Pinay model Rome Trinidad out to prove that she's a legit MMA fighter
“Gusto ko rin ipakita na kung kaya ng mga lalake, kaya din naming kababaihan. Women empowerment.” (Photo courtesy of Rome 'The Rebel' Trinidad on Facebook)
The path that brought Filipina atomweight Rome ‘The Rebel’ Trinidad is certainly an uncommon one.
While a number of ONE Championship athletes have been life-long martial artists who eventually found their way to mixed martial arts, that wasn’t the case for Trinidad, who’ll be making her promotional debut at ONE: Warriors of the World in Bangkok.
Before ever putting on a pair of five-ounce gloves, Trinidad was, interestingly enough, a model.
“Marami naman talaga nagtatanong sa akin, kasi na-una ako maging model kesa maging MMA fighter,” Trinidad shared with the media. “Nakahiligan ko lang din, tsaka gusto talaga matuto noon ng self-defense.”
(A lot of people ask me, because I was a model first before becoming an MMA fighter. I just grew to love it, and at the time, I really wanted to learn self-defense.)
Trinidad began her martial arts journey by taking up one of the Philippines’ homegrown forms of martial arts: Sikaran.
“Nagsimula ako sa Sikaran fighting, it’s a Filipino martial art, it’s foot fighting. Then mas naging eager ako, I want something more, hanggang sa umakyat na ako ng national and regional ng Sikaran tournament,”
(I started with Sikaran, it’s a Filipino martial art, it’s foot fighting. Then I became more eager, I wanted something more. Eventually I moved up to national and regional Sikaran tournaments.)
Obviously, Trinidad’s passion for martial arts went beyond simply learning self-defense, as she earned the title of national champion in Sikaran.
From there, The 20-year old Manileña decided to make the jump to mixed martial arts.
When asked what pushed her to decide to go pro in MMA, her answer was simple and straight-forward.
“Karaniwan kasi, pag naiisip nila ang MMA, pang-lalake lang yun ah, parang sa culture natin, bihira yung babae na nakaka-gawa ng ganitong klaseng profession, diba? Bilang na bilang lang,” Trinidad continued.
(Usually, when people think of MMA, they think it’s just for men. In our culture, it’s rare that you see women in this profession, right? There’s only a few of them.)
For Rome, it’s simple. She just wants to go out and show that what men can do, women can do too.
“Gusto ko rin ipakita na kung kaya ng mga lalake, kaya din naming kababaihan. Women empowerment.”
(I want to show that if men can do it, we women can do it too. Women empowerment.)
Trinidad joins a growing list of ladies who have taken the sport by storm. Champions like Angela Lee and Geli Bulaong, and world class talents such as Ann Osman, Mei Yamaguchi and Gina Iniong have all shown that women can more than hold their own inside the confines of a mixed martial arts cage.
These ladies have broken the stereotype that mixed martial arts is a purely masculine sport.
In fact, Trinidad need not look further than her very opponent come fight night: Rika Ishige.
One look at Ishige and it’s likely that nobody would assume that Thai-Japanese looker punches people for a living, when in reality, she’s the first professional female mixed martial artist to come out of Thailand.
Trinidad and Ishige may be opponents on Saturday, but in reality, the two are fighting for the same thing, and that’s to show that women indeed do have a place in mixed martial arts.
Rome Trinidad and Rika Ishige go head to head at ONE Championship: Warriors of the World on Saturday, December 9th at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Catch the action LIVE starting 9:30 PM on S+A channel 23!