ByJustin Golightly, writer at
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Formerly of Middle Easy, Justin Golightly has been featured on Bleacher Report, Uproxx and TMZ.
Justin Golightly

It's hard to imagine looking at Mia Kang that she was ever bullied, but it scarred her early in her formative years. You'd think that growing up and becoming a Sports Illustrated model would have done away with those demons from her past. Instead, modeling can be a harsh realization that not all that glitters is gold.

Behind the glossy shots and the slow motion video of tanned beauties frolicking on beaches, lies a career that constantly puts bodies under a microscope and can contribute to body image disorders. Instead, Kang found her solace in muay thai. She took a long hiatus on her modeling career at its peak, to train at a muay thai gym for 9 months. According to her candid interview on The MMA Hour, she'll be transitioning into MMA.

"I live in an extremely egotistical, narcissistic world. Where I spend so much of my time thinking about how I look and getting criticized about how I look. Muay thai I found was the complete opposite of that. That goes with all combat sports I think. When you step into a ring, you have to entirely leave your ego aside. You can get your ass thrown around, your ass handed to you, you stand up and shake your opponents hand. That was the perfect balance for me."

Not only did she win her first muay thai fight, but they'll be a documentary about her journey produced by Sports Illustrated. She's got some more fights that she wants to get on her belt before she debuts in MMA, in addition to building up a solid base of wrestling and jiu jitsu. However, it may be her fight outside of the ring and the Octagon that is much more important. Mia Kang breaks the mold and joins athletes like Serena Williams and Ronda Rousey, who serve to be an example to young girls separate from the photos and quips about their bodies in magazines.


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