Randa Markos-Thomas Ready to Take on World…Is There an Opponent?
Randa Markos-Thomas awaited the phone call that her fight had been cancelled. A familiar tune. A struggle so common for Markos-Thomas’ fight career, it didn’t seem out of place for her to receive the dreaded call the day of her professional debut.
“I couldn’t get any fights at all for two-years straight,” the 27-year-old said. “I trained for fights and they’d continuously back out at the last minute.”
Markos-Thomas is still hard pressed finding opponents and says 10 to 15 of her announced fights (amateur and professional) have been cancelled.
The native of Windsor, Ontario joined the professional ranks in 2010, but didn’t see her first action until November 2012. Her toughest battle hasn’t been the fight in the cage – it’s been getting into the cage itself.
She spent those two-years craving to fight but to no avail. Even as she stepped in the cage for her debut, it still didn’t seem real that she was about to fight because of the constant letdowns.
“I was praying everyday that I would get this fight. It was a big deal to me to just do it because I was ready to just give it all up,” Markos-Thomas said.
Her dream on the edge of finishing before it even started due to lack of local competition.
“I waited so long and I just felt I could not wait another two years for a pro fight.”
Markos-Thomas says she’s a 115 to 120 pound fighter but actively searches for fights above her preferred weight. A burden she accepted in her pro debut against Allanna Jones.
They were scheduled to meet at 130 pounds – 15 lbs. heavier than what Markos-Thomas wanted, but it was a risk she had to take. At the weigh-ins, a familiar problem arose for Markos-Thomas. Her fight once again became in jeopardy of being cancelled. Jones weighed in heavy at 134 pounds. She went through two years of cancellations and Markos-Thomas didn’t want another delay.
“I was like ‘I don’t care, I’m taking the fight,’” Markos-Thomas said. “I went in there so focused, like this is my chance and I probably won’t have [another fight] for a while and everything I trained for for two-years. I wanted to leave it in that ring.”
Markos-Thomas’ choice to proceed with the fight was a good one as she “shocked” herself by proficiently overwhelming the larger fighter en route to a second round submission.
“When [my fight] happened, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “I was like ‘finally maybe some doors may open up for me now’ so it was a huge thing for me.”
Markos-Thomas has not fought since. She’s acknowledged she’ll probably have to continue to look for fights above her weight class.
“I was told there aren’t that many girls at 115 or even 120 [and] even 125 could be hard [to find fights.]”
Markos-Thomas trains out of Maximum Training Centre (MTC) in Windsor and her head coach Rino Belcastro says it’s hard finding fights for male fighters at MTC and with female MMA in the area being so thin, it’s an even tougher task to find quality opponents for Markos-Thomas.
“For women you obviously have to pick and choose,” Belcastro said. “It’s so hard to find fights in Ontario as is, that you have to hope another organization out of the province has a female fighter on their roster and they’d look to fly out a girl like Randa as an opponent.”
A promotion Markos-Thomas and Belcastro feel she’ll excel in is Invicta Fighting Championships – an all women MMA promotion. Markos-Thomas has watched women she’s tentatively agreed to fight compete at Invicta. She expressed her desire to compete among the world’s best Strawweights (115 lbs.) and that Invicta is “where they are.” Belcastro believes she deserves to be in Invicta already.
“We believe Randa can compete with any of the girls with less than five pro fights in Invicta,” Belcastro said. “Not only compete, but excel.”
Women’s MMA took a giant leap forward in 2012. The Ultimate Fighting Championship added a women’s division and the creation of the Invicta Fighting Championships has given women fighters great opportunities to compete. Invicta has held four events to date and planning others for 2013.
Markos-Thomas and Belcastro want her to be as active as possible. She’s prepared to travel anywhere to compete.
She says fighting is her addiction, and not since the days of sneaking behind her parents’ backs to attend wrestling practices has she dedicated herself to a sport so much. A decorated wrestler, Markos-Thomas’ passion for jiu-jitsu and eventually MMA blossomed when she began training at MTC.
“I just can’t wait to do this again. Once you learn to fight, you feel amazing and you just want to do it again.”
She feels she has a lot to bring to the table and would love to become a torchbearer for women’s MMA.
“I’ve been through a lot of stuff and I think a lot of women have been through it as well and I’d like to show them they can do whatever they put their minds to. No matter what, nobody can tell them they can’t do something.”
If you’re interested in booking Markos-Thomas, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any details.