“My passion lies in understanding, or trying to understand, human body movement”
Each MMA promotion has it’s stand out ring girls: BAMMA has Georgia Graham, the UFC Arianny Celeste and Brittany Palmer and UCMMA has introduced Miss Sabina King. If you haven’t heard of Sabina or want to learn more about her, then you have come to the right place. Alongside working in MMA, she is training in the sport, in weightlifting, working modelling and studying for a physio degree at Brunel University. Sabina is aiming high and being able to fit all that in and more, you know she is going far.
Firstly lets start with Mixed Martial Arts; the world’s most addictive sport, (in my opinion). It is a sport that once you see it you feel like you have to know more and it slowly becomes a passion. Some people become fans, others go on to train and compete, where as others find their own niche. For Sabina finding the sport came through her friends and once she saw it, she knew it was something she would enjoy.
“A few years ago I was on a course and met someone who trained fighters. I was lucky that around the same time one of my friends had just started dating her now fiancé Mark Potter and they took me to see my first fight. My passion lies in understanding, or trying to understand, human body movement and I’ve always loved watching sports like gymnastics and martial arts; so I was hooked straight away”.
At all MMA shows ring girls are present and all the top shows look to hire the best girls to work for them. Sabina saw them and thought it was something that could be fun for her to do. All journeys have a beginning and for her it was contacting UCMMA and going all the way to WCMMA 10 to enter the cage for the first time and she has no plans of going anywhere else just yet.
“I’d been going to fights regularly for a while and ring girling looked like fun so I contacted UCMMA and they asked me to do the WCMMA competition. I had no idea what to expect, but I really enjoyed it and Maria Countessa, (who looks after the girls), and the rest of the Ring Belles made me so welcome I felt like I fitted in straight away.
WCMMA 10 was my first time in the cage so I’m still relatively new to it. I’m just seeing how it goes at the moment really. I love doing the UCMMA shows with Ring Belles so I’m pretty happy where I am”.
One thing that a ring girl gets is a front row seat to see some amazing fighters in action. Being involved with UCMMA and WCMMA, there will always be top quality amateur and professional fighters involved. Alongside seeing fights up close and personal, Sabina likes to follow the sport on an international level and has one fighter who sticks out, as well as one fight on the local circuit which everyone will agree was a fantastic bout.
“I’ve seen some amazing fights, but the one that really sticks out for me was Kerry Hughes vs L.J. Adams at UCMMA 35 in August. I have massive respect for both of them, especially as women holding their own in such a male dominated sport. Since the fight, Kerry and I have been in regular contact and are meeting up to do some lifting and MMA training together soon.
On an international level there are far too many to name, but I do love Georges St Pierre. After his ACL surgery I followed his “road to recovery” YouTube videos – I’d definitely recommend watching them. Inspiring stuff!”
Not just content to be involved in the sport like she is, Sabina also likes to train when she gets the chance. Watching the sport is one way to learn but jumping in and training takes your knowledge to a whole other level. Getting to the next level can sometimes lead to people getting in the cage to compete, so could we see her in the cage one day?
“Unfortunately I have arthritis in my feet, and a flare up can cause me to be off any impact exercise for a couple of weeks at a time; so maintaining training up to a fight probably wouldn’t work too well, but having said that I’m an incredibly competitive person and I always like my training to aim towards something, so you never know!
However, I love the training. Before I moved to university I worked with the guy I met on the course- Tony, and then Mark; but now I’m here I’ve joined the MMA club so train with them when I can”.
Alongside training in the world of MMA Sabina has found herself enjoying the world of weight lifting and it is another passion which allows her to test and push herself. Getting into this area was due to people she knew and takes quite a bit of dedication in the gym, but dedication is something Sabina has and she is preparing for the BPU Power-lifting competition in January 2014.
“It was something I just sort of fell into because I had friends involved in the sport. I love lifting weights and seeing how far I can push myself, so it seemed like a natural decision to start competing. At the moment I lift six days a week focusing on different types of lifts, movements, and muscle groups. It works out at about three hours in the gym and the rest of the day my focus is on nutrition to make sure I’m recovering properly and getting the fuel I need into my body. Obviously getting closer to comp time my training will step up as hopefully my lifts will get bigger – but I have an amazing coach, Delroy McQueen, who works that all out for me”.
As previously mention Sabina is a busy lady and for ten years she was a personal trainer and in her younger days she also practiced the art of ballet. Everything has been an experience for her, especially the personal trainer work which she still likes to be involved in with a little bit and has meant so much to her. Seeing people hit their goals must be such a satisfying feeling. Not just that, he has also added in even more teaching and also fits in the time to model.
“I haven’t done ballet for a really long time, but I think learning from such a young age gave me a good understanding of my body, how it moves and helped my co-ordination hugely. When I moved to London I started going to commercial and pole classes and I’ve been teaching those for the last few years. I’ve given up most of my PT work and classes since I started uni so that I can focus on my studies, but I still have quite a few clients online. I’m definitely missing doing it full time, most of my clients became really good friends over the time I was training them and watching them achieve their goals was amazing. I had one guy lose nine stone while he was with me, and this month one of my girls did her first ultra-marathon.
The modeling that I’ve done has generally tended to be related to something else I’ve been doing, so photo-shoots have been to advertise dance groups I’ve been working with and stuff like that. I do quite a bit of promo work too. An example was that I was on the podium at the end of the St Crispin’s Night Ride to have photos done with the finishers”.
Sabina is involved in so much and i’m sure if she wrote a book it would definitely be worth the read. Her calender must be packed full of stuff each day, but it is developing her and taking her to the next level. However one thing that everyone loves to do is relax and have some down time, if they can fit it in. When Miss King can fit it in she chills the way we all do and is working her way through one TV show like I am personally doing.
“To be honest, with a full-time degree, training, working and doing all my food prep I’ve had to sacrifice most of my social life and I don’t get much down time. Most of the social interaction I get is in training sessions! I do visit my family when I can, they’re really into sailing so I get to relax on the boat with them and the dogs in the summer. Apart from that I’ll wind down with a good film or something on TV before bed. I love action films and thrillers, and my favourite at the moment is The Raid, which came out last year. I know I’m slightly behind but I’m also slowly working my way through Breaking Bad”.
Sabina is working so hard to follow her passions and make her dreams a reality. There are a lot of people who can find the going getting tough and give up, but this young lady is on course to really make a difference. All roads lead to the future and she has a lot of aims for the future, but two in particular stand out.
“I have so many things I want to do and be, and places I want to go, but I guess the biggest aims right now are to do well in my degree and push lifting as far as I can. I started learning Olympic lifting this term and I’m finding it a challenge but really enjoying it, and if all goes well my first comp will be in April. Before he went into power-lifting, Delroy was a commonwealth gold medalist for Olympic lifting, so he’s an amazing mentor and is helping me make the switch whilst still pushing for January. Plus there’s a great coach at the uni and the rest of the guys who lift here are helping me with technique – when they’re not laughing at me for falling on my ass during cleans!”
Sabina King is somebody to keep your eye on inside and outside of the cage. Not only does she do a lot to help others in her career, she is establishing a fantastic future for herself and in all honesty you can see her not just making it to her goals, but smashing right through them.
Photo Credits: Sab Shots, Brian Harris, AndriuxPhoto and Sabina King.
(I would also like to thank Sabina for taking the time out of her day to answer my questions and giving me the opportunity to put this piece together).