Good luck trying to keep up with Lindenhurst’s Jennie Nedell.
The reigning New York State women’s lightweight kickboxing champion already had a hectic daily schedule. Throw in that Nedell has been training for her fight against Chantal Perry at Glory 43 New York in The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Friday and it’s difficult for Nedell to calculate how many hours she’s active each week.
“It’s easier to count the hours I sleep,” joked Nedell. “I can’t hit snooze. I know Chantal is training and I have to work harder.”
Nedell, 38, makes her second Glory appearance and first since a split-decision win against Anna Shearer last September.
The Lindenhurst High School graduate works full time as a member of the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Then, she’s off to Longo and Weidman MMA in Garden City where she teaches kids’ kickboxing classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — in addition to private lessons.
Nedell also is the fight team manager for Ray Longo — the striking coach for former UFC champions Matt Serra and Chris Weidman, as well as other active UFC fighters Aljamain Sterling and Al Iaquinta.
When all that’s done, she trains as a professional kickboxer, about two hours daily, and usually works out as many as six times on the weekend. (Tired, yet?)
“It helps me because I can’t stop or find excuses,” said Nedell, who is 8-2 since turning pro in 2014. “I have to keep going. I have no choice.”
Nedell’s first choice in sports?
“I was a Junior Olympic softball player,” said Nedell, also a four-year varsity pitcher at Lindenhurst and a member of the L.I. Chargers program.
In April 1997, Nedell was involved in a serious car accident that she said required 175 stitches to her forehead.
The 5-foot-6 Nedell recovered and played one year at Suffolk CC and helped her team to a postseason appearance.
“I really played for my dad,” Nedell said. “He always wanted me to play softball in college.”
Nedell began kickboxing, initially, to lose weight.
In the spring of 2001, kickboxing promoter and former three-time world champion Lou Neglia called the gym where Nedell trained. He was looking for a woman kickboxer for a fight in May. She accepted. First, she had to lose nearly 30 pounds in about a month to make weight for the fight.
“It was ugly,” Nedell recalled. “I think I only won because I sold more tickets than the other fighter.”
After the fight, Nedell’s father, Larry, asked her: “Are you done? Are you over [kickboxing]?”
Before she could even fully contemplate her answer, Nedell was asked, and accepted, another fight for July. Then, Larry challenged her.
“He said, ‘If you’re going to do this, you have to do it right and start training,’ ” Nedell said.
Larry bought her gloves and a speed bag as the two worked in preparation for upcoming fights.
A few months later, Nedell’s father died in Tower Two during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. She learned a decade later that her father was last seen helping someone trying to escape the building.
“It was like a bad dream,” said Nedell, who has a tattoo of the World Trade Center with angel wings on her right wrist in tribute to her father. “It got so disheartening. We said, ‘This can’t happen to us. He’s the guy who holds our family together.’ ”
Nedell struggled with her loss.
“I took two years off to be a dirt bag,” Nedell said. “I was feeling sorry for myself. Finally, I think my dad started telling me to get my stuff together.”
Nedell graduated from C.W. Post in 2005 with a degree in criminal justice, and continued to improve in her Muay Thai and kickboxing career. She compiled a 28-4-1 record as an amateur.
Nedell said she used kickboxing as a sort of therapy, and through a mutual friend found herself sparring in front of Longo in early 2012.
“[Longo] was blunt with me,” Nedell said. “I was raw. I’m sure he was thinking, ‘Oh God.’ ”
Longo doesn’t quite remember it that way.
“She was a work in progress,” Longo said. “When you see some people, you kind of feel for them, because she wasn’t performing as well as she trained.”
But one thing is for certain: the two made a connection.
“I fell in love with the vibe of the gym and the cohesiveness, plus, Ray and I kind of clicked,” Nedell said. “He saved me. When I met him I was going through a horrible breakup and he put me back together. I believe my dad sent him to me.”
Nedell became the first woman professional kickboxer Longo ever trained.
“Now,” Longo said, “she fights the way she trains.”
Longo said Nedell has impacted the way he views veteran fighters.
“When I met her she was already in her early 30s,” Longo said. “Normally, it’s hard to break habits at that age. I tell you what, she changed the way I look at that now.
“She’s at a really great point of her career, and the amazing thing with her is that she’s still getting better and she enjoys it.”
Nedell, who easily sold 100 tickets for her bout, will enjoy fighting about 40 miles away from her Lindenhurst home in The Theater at MSG.
“I have a pretty big following thanks to the team, and my work with the kids’ program,” said Nedell. “I also have a bunch of friends going, so there will be a Lindenhurst section, too. . . . I’m so unbelievably blessed with my family and friends, and my team.”
Nedell’s mom, Lorraine, does all her food prep when she trains for fights.
“I couldn’t do this without each and every one of them,” Nedell said. “[Perry] has her fans and I have mine. She’s super respected as am I. It’s going to be a fun fight.”
Nedell only found out three weeks ago she was going to fight Perry after her original opponent withdrew because of weight issues.
“It’s still a fight,” said Nedell, who usually has to cut 10 to 15 pounds during camp to make her 135-pound weight class. “You train for anything and everything that could happen. You try and figure out: is she orthodox or southpaw? But at the end of the day, she bleeds just like I do. It’s what’s inside.”
Those close to Nedell know what is inside the tough, but passionate kickboxer.
“She’s always doing something,” said Longo, who credits Nedell for helping him lose 20 pounds the last 18 months. “She’s really positive. She holds a job. She’s a kickboxing champion. She teaches kids, and a lot of people love and adore her. She’s a true success story.”
As well as a person who has seen the best and worst in life.
“It’s so funny how nervous I get before a fight. I say to myself, ‘Look at all you’ve been through,’ ” Nedell said. “I’ve been through things that are way harder than fighting. After all that, there’s nothing another fighter can do to stop me.”