Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Kai-Marks.
Christina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Roughly about 12 years ago I attended an MMA fight in Tijuana Mexico.
At that time I was currently pregnant with my now 11-year-old son (John-Mario) I was so intrigued by the sport while sitting in the audience I said out loud I can totally see myself doing this. However my significant other at that time did not quite feel the same and said yeah right I could never picture you stepping in the cage and doing this with a very sarcastic laugh.
Fast forward two weeks later after giving birth to my son, I went to a practice for MMA. I think most people thought I was just there to try to lose weight .one night they were short a person and needed an extra person to spar one of their current fighters. I said what the hell I’ll do it! I got hit on my face swung back and learned that I had a newfound love for the sport.
Three months later after that first sparring match, I stepped into the cage and had my first fight my son was only three months old.
My career highlights:
I was the first woman (along with my opponent ) to be signed and have a sanctioned MMA fight in Tijuana Mexico. I made the ultimate fighter season 26 show me along with 15 other ladies opened up the 125 division for the UFC. I fought on pay-per-view in a bare-knuckle fight went against a 16year vet in boxing and beat her in the second round. I fought for UFC, Invicta, king of the cage.
Fast forward 11 years I am still currently fighting and my son is my number one fan. And I guess you can say I proved that other person wrong that yes I can do it now watch me
Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not… back 11 years ago when I started MMA female fighters were not looked at how we are looked at today, we didn’t get the respect or the recognition that we have now earned. It was hard to get fights and fights that paid right or were fair. Big promotions weren’t signing females, it was a male dominant “fight world” and I wanted to jump right in face first. While doing that I was a new mom who just started another new career as a financial aid director in a new city of Orange County with no family around.
I struggle with new parenthood obstacles, ending a six-year relationship (with my son’s father). I had no background in any type of martial arts I was starting fresh and green in the sport.
I had more downs than ups in this Journey. I had a really tough weight cuts once I had to lose 25 pounds in 20 days. Before I made the Ultimate fighter season 26 I tried out for that show 2- 3 years prior and I didn’t make it. Which led me to have self-doubts what made me want to quit at times. I endured many injuries such as concussion, broken toe, finger, hyperextensions ligaments, etc. I missed events, games for my son because I had to be at practice or elsewhere because of fights.
I will have to say the biggest struggle was the question was this all worth it.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a professional MMA fighter. A trainer and coach for the UFC Gym in San Diego.
I am known for Muay Thai. I am explosive extremely athletic and a hard hitter. I’m also a purple belt in Brazilian jujitsu.
The one thing I’m most proud of Is my son has my UFC picture on his binder. That brings me back to when I was in grade school and I had Maryann Jones on my binder she was the person I looked up to when it came to sports.
It brought pier joy, happiness a humble pride moment for me to see that my son chose me to be on his binder.
What sets me apart from other fighters is I started from the ground up I didn’t have any doors open already for me I literally had to open them all myself and work 10 times harder to even get noticed, I’m a hands-on mom. I still an active fighter/competitor that trains others to do so as well.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One of my favorite and most meaningful memory would have to be the day I learned how to ride a bike.
I have seen this bike at a garage sale that didn’t have any training wheels and I really wanted it. I convince my grandmother to get it for me. We got back to her house and I was excited that day to learn how to ride my new bike.
I hopped on it with peer confidence I remember having a couple of petals and I teeter-totter right into her Nopales (cactus). I believe I fell in the nopales or her rose bush over a dozen times.
I remember crying and setting on the ground picking out the thorns and saying “ I can’t do this” and my grandmother said, “ what did you just say!!!??” The way she said that and was looking at me I didn’t want to repeat it. So I just started crying more and looked down. She then said “Mija don’t ever say you can’t do something, if you want it bad enough figured it out and make it happen. So get up and learn how to ride that bike!” So I did and took probably a dozen more falls. Then before I knew it I stop falling and I was riding my bike.
Later on in life when I had self-doubts my grandmother would say to me. “ Mija just remembers the nopales and your bike…. you got this.” And even to this day with her not be here to tell me, I can still hear her saying it to me “don’t ever say you can’t do it” those are words I live by.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Xtinamarks
- Facebook: Christina Kai-Marks