Timing is everything: Hilo’s Mejia makes most of her MMA opportunity before shutdown

  • Hilo’s Laura Mejia, left, defeats Jenn Flores in a mixed martial arts bout in March in Honolulu. (Francis Philip Quibilan/Courtesy Photo)

Laura Mejia is on lockdown like the rest of us, suspended but not expelled. The mixed martial artist figures to have an extra bounce in her step and a blueprint to follow once sports resumes

Mejia credited good coaching, proper training and the right focus for her successful return to fighting last month, which is to say nothing about her impeccable timing.

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Representing Hilo’s Boss MMA, the 34-year-old claimed a three-round decision at the Trinity Kings 9 Superfight Championship in Honolulu. Mejia not only outlasted Jenn Flores in a 135-pound bout, she also beat the clock. Just three days after the March 14 card, combat sports in Hawaii were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Win some, lose some – but nobody wants to have their chance wiped away.

“I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to perform, especially after placing many weeks of hard work alongside my teammates and the effort placed by my coaches,” Mejia said. “It’s heartbreaking to lose a fight, but it’s another agony when an opponent doesn’t show up or if the event were to cancel after all that preparation.”

Coach Chad Hao helped coax Mejia back into competition after a layoff that began with a loss via decision on Maui in 2017.

“Once I got back into training, I realized how much I missed the challenge of the sport alongside working with both my coaches and teammates,” Mejia said. “I’m forever grateful for constantly being picked on by (Hao and Ross Ebanez), and for them always pushing me, showing me patience and respect as a female athlete.”

Originally from Miami, Mejia is a licensed massage therapist and personal trainer, and her training hasn’t stopped since the shutdown.

“The ocean has been a good outlet, but I still maintain good weight training, cardio and drilling at home,” she said. “Making sure to keep a balanced diet alongside some whiskey doesn’t hurt either.”

Scotty Hao and Isaiah Fonseca also won bouts for Boss MMA at the Trinity Kings card.

“So proud that we all were able to bring wins home,” Mejia said.

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Her amateur record is 5-2. Nobody is adding wins until the virus is beaten – even the UFC gave in – but Mejia plans to be ready when the time comes.

“For now, my goals are to continue training and elevate techniques,” she said “There’s much to learn, break down and grow from in any martial art, especially when competition is involved.”

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