Wakey Wheeled Cats: US boost for roller derby player

A Wakefield skate star has proved imitation is the Ultimate form of flattery by wowing a fighting icon from across the pond.

When Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ring announcer Bruce Buffer heard a Wakefield super fan had used his name as her sporting inspiration, the Octagon MC was absolutely delighted.

And even though he's more used to mixing with some of the biggest and baddest fighters on the planet, Bruce still took time out to get in touch with Wakey Wheeled Cats roller derby team's vice-captain Zoe Melia and give her a perfect pre-Christmas boost.

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UK roller derby skaters follow the American tradition of playing under a pseudonym, usually mock-violent or celebrity-based puns. All names must be unique and registered with a world-wide database in the United States.

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Zoe, 24, a huge fan of UFC and mixed martial arts (MMA), decided on "Bruise Buffer" but never expected her namesake to take the choice as such a huge compliment.

As a Christmas present for Zoe, her friend e-mailed the announcer to tell him about the tribute.

And he replied: "It would be my honour to endorse your friend with the name 'Bruise Buffer'. Please wish her my best and to be safe, tough and relentless on the track and to 'Skate Like a Warrior!' This is very original and very cool. Much appreciated."

Bruce also invited Zoe to call in on his radio show and sent her a personalised picture.

Roller derby is a fast-paced, full-contact sport played on quad roller skates.

Wakey Wheeled Cats are an all-female, over 18s roller derby team formed in May 2009.

Zoe, who has skated for the Cats since April 2009, said: "I've been hooked on UFC since the first series of Ultimate Fighter in 2005. Bruce brings a huge energy to UFC events when he's announcing and always gets the crowd going which is why I love him. It's amazing to have a star of his calibre recognise me as a skater and Wakey Wheeled Cats. It would be fantastic to have him announce at one of our home bouts one day – but in the meantime having him officially endorse me is just as good!"

For more information search for Wakey Wheeled Cats on Facebook.

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