North Okanagan’s Rylie ‘Coyote’ Marchand takes gold in top grappling event – Vernon News


Rylie ‘Coyote’ Marchand is back to her winning ways.

The Brazilian jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts phenomenon recently traveled to Texas where she won gold against some of North America’s top grapplers.

Raja Kler of Unity MMA has been coaching 20-year-old Marchand for over a decade and was thrilled to see his student back on the mats.

But due to Canadian COVID restrictions, Kler was unable to accompany Marchand to train at the grappling event.

“She went all the way to Texas on her own and got a gold medal,” Kler said. “It was an invitation-only event. They invited all these top level girls from all over the United States and she won it. There were nationally ranked competitors that she beat.
Marchand, a member of the Okanagan Indian Band, was making a name for himself on the MMA scene – then COVID hit and basically shut the world down.

Before COVID, Marchand moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she was able to expand her experience and have more people to train with, but returned to the Okanagan after the COVID hit.

Kler said Marchand is now aiming for amateur MMA fights this year.

“Next year she wants to take it to the next level,” Kler said.

The pinnacle of the MMA world is the UFC which has a strong – and popular – women’s division.

“We’re going to take it step by step,” Kler said of the move to the big leagues.

Marchand is expected to return to Vernon in the next few days.

She was the youngest woman in Canada to hold the title of Canadian Amateur MMA Bantamweight Champion.

“I was doing ballet, but my brother won a pass to try boxing and MMA and I went with him,” she said in an interview in 2020, adding that she was quickly addicted to combat sports.

Marchand said that being in the ring is where she feels “the most peaceful, where I feel at home.” There is no place in the world more comfortable for me than in the ring. I am in a whole different state when I fight.

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