LuFisto Recalls Taking On Ontario Athletic Commission Over Intergender Wrestling, How Wrestling Has Changed

LuFisto recently sat down with Spencer Love for a new interview and looked back at her going up against the Ontario Athletic Commission over intergender wrestling and more. You can check out some highlights and the full video below:

On the changing culture of professional wrestling: “Yeah, and I would say it’s probably one of the main reason why I’m so protective of who I wrestle with. The younger girls, especially. When I started, I feel like I didn’t have that wrestling Mom. I didn’t have that protection. I didn’t have that somebody I could go to and ask for advice. I learned a lot by making mistakes, and I’m trying to avoid that as much as I can for people who’re starting, or I’m trying to give them what I feel was really lacking in my career. I really wish I had that person you would like, ‘Hey, you can’t say that, because. You can’t do that, because,’ and then explain. Usually you make the mistakes and then they call your piece a of shit and you’re like ‘what did I do wrong? Please explain! I don’t know, so please explain to me so I can learn and get better.’ Yeah, it was a lot of trials and errors when it comes to my career. And then, you know, by learning on the fly and becoming older and becoming smarter, then you kind of get it. But I feel it took a lot longer for me that somebody today because there’s so many resources now that they can go to and ask for advice, and there’s great schools everywhere. Yeah, (it’s) definitely something that I wish I had, and that’s why I think I’m really focused on making sure that they do have those tools that I feel I was lacking.”

On where she’s found wrestling has changed the most: “It’s a gradual process. I think with people starting to kind of (want) to protect the new generation so they don’t leave instead of – if you talk to older people like me, we were all beat up to see how tough we were, if we were mentally strong enough to deal with everything in wrestling. And I mean, that was the way it was, and it’s fine. It’s a lot of – there’s a school that they still go and teach that way, like to make you strong and see if you can take it, the physical abuse, the mental abuse, the everything. It makes you a stronger person, but I know a lot of people quit that could have been so good, because they could not take this way of teaching. Now I feel it’s more with the years, it went from ‘let’s see how tough you are’ to more of a teaching process like you would learn jujitsu or karate, and really taking the student and treating them as a student and teach them and explain what’s wrong, and correct what’s wrong. I feel it really went from, you know, ‘get beat up real bad and see if you’re tough enough for this’ to a teaching process. But, it went really slowly. You saw that appearing with people giving more seminars, school opening up, more women getting into the business. That way you have to deal with men and women working together, learning together, so it was different. I was the only girl in the school, I was the only girl, like you said, on the card usually! When I was doing intergender wrestling, it was because I had no other girls and I really wanted to be a wrestler. But, with the wrestling community back then, it was seen like ‘oh, she’s hard to deal with. She has a bad attitude. She shouldn’t be asking the work the guys, you can’t do that.’ They didn’t see intergender wrestling as we see it today. Today, it’s more like two athletes working together more like two stuntmen working together. But back then, it was like, it was something bad. Some people thought I just had a big head for wanting to wrestle the guys. And I’m like, ‘well, there’s no other girls. What do you want me to do?’

“To get better in wrestling, the best way to get better is to wrestle with people who are better than you. That way, you learn on the fly, and you’re in the ring, and you see what they do when you just learn every single match you do. I still feel that I still have things to learn, because every match is different. Every opponent is different. They come from a different background. You’re always going to learn, and once you think you know everything, maybe it’s time to quit. So I always feel like there’s something more I can do. And, for the longest time I had – I couldn’t do like ‘best-of’ DVDs, because I would always find that one things that’s like ‘ugh, that sucked! I can’t release that.’ People are like, ‘oh, no, that was great!’ I’m like, ‘oh, yeah, but I didn’t pin her right, or this shot was not, ugh!’”

On going up against the Ontario Athletic Commission for the right to wrestle men: LF: “I think if I were to be doing that, today, people would see it as maybe a good thing. But I feel back then – I was told often that ‘oh, you have balls,’ because nobody else had, yeah, the balls to actually take on them. They were charging money for licenses, and they were not providing a doctor and it was not giving the promotion or wrestlers anything really useful. It’s not like – when I was living in Pennsylvania, there was a commission, but there was a doctor on the premises if something would happen, and they would make sure you get to the hospital. The commission was actually useful. It was way to protect the wrestlers, and you have to pay for the doctor and the license for the show. But wrestlers themselves in Pennsylvania don’t need like a paper that – it was $75 a year in Ontario, but let’s say you would get your paper in October. It was good till January, and then you have to pay again for the whole year. So I feel a lot of people, a lot of guys were happy that I did the work. But I think in a way it gave me the reputation that I was like, ‘oh, she’s going to create (a) problem,’ when my goal was to actually help the wrestling community as a whole because women wrestlers could wrestle the guys in training but could not in the show. But, in Toronto, they’re filming movies like Catwoman where a stunt woman is fighting with a stuntman? I’m like, ‘okay, that doesn’t work.’”

“I’m trained to do this. It’s not domestic violence. I want to be here. Too many people -and it still happens once in a while today – they will say ‘oh, intergender wrestling promotes domestic violence.’ No. Somebody who’s a victim of domestic violence doesn’t want to be this and choose to be. It’s something that should not be happening. But if somebody trains and gets in the gym and gets in the ring and you want to fight the best opponents you have (and) the best opponent is a man it is your choice to go against and go toe to toe. You’re trained to do that. It’s a personal choice, and as a woman you should be able to choose. That was the main thing. I could not wrestle who I wanted because of my gender. I lost tons of bookings, because there was no women back then. So yeah, it took me three years and a half, almost four years to – actually, my main thing was to remove the law that stated that men and women cannot be in the ring. But, when the whole – I don’t know, the committee or the court, whatever -started to look into it, they’re like, ‘nah,’ and everything, wrestling as a whole was removed from the commission.”

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