Press Release courtesy of American Fight League
Veteran mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Tara LaRosa has signed an 18-month, four-fight contract with the American Fight League. With wins over top female fighters and a record of 15-1-0, LaRosa is widely regarded as the number one female MMA fighter in the world. Prior to signing with AFL, LaRosa was heavily courted by other MMA leagues.

“Tara is the foundation of our new female fighting platform,” said AFL CEO BJ Santiago. “She is coming on board to help us develop a legitimate women’s fighting program. In addition to her incredible skills, Tara is widely respected throughout the MMA community for her character and passionate commitment to the sport. She is exactly the kind of person we want representing the AFL.”

Santiago added, “With Tara leading the way, we believe additional female athletes will be interested in joining our league.”

Standing 5’6″, 30-year-old LaRosa is a fierce competitor that has never refused a fight challenge. She has competed and defeated the top female MMA fighters at the 135-pound division, including Amanda Buckner, Shayna Baszler, Roxanne Modafferi, Kelly Kobald, Julie Kedzie and Fedor’s prodigy Julia Berezikova. She is a nine-time North American Grappling Association (NAGA) champion. In 2007, she made the first ever U.S. Submission Grappling Team and won a gold medal at the World Games.

LaRosa likes what she sees in the American Fight League. “The AFL is the right place for me because they believe in putting fighters first and giving women a platform for showcasing their skills,” said LaRosa. “I also feel that the league offers a professional approach to MMA which lifts the sport’s credibility with mainstream audiences.”

Speculation is already building about when LaRosa will get in the ring for a championship bout. “Tara will make her AFL debut this fall during our first pay-per-view event,” said Santiago. “There is no question that she could be the champion. She is ranked number one and has all the credentials needed for a championship fight. Our plan is to properly build our women’s platform and then decide on a championship structure.”

A resident of Woodstown, N.J., LaRosa grew up loving movies starring Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme. A self-described peacekeeper, she never got into trouble or fights while growing up. LaRosa played softball, basketball and field hockey in middle and high school, and received a scholarship to play field hockey at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., from 1996 to 2000.

LaRosa’s official entry into martial arts began during her senior year of high school when she started to learn Karate. She took up Judo in college and began competing competitively at that time. From Judo, she began competing in jiu-jitsu and submission grappling tournaments. In 2001, she was introduced to mixed martial arts and has not looked back since. She currently trains at the Philadelphia Fight Factory under coach Stephen Haigh.

LaRosa’s signing announcement was made during intermission of the AFL: BulletProof event held Friday, May 30, at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.