China’s MMA ‘Supermum’ puts it all on the line for her three-year-old son, Peanut
Single mother Miao Jie says she is doing everything for her son – and also replacing the father stereotype in China
Some people fight for the thrill of combat. Single mother Miao Jie fights for the future of her three-year-old son, Peanut.
“I want my son to know I can take care of him, and I want people to know that I am a woman, and I can do anything,” said Miao.
The 30-year-old might be a relative latecomer to the ranks of mixed martial arts but the Shanghai-based fighter – who has not only taken on but fully embraced the moniker “Supermum” – says she wants to make up for lost time.
Miao (4-1) made her strawweight debut for One Championship in their card in Shanghai in September and had Egypt’s Mona Samir (1-4) tapping out in just 49 seconds.
On Friday night in Myanmar, Miao sits deep down on the undercard of One Championship’s “Hero’s Dream”card at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium, and up against Australian Amira “The Wandera” Hafizovic (1-0).
But Miao’s sights are set much higher.
“After the last fight a lot of media wanted to cover my story,” Miao said. “There were a lot of interviews and a lot of people came to me and offered me either jobs or other opportunities. But I am just doing what a mother should do. I do everything for my son.
“I have not expected to be famous. Before, my life was very tough. I just wanted to survive and help my son survive, and have a better life. So it is more important that I do my job, rather than be popular.”
Watch Miao Jie take down Mona Samir (at 0:27)
Miao worked as a chemical laboratory technician before turning to MMA full-time a year after her son was born. By then she had divorced her husband and was under pressure from her family to lock herself down into home life, and find a new partner to look after her family.
Miao said there was little chance of that ever happening.
“I wanted more challenge out of life,” said Miao. “I want my baby to think ‘My mum can do everything’. I know in China usually that is what children think about their fathers but I don’t want that.”
Miao started judo at four years old and turned to Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2010, rising to the rank of purple belt and picking up a bronze medal at the 2017 IBJJF World Championships in Long Beach, California.
One Championship has placed plenty of stock in its ranks of female fighters, atomweight champion Angela Lee becoming a global star since she won the title at 19 years old – making her the sport’s youngest-ever world champion. And the organisation’s cards regularly introduce new female talent to audiences across the region.
As shown via the reaction around mainland China and beyond to Miao’s win in Shanghai, if she can keep winning, the possibilities are enormous, in marketing terms at the very least.
One Championship said her debut win sent ripples across the Chinese diaspora – with interview requests flooding in from across Asia.
But Miao realises she has to keep winning before she can establish herself as a serious MMA force.
On Friday night, Miao faces a fighter with a similar background, Hafizovic having carved out a BJJ record of 25-5 before turning her attention full-time to MMA.
Miao said what gave her an edge was the motivation of realising there would long be one little man at home, waiting for his hero to return.
“My opponent looks very strong and very tough,” she said. “But I have to fight anyone who gets in that cage. The only thing I think about is winning, picking up the money and buying toys for my son.
“He understands what my job is. If he experiences some difficulties he will say ‘My mum can protect me’.”