Song Ga-Yeon makes her MMA debut at ROAD FC 17 on August 17, 2014. Even though her MMA career hasn’t even begun, she’s already a media sensation in her home country of South Korea.
Blessed with comely looks and youthful charm, the 20-year old Song appears everywhere: talk shows, game shows, media appearances, and commercials. ROAD FC has heavily promoted her as a “deadly beauty”, and “the most beautiful fighter in the world”. They are aiming to get more people to pay attention to the sport of MMA, and in this regard the plan is working.
ROAD FC boss Jung Moon-Hong first met Song at a ROAD FC amateur Central League event in summer of 2013. Immediately the obvious stood out. “She had a beautiful face,” Jung remarked. “It seemed to me that this was not the face of a fighter, that’s why I considered her to be the most beautiful out of all the female fighters in the world,” he concluded.
Song’s martial arts journey stemmed from an innate interest as a child. She was born on Jeju Island, at the very southern tip of Korea. Her father would frequently play golf, and right next to the golf course there was a boxing gym. Song, while just a girl in elementary school, knew that’s what she wanted to do, but her father was fearful of his daughter getting hurt, so he put her into the martial art he’d always done, Hapkido.
Song threw herself into hapkido quite literally. Then for high school, she had the chance to study in Busan, where extra curricular activities in the martial arts abounded, and she was in heaven. But in her freshman year tragedy struck: her father passed away. Song’s martial arts journey then became all about turning tragedy into constructive growth.
“I don’t really want to talk about it,” Song expressed. “I started kick boxing in high school because I was having a hard time.” Perhaps her passion for martial arts or her own inner strength guided her aggressiveness into being channeled during such a pivotal life moment. “I didn’t want to fall into bad situations, so that’s the reason I started kickboxing.”
Life only got harder. Song trained, went to school, then would go to work at a restaurant and a convenience store until late in the night to support herself and future ambitions. It was a grueling schedule for a high school student, and sleep was sacrificed it seemed. “I slept in school,” Song laughed, but it was actually allowed in certain cases. “I wanted to have the opportunity to go to university.”
While she hasn’t proven the “deadly” part in the cage just yet, Song’s sensationalism started when videos of her in kickboxing matches with men began to leak out. Out of six kickboxing matches she had, two of her opponents were male, and all of her matches ended with Song’s hand being raised. Again, Song’s candor comes out when she talks about those male opponents. “Twice my rival was a man,” she stated, “I feel nothing special about fighting with men.”
During that difficult period of her life, Song became interested in two things: the military and MMA. With her early attempt at university studies being a difficult one, Song even considered the military and testing out specifically for Korea’s Special Forces. Then she began to watch MMA and decided to get involved with it. “I wanted to learn a variety of techniques like what MMA had to offer,” she shared. Her first experience in MMA was with Gumi MMA’s Coach Lee Chang-Seob.
When ROAD boss Jung first met Song, he thought she was somebody’s girlfriend. He was stunned to find out she was a fighter, and became interested in her progression. She possessed natural beauty, yes, but he was even more impressed with her dedication and intensity. After a fluff stint as a round girl proved that people were indeed interested in this powerful and pretty young lady, Jung invited Song to move to Seoul, train at the official ROAD FC Gym, and be a part of his newly-formed Team ONE. Song broke out in tears. Finally her passion had led to opportunity.
Song is the only woman on the team, but that bothers no one. Throughout her entire martial arts journey she’s usually been the lone female and still excelled. She has thrown herself into the sport of MMA as well. “I love the wrestling practice the most,” she candidly shared, “but the basic training, not so much.”
The next step, after watching her training exclusively in MMA, was to set up her first professional match. “I’m not sure how she will turn out yet, because this is only her debut,” Jung remarks. “But she has a lot of passion, and puts in the effort. So I expect her potential is great.”
Song’s opponent for ROAD FC 17 on August 17th is fellow pro MMA debutant Emi Yamamato. She has participated in amateur MMA matches and, like Song, comes from a traditional martial arts background which is having trained in kendo for six years. Song’s in full preparation for her upcoming fight. “I’m doing hard training three times a day, and controlling my diet,” she shared. “Hard, because I like food! Chicken, chocolate, pasta… I like food.”
Song’s MMA debut will be the fifth female bout that ROAD FC has made, which has included top-ranked women like Ham Seo-Hee and Takayo Hashi. CEO Jun explains, “We think women fighters are very important, so we are going to extend our matchmaking for more women.”
Song is experiencing being in the limelight for her looks before her abilities, which will all soon change. The one question that bears asking, involves the clashing of beauty and brawn. Does she think about the fact that fighting could potentially cause damage to her looks? Does she worry about that? “No. never,” Song exclaims. “I want go in the cage right now!”