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29th Apr 2017

UFC strawweight releases candid statement on her body image issues

Tecia Torres has been the victim of bullying, both as a child and as an adult

Darragh Murphy

One mightn’t imagine that a young woman in peak physical condition would struggle with body image issues.

But while an athletic physique and defined musculature might look the part in professional sports, female fighters in particular often struggle with the public perception of an unfamiliar build.

Eyebrows might be raised at the sight of arms that are larger than most or funny looks might be shot at the broader shoulders that accompany years of dedicated training.

It’s a side of the fight game that is seldom addressed, particularly given the fact that the presence of females in combat sports is still a somewhat new phenomenon.

Boxing is still in search of a legitimate female superstar, with Nicola Adams and Katie Taylor thankfully making strides in that department while women had not even competed in the UFC prior to five years ago.

Having said that, the future is bright.

Female boxers are, for the most part, no longer viewed as less entertaining than their male counterparts and the UFC, the world’s preeminent mixed martial arts organisation, currently boasts three weight classes for females.

The lightest of those three weight classes is the strawweight division, which features women weighing in at a limit of 115lbs and has one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, as its champion.

Ranked fifth in the division is Tecia Torres, a 27-year-old who holds a professional record of 8-1.

Torres has admirably spoken out about the body image issues that she faced as she struggled to come to terms with her muscular physique amid awful bullying, as both a child and an adult.

It’s nothing short of eye-opening.

“Truth be told, for as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with my body image,” Torres wrote on Instagram.

“Thanks to my parents I am naturally gifted with a muscular petite frame. Growing up I was on the sour end of bullying, to the point where girls in my middle school class would draw a ‘masculine muscular’ looking women on the board, in an attempt to make fun of me. It worked. I felt alone and like my body was different.

“Looking back, I was different. My young body was a product of my hard work. I’ve been a martial artist since age 5 and I’ve always been an athlete.

“During these years, adult woman would always stop my mom and ask what I did. They loved my body. I never could quite grasp why they would want my figure for their own.”

She adds: “Fast forward to a Mixed Martial Arts career in the UFC. The bullying began again with other adult women competitors speaking up as if they had known me my entire life or were apart of my daily activity.

“Because I am in such phenomenal shape I must be using some type of performance enhancing drug. On The Ultimate Fighter, rumour had it I was throwing up. I’ve always found these comments so hilarious. I’m confident in saying I’m one of cleanest athletes in the sport. I’m very open about my straightedge lifestyle.

“On the opposite side of silly adult bullying I am grateful to live in a generation where strong is being seen as beautiful and little girls are growing up knowing their bodies were made beautifully no matter what shape, size, or colour it is.”

“It took me a long time to love my body image. What motivates me even more is knowing that I’m inspiring all sorts of people to pursue their dreams and create goals.

“You are my motivation, so thank you for that and for following my career and life whether it’s during an up or a down.”


Tecia Torres,UFC