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Brazilian MMA fighter wins bout while 12 weeks pregnant

“I thought I was sick, but I had a baby instead.”

Brazilian MMA fighter Kinberly Novaes.
Brazilian MMA fighter Kinberly Novaes.
Image: Facebook.com/KinberlyNovaesMMA

KINBERLY NOVAES KNEW that something wasn’t quite right when she gained 2.2lbs in less than a week, despite being in the middle of a strict weight-cut for the biggest fight of her career.

Novaes, a highly-regarded mixed martial arts prospect from Brazil, was signed by well-known regional US promotion RFA last month, with her debut scheduled to take place next weekend in South Dakota.

Having been feeling unwell for a while and with her weight going up instead of down, the 24-year-old went to see a doctor last week and discovered that she’s 24 weeks into a pregnancy. Great news, of course, although slightly worrying when she took into account that her last bout was only 12 weeks earlier.

That fight lasted the distance too, as Novaes went 15 minutes with Renata Baldan on 17 May before winning via unanimous decision to take the strawweight title for Brazilian promotion Noxii. Thankfully, Novaes emerged unscathed and her baby boy is fine, she’s been assured.

“We did a morphology ultrasound last week and the doctor said I’m 24 weeks pregnant, almost six months, and my baby is healthy and strong,” Novaes told MMAFighting.com.

“I was worried because I trained hard, fought, cut weight. I suffered a lot to make weight for my last fight, couldn’t dehydrate properly, and I was already training to fight again next week, but the doctor said everything is fine.

“I’m a little stubborn, I don’t like to go to the doctor. I’ve been feeling sick for a while, colic, headaches and cramps. I was feeling tired recently, couldn’t even run, and it was really tough for me to cut weight.

“I was cutting weight for my RFA debut, but couldn’t lose weight. I did a stricter diet four weeks before the fight, and I actually gained 2.2 pounds in six days. I was desperate. I realised my belly was hard, so I thought I had some intestine issue. I took laxative and other things, but a guy that does massages for me told me to go to the doctor.

“I finally decided to go to the hospital, and the doctor immediately asked me if I was pregnant. I insisted I was not, that I had an intestine issue, but he asked for a blood test. One hour later, he told us I was pregnant.

“I cried a lot, ran out of the hospital, but I realised that was good news. I thought I was sick, but I had a baby instead.”

So how did Novaes manage to compete without knowing that she was three months pregnant? According to Noxii promoter Bruno Barros, the promotion is not regulated by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA), which means their pre-fight medical checks obviously aren’t as thorough as they should be.

“I didn’t ask for the exam. That’s the truth,” Barros said. “I didn’t even think about the possibility of a woman fighting while pregnant, going through a camp and dehydrating and everything.”

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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