Here at TSP, we are always looking for new and interesting stories about Irish women who are trying new things, overcoming challenges, or inspiring others. One of our readers, Louise recently told us about Maura Fay, who has recently taken up MMA fighting. Laura said that she considers Maura to be inspirational, and suggested that we learn more about her. We contacted Maura, and she shared her story….

A few short facts about me by way of introduction…my name is Maura, I’m 32, I work as a researcher on the Late Late Show and in a month’s time I will be competing in my first amateur MMA competition.

The question I get asked the most in response to that last fact is “Why?”

Why would someone volunteer to step inside a cage where for three rounds of three minutes someone tries to beat you up?

There’s a not a single reason but there are a few major reasons. A year ago I was on holiday in the Cayman Islands and I felt so awkward wearing a bikini. I had way too much junk in my trunk! The second reason is that in September I ended a long term relationship where I was really unhappy.

Queue the Bridget Jones moment! Rather than choose vodka and Chaka Khan, I wanted to do something that would give me focus and strength to push through the heartbreak. By coincidence, John Kavanagh happened to be a guest on the Late Late Show in September and I read his book “Win Or Learn”.

That’s his motto to life. You either win from an experience or learn from it. Failure or losing doesn’t enter the equation. He talked a lot in his book about how mixed martial arts had helped him overcome bullying and built up his self-esteem. I thought if it worked for him, it might work for me.

In the course of researching how to get started in MMA, I came across Wimp2Warrior. It is a 22-week training programme where around 40 complete novices train five mornings a week at 6am. John had already done one season of Wimp 2 Warrior last summer and tryouts for this year’s season were happening in January. I figured I might as well apply and in the meantime get my fitness up.

I did my first 5km race in December and then in January I went flat out at the tryouts which is basically exercising non-stop for about two hours to show how much you want it. Then there was the anxious refreshing of emails for the next week waiting to hear if I got selected.

Myself, three other girls and over 30 men all got selected to take part in Season 2. It has been a tough but in ways an easy couple of months training. Every morning we are learning something different. All of the other Wimp2Warrior participants are so nice and encouraging and a pleasure to train with.

Right now it is all guns blazing in preparation for my fight. It’s eat, sleep, train and repeat until the Wimp2Warrior Fight Night on July 29th in the Citywest Hotel in Dublin and I can’t wait.

You can follow Mauras journey on Snapchat (mayfay11) and Twitter (@msmaurafay)

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