me, I could even fight at 120 pounds with my diet and everything. But the five extra pounds [to make strawweight], imagine every pound takes me an hour to an hour an a half to lose of sauna, of hot bath. So it’s five to six more hours of struggle and that’s how you kill your body. We just need more weight classes and we need fighters to be more responsible. You make the decision to make that weight and if you can’t, then just go up.”
Bellator 181 takes place on Friday, July 14 from the Winstar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma with Patricky Freire and Derek Campos headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on Spike TV.