Through the decades, professional cheerleading has proved to be a wonderful starting point for anyone looking to break into the entertainment biz.
Teri Hatcher cheered for the San Francisco 49ers before winning a Golden Globe for Desperate Housewives. Paula Abdul was a Laker Girl, of course. Even Phyllis from The Office had a successful run cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals in the late '70s.
"I knew I had to make a choice between fighting and cheerleading. I chose fighting."
But it wasn't music or television that drew cheerleader Rachel Wray from her spot on the Kansas City Chiefs dance squad . . . It was a love of beating up fighters in the mixed martial arts cage.
"I started working out at Title Boxing Club with some of the [K.C. Chiefs] girls for an alternative workout," Wray told a Kansas City blog on mixed martial arts (MMA).
"I really enjoyed it and started taking private lessons after a little while. One day, I came in and they wanted me to spar. I was nervous about someone actually punching me in the face, but I did it."
After the bout, she was surprised to find herself even more interested in fighting and decided to work with both a boxing and marital arts trainer.
"I knew I had to make a choice between fighting and cheerleading. I chose fighting," she said. "One thing led to another, and now I feel comfortable enough to compete in the cage."
Wray won her recent amateur debut with a technical knockout in the second round. While an opponents has yet to be announced, her next fight is scheduled for Jan. 25 at Harrah's in Kansas City.