Liv Parker’s journey from overweight to Invicta fighter.
When Liv Parker (4-1) walked into a gym she was just hoping to win a weight loss challenge, instead, she learned to fight and found a whole new career. At 337 pounds she was nowhere near what a fighter should be.
“A friend of mine at church came to us and said ‘Hey there’s a weight loss competition and we’re all going to join it.’ And I was like I’ll enter that,” Parker told FanSided.
So she enrolled in the program, which offered free classes for those looking to participate in the weight loss challenge. She assumed it would workouts geared to weight loss but she stumbled into a kickboxing class and never looked back.
“I knew [Knoxville Martial Arts Academy] existed but I didn’t know that KMA was an MMA gym until I got there and I tried to run away. But I was too out of shape to run back upstairs so I couldn’t get away from [my friend] fast enough. So she caught me and drug me back in. They started real slow for me and I fell in love with the gym and the atmosphere and the people. So when the program was over I wasn’t ready to leave I had lost 30 or 40 pounds at that point.”
Once she got comfortable with the gym and the people, she couldn’t be dragged away.
“I took kickboxing classes, originally that was all I had in mind. And over the course of time they talked me into each class, ‘Hey you should try Jiu-Jitsu’ and I tried that and I felt so empowered to learn how to use my body and movement to beat someone bigger than me and that was super empowering. And then they were like, ‘Hey Liv, you like kickboxing and you like Jiu-Jitsu. If you do an MMA class you’re putting them together.’ And I was like, ‘That sounds so fun.’”
From there her teammates and coaches encouraged her to get in the cage and compete, something she’d never thought of herself as doing.
“I got in the cage and the first time I almost left I was in Harlan County, Kentucky, the middle of nowhere and I remember thinking, ‘Man this is stupid. I’m 35 years old with kids and I’m a teacher. What the heck am I doing here.’ But I got in the cage and I won my first fight and I fell in love with it.”
Liv Parker also teaches high school
Parker is now a professional fighter with four wins under her belt. She also maintains her job as a high school teacher in Knox County. When she began fighting, at first she’d hoped to keep it under wraps from her work-life but students started noticing her injuries.
“When I first started I bruised really easily so I came to school one day and I had a handprint bruise, a couple of them on my arm because I had started doing Jiu-Jitsu,” she said. “One of my students went to my principal and said ‘I think Ms. Parker’s being hurt’ and so I got pulled into the principal’s office and he was like, ‘Are you okay?’ I’ve got this short sleeve shirt on and I’ve got these handprint bruises on my arm and I looked down and was like ohhhh.”
Now she’s open about her career and even uses it as a learning opportunity.
“You know I can talk to them about chasing your dreams and what it takes and I’m talking to them while I’m doing it every day and as a teacher, it’s very powerful. I’ll tell them you know I know it sucks but you’ve got to push through it and they know that I’m pushing through something that is probably worse than they are at that point or maybe going through something that’s hard. So they’re like well if she can do it I can do it.”
Parker hopes to get back into the cage soon but due to the pandemic fights are harder to come by, especially for female fighters. Keep your eyes peeled on FanSided MMA for updates on Parker’s career.