FROM the pit lane to the fighting ring, former Berwick High student Georgia Graham has had an amazing few years and now thanks to appearing at a number of high profile events and on television screens, she now has a combined fan base of over 6,500 people on social networking sites.
Not bad for someone who suffered from low self esteem when she was at school.
Georgia got her big break in the world of sports promotion when she appeared alongside a number of top motorcyclists and races and exhibitions throughout the UK and from there she appeared at British Touring Car, F2 and World Touring Car races as well as a number of Top Gear live events.
Now the 22 year old from Paxton is better known to thousands of fans and TV viewers as the British Academy of Mixed Marshall Arts’ (BAMMA) official ring girl.
She has now walked fighters into the ring and held up score cards at five BAMMA events, most recently at BAMMA 9 in front of a packed crowd of around 6,000 people at Birmingham NEC.
But Georgia is taking it all in her stride despite being staggered by the number of people across the globe taking an interest in her.
“I’m having a brilliant time working for BAMMA at the moment,” she enthused.
“Becoming a ring girl for them happened so quickly. I was promoting a new energy drink at a red carpet event and someone from BAMMA saw a picture of me and got in touch with the drinks company to say they wanted to chat to me about the job.
“I went for an interview and it was all a bit mad how soon from accepting the role I was in an arena full of people being a ring girl.”
The largest crowd Georgia has starred in front of so far is 9,000 at Wembley Arena although with MMA fights being broadcast in America, Africa and Russia amongst many other countries, she has attracted the attention of far more.
“I can’t believe the amount of followers I’ve got on Twitter and Facebook and more surprising is the fact that most of the hits from my website come from Africa. To me I’m still nobody, so to have people interested in me from all over the world is amazing.
“I recently had an interview in an Australian men’s fitness magazine and even got the front cover!”
As an official BAMMA ring girl, Georgia has strutted her stuff all over the country and with one of the best seats in the house for some big bouts, she has also come into contact with a few celebrities, including one of her favourite teenage pinups.
“Although you do get a lot of spectators for British Touring Car rallies they are quite restrained compared to the BAMMA audiences. They are really supportive and friendly but also very rowdy.
“When I was at Wembley for the Tom Kong Watson v Murilo Rua bout people were going wild- they get really into the fights.
“I didn’t really know what to expect when I walked into the arena for my first fight. The atmosphere was amazing and I still get that excitement a year later.
“MMA is growing in popularity in the UK and you get quite a few celebrities along to the fights. I’ve met Noel Clarke (of Doctor Who and Adulthood fame) but the one I’ve been most starstruck by so far is Matt Willis from Busted. I remember having a poster of him on my bedroom wall- I couldn’t believe he was sitting a few seats along from me!”
Georgia admits that before she accepted the job of being a BAMMA ring girl she didn’t know too much about mixed martial arts but as well as swotting up on the sport, its rules and some of its most famous fighters she is also learning a few of the moves herself in training sessions at Tweedmouth-based Berwick Fight Academy.
“I don’t want to be a fighter but kickboxing is a great way of keeping fit,” she explained.
“I wanted to know the moves so I could understand what was going on in the fights more than anything but I’m really enjoying the training.
“My trainer Sean has also taught me a few submissions- the arm bar, triangle hold and rear naked choke hold. I hope to do my grades soon.”