Belinda Dunne has been promoting ‘fight nights’ for almost 15 years! This Saturday (29 November) she is staging NZ’s second-ever mixed martial arts (MMA) night with an all-female match line up; known as Princesses of Pain! Oliver Hall caught up with Dunne to find out more.

What inspired you to start Princesses of Pain?

I started POP because I can’t stand bitching and I heard myself joining in with a bunch of women fighters who were complaining about the lack of opportunity for female fighters. The guys really were not supportive of having women on their cards back then and there were no female fight cards.


Are there many female fighters in NZ?

POP doesn’t struggle to find quality fighters… NZ has a wealth of talented female stand up fighters and loads of them are crossing over because they see the huge opportunities in MMA.


Please tell us a bit about the film you are currently making about Princesses of Pain?

It’s about when I started POP. I am damn sure the crap that happened to me wont be believed but there are those who were around who do remember. As a female promoter I certainly wasn’t welcomed into the fight industry. It was a very scary time and looking back I don’t know how I kept going. I know I cried lots and I know I was very glad to have some very scared but strong female friends… It’s honestly a story many women can relate to and I suppose many gay people. It’s about fighting to be who you are. It’s about friendship and battling the odds and it all happens here in NZ.   

What advice would you give to any of our readers who are keen to train/fight?

Evereyone sucks when they start, everyone feels like an idiot and everyone is uncoordinated, so don’t let those things be the reasons that hold you back. Embrace the time in which you are a newbie, enjoy the struggle and don’t worry too much. Also fighting isn’t for everyone, so don’t think you have to fight if you train. I medically can’t fight, but I really enjoy training. I am the most unco person you will ever meet, but I still show up.

What can we expect from the big Princesses of Pain event coming up on Saturday?

The event this weekend is only the 2nd all WMMA event [in New Zealand]. It is packed with great fighters who I know have trained for a war. One of the big TV networks is attending to consider giving us future TV coverage which will bring with it sponsorship and opportunity. Shifting to all MMA has been a really good thing. The shows are very popular and packed out with screaming excited crowds. The fighters are hyped and they feed off the energy. The quality of fights and [popularity of] the event is sky-rocketing!

Princess of Pain will take place at Auckland Boxing Association, 1 Ngahura st, Eden Terrace. This Saturday (29 November) from 6.30pm, tickets $40 on the door.

Princesses of Pain even go one more step to flip the gender stereotype, employing a hunky ring boy! This Saturday muscle-bound Louis Ova will be on hand for your viewing pleasure!


 Article | Oliver Hall.