“Growing up I didn’t have the support and opportunity I needed to do the things I wanted to do and because of that, I supported the #StandWithGirls campaign because I wanted to support you girls. When I was your age I needed encouragement and I want to give you that right now. I want to empower girls like you. I want you to pursue your dreams, and what your heart desires.” This was the inspiring answer of Ramona Pascual, a professional MMA Fighter when asked about her stance regarding the campaign #StandWithGirls of Girls Got This (GGT).
Ramona’s life was published in hivelife, business news, entrepreneurial insights, and lifestyle guide website, entitled The Female Fighter Who Risked it All to Go Professional, and according to the article, Ramona Pascual has fought tooth and nail to establish herself in a male-dominated industry. Forging a path across Asia, she’s left the corporate world to realize her full potential.
She was born in a conservative Chinese-Filipino family, living her life making her parents proud. When she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a martial artist and left the corporate world at age 27, she embarked on the world of the unknown. Three years later, she’s kicked some opponents, bringing home double gold at the 2015 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championships, two titles at Asia’s 2018 Master International Championships, and becoming the first woman in Hong Kong to ever headline a fight event.
The Online Championship Session was participated by the girls under the GGT program and female youth mentors of FundLife International. The session aims to provide a platform for the girls to let their voices be heard and at the same time acquire wisdom and knowledge from empowered and influential women.
Ramona, together with the girls and the coaches, introduced each other and built rapport at the start of the session, in order for them to create a safe space all throughout the activity. When the session commenced, the girls asked Ramona questions about her experience as a professional fighter and as an individual who had been through a lot of problems in life – with family, career, and friends and survived all of it.
What are the values that guided you in becoming a professional MMA fighter?
Patience, discipline, and commitment. You need to have that passion and will to work on what you want to become. Professional fighting, unlike what most people assume, is not about anger. If a fighter is calm he/she will most likely win because that means that he/she has a clear mind in making decisions while in a fight and that his/her intentions are clear and that is to win the match.
What was the greatest struggle that you surpassed in choosing your career now?
I think that would be the time when I got injured. From a top global MMA fighter, I came down to an individual who couldn’t even walk or go to the toilet on my own. It was devastating for me and I admit I felt sad and there was a time when I felt like giving up. Negative emotions were all over my head but I didn’t let them affect me. I tried very hard to help myself recover. I focused on positive things and my goal to be able to bring my health back and to be able to fight again.
Did you dream of becoming a Professional MMA Fighter or did someone influence you to become one?
I didn’t dream about becoming a Professional MMA fighter but I was already very interested in doing sports that are mostly played by boys. I even enrolled in a Muay Thai lesson.
When I developed an eagerness to pursue professional fighting my parents didn’t accept it at first. I have 2 brothers and one sister. My parents were just like most parents. They didn’t want their daughter to fight. Who would want to write? But later on, they saw that I really love what I am doing and just gave their support. Even if we are apart they never fail to support me. They are the most important people in my life.
Ramona answered each question with gusto and passion, and with hopes of influencing the girls in realizing their full potential. Ramona wanted the girls to take up space and to cement themselves in society.
During the last part of the session, Ramona asked the girls about what they want to achieve and the things they are willing to sacrifice to reach their dreams.
“I look forward to becoming more confident and improving my public speaking skills. For me to improve I will participate in more mentorship sessions or gatherings where I would be able to speak in front of the crowd and share my experiences. I will also be more interactive during mentorship sessions with other youth,” Yman exclaimed.
The power and the finesse with which Ramona Pascual showed all throughout the Championship Session surely inspired young girls of GGT and female youth mentors of FundLife International.