Maryna Moroz: I felt blood in my eyes, and thought, “Just don’t stop”
An “unconventional” success story, with bullying at school, lack of money, numerous injuries and hard work behind it from MMA fighter, UFC’s first Ukrainian woman Maryna Moroz.
Maryna Moroz is a champion of Ukraine and world kickboxing champion, a Ukrainian champion in boxing among juniors. She made her mixed martial arts debut in 2013 at the Oplot Challenge 89 tournament. She won the next five fights ahead.
In 2015 Maryna signed a contract with the UFC, the most prestigious sports organization in the world in mixed martial arts and became the first Ukrainian woman in this league.
Since 2019 Maryna Moroz has been an ambassador of the Parimatch brand.
I grew up in a village in Dnipropetrovsk region. My parents were farmers. Every day I would wake up at six in the morning to be on time for a school bus, because I was studying in Vilnohirsk.
At one of the local schools I studied until the ninth grade. It was considered the most elite educational institution in our town; children from wealthy families studied there. A good word was put in for me in childhood. But I didn’t find any support from peers or teachers in this school.
I was often insulted, because of my village background — I was a black sheep. I loved to study, but because of fear, humiliation and constant insults, I started skipping school. I still don’t understand why I was enduring it
In the ninth grade I was summoned to the principal and told, “Either you pay tuition or we cannot transfer you to the tenth grade.” As a result, no one paid for this education. My parents took me to a nearby school. At the time I was already actively training and constantly had a clear goal: here I will finish school, move from Vilnohirsk and go to Dnipropetrovsk.
You’re not going to break through. You’re going to box a little and go work as a coach
When I joined the Institute of Physical Education I thought, “I’m going to be a famous athlete.” I wanted to break through onto the ring. When I started boxing, the trainers put pressure on me all the time saying, “You’re not going to break through. Now you’re going to box a little bit and go work as a coach.”
At the time I realized that I needed to do something, find means somewhere and make a living somehow.
During my career in MMA I had 13 fights and 10 of them were victories. But there were defeats as well
When university coaches found out that I had gone to MMA, they said, “You will be killed or crippled there.” I was reminded for a long time that I wouldn’t succeed. Even when I entered the UFC.
MMA is a very traumatizing sport. Injuries are very common for me. I need a month or two to erase the fear of going back to the ring and fight. I had a hole in my leg — my muscle compressed and a deformity occurred. At first it was a discomfort and I was very scared to injure the leg again. Every sparring I went to felt like going to an execution. Afterwards, I had an elbow injury. During the fight I was hit in the elbow and a large hematoma formed. Only two months later I was able to work with this hand. I was afraid that this might happen again.
Despite all the challenges, I really like what I do. Yes, I receive injuries, but emotions as well. I want to feel I am winning. Financially, I’m also interested. But who’s not? Everyone tells their managers: give me a better contract with a bigger amount. “Just like that” I wouldn’t go to fight and destroy my body.
I want to feel support at home
It is a pity for me that I get little support in Ukraine. I really want to feel support at home. After all, I’m the only Ukrainian woman in the UFC. I still haven’t received any help from the state. In Ukraine the sports sphere is developing very slowly. Many athletes complain, so they go abroad and don’t want to return. There is no support from the top. I’m knocking on the door, but so far without any result. Currently only business, Parimatch in particular, supports me in Ukraine.
Although I always carry the flag of Ukraine to the fights. I will never take someone else’s flag — I’ve been here since I was a kid. And I will continue carrying it, even if the state does not help me.
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