Posted on 1st February 2017

Women in combat sports have taken a quantum leap in recent years and more and more stars are continuing to be discovered. Knowing the future is right around the corner for the next generation, EPOK has signed two of the youngest and most exciting amateur kickboxers in the U.S.

Known as “Striking Sisters” 19-year-old Star and 13-year-old Kaylee Monroe have been racking up medals and titles for the last few years, while garnering a ton of attention among the kickboxing world all while developing a huge following on social media.

“I think that signing with EPOK is a big step in my career,” said Kaylee before letting her big sister elaborate on the big news.

“With going into business ordeals, we typically like to build a family type of trust with who we are doing business,” Star explained. “With EPOK, we’ve found that we have built a trust between the company and ourselves. Signing with EPOK–like Kaylee said–is a very big step in our career. Not only will they help our career in the now, they will help us in the future.

“And at such a young age, this is unknown for most people, especially amateur fighters. So, it’s amazing that they showed interest in us and that we were able to perform well enough so they could become interested in us. We are just very pleased and happy with everything that is going on. We see everything being great in the future.”

Cheerleading and gymnastics were their leading activities before their martial arts training began. But that all changed one fateful afternoon when they got out of class and went across the street to watch their father, Terry Monroe, train at Caesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Star confesses that it was the aesthetics of a pair of shorts that got their attention that day and not the art of fighting.

“We saw the Muay Thai shorts and we thought they were really cool,” Star recalled. “And we asked him, ‘hey dad, how do we get a pair of those?’ He said,’ Ok, well you have to fight.” We said, ‘ok let’s do it.” He said,” No, understand what I am saying, you have to go in there and fight somebody with kicks, punches, knees and everything to wear a pair of those shorts.’ We said, ‘It’s cool. Let’s go.'”

Star, who graduated from high school two years ago, said she’s likely to turn pro within the next year, but doesn’t want to rush into anything and plans to wait until the time is right. When she isn’t training she works at a local health food restaurant called Muscle Maker Grill, which also handles her meal plans. Meanwhile Kaylee is in the Eighth Grade and balancing life between school obligations and her training regimen.

And on top of all the training and competing, they have their normal relationship as sisters in everyday life to handle too. And Star says she and Kaylee both work hard at making sure they are “each other’s support system” inside the gym and outside of it. Whether it’s handling a weight cut before a fight or dealing with schoolwork or an issue outside of fighting, they make sure they have each other’s back.

“I’m not going to say we don’t argue because we do,” Star laughed as did Kaylee. “And with our background we will take it to the ground and everything else. We have a fighting family and we kind of grew up in this sport. We are different from our friends. We don’t go out to parties. We don’t go and hang out on the weekend. We are solely focused on training. We don’t eat the same foods that they do.

“Typically, we don’t really know many other kids that do the same thing that we do. We kind of have to rely on each other. We are mental support and physical support. We separate it. Once we are in the gym, we shut off the outside, and anything going on with friends, and we just focus on training. And if we see one of us slacking off we will tell each other, but It may not be the nicest at times.”

In her amateur bouts, Star, who is 5′ 3″ tall, currently fights at a weight between 108-112 pounds, she says. Kaylee, who is 5’ 7″ and still growing, will be fighting at that same weight for her next fight due to a recent growth spurt. She last fought at a weight between102-105 pounds.

A friend and mentor of both sisters is fellow EPOK fighter, Tiffany “Time Bomb” van Soest, who is the currently super bantamweight champion for GLORY and a strawweight for Invicta FC. After their father showed them a video of van Soest they became fans instantly and were able to meet her. Now they are all very close and sometimes train together.

“And watching her train with men at Black House, which was an invite-only gym, that just lit a fire under my ass,” Star said. “I wanted to be just like her. It upped my training from once to twice a day. It upped the strength and conditioning I did. The type of sparring she did. I knew I wanted to spar with men like she did. So, she is the biggest female athlete that I look up to right now.”

Kaylee obviously looks up to van Soest, but she mentioned two other big fighting influences.

“I look up to Star a lot because I know how hard she works,” said Kaylee. “And I look up to Ronda Rousey still because of everything she has done and how she has brought so much attention to women’s MMA.”

One comment on “WELCOME TO EPOK: STRIKING SISTERS (STAR & KAYLEE MONROE)”

  1. DION V POWELL

    Great piece on the Striking Sisters, and they deserve every ounce of attention they get from the combat sports community and more. These young ladies are as focused as any aspiring pro I have ever seen… And just like one of the girls said, fighting is truly their family sport. A great amount of credit is also due to their greatest mentor, coach and fan – their dad, Terry Monroe!