He left everything, a simple office job where the hours became long and endless due to fights, lights and scary scenarios. Now Natalya is a specialist in UFC and MMA. Give match betting tips, analyze and comment. She is the first woman from Peru to arrive at Fox Sport Mexico and is not afraid to break stereotypes. In an exclusive dialogue with El Comercio, we invite you to learn more about its great history.
SEE: Can Carlos Alcaraz be a soccer player? The sport he abandoned to become number one in tennis
— What does it mean to be a UFC betting advisor?
This is someone telling you where to bet. There are many opportunities in any sport. As in soccer, you can orient yourself by how many goals are scored, whether both teams score a lot, etc. In the case of mixed martial arts there are also several options, it’s not just about the favorite. You can also bet on how long the rounds will last, or if a certain number of rounds pass, etc.
“This presupposes advance preparation, of course…
Knowledge is definitely gained. I started watching MMA in 2015 and I imagine that in five years I will know a lot more. There are usually a lot of new fighters, so the exploration is quite broad.
— How did it happen that you started in MMA? Did you practice it?
I’m a little weird now (laughs), I like things that not everyone likes, niche things, like the music I love: metal. I have never trained martial arts at a competitive level, but I have been an athlete all my life. In the pandemic, I hit a lot more. Every Saturday I watched MMA without exception. I can say it’s pandemic love because it was one of the things that kept me sane, otherwise we would have gone crazy. As a result of this passion, I started going to events, I started driving and talking about it.
– Before all this, what did you study, what did you do?
I studied law at Pacific (laughs). I actually completed my degree and played sports. I liked it in theory, but not so much in practice. Also, having to move, I couldn’t be in a stationary office all day. I then became certified as an executive level team coach. From there, I dedicated my experiential career to communications. I’ve been running music formats since 2017, I’ve worked at Willax, in Latina’s digital area, on channel 4 and on radio last year and this year. I think one thing led to another. What I love has found me and I have found it.
— Is there a big niche for MMA in Peru? Or are we far behind compared to other countries in the region?
MMA is not football, football will move the masses and MMA will move into a niche, and in Peru we have a smaller niche compared to other countries. However, it is not the smallest in Latin America. The people at Fox that I work with told me that Peru is the second most MMA consuming country in South America, and that’s saying a lot. Obviously there are a lot of people in the niche who consume UFC. Here, for example, people don’t go to events and that makes it difficult for the industry to develop.
— Are there MMA events in Peru?
Yes, there are regular events going on, in fact I already have certain dates to comment on. The problem is that the support is not the best. I hope little by little this will change.
When did you first comment?
It was a few months ago at FC Inca. First time commenting and it was an amazing experience. I am the first and only woman to comment on MMA. It’s not that often, already there are few women in the UFC and other organizations, we are barely there. My thick voice helps, but it’s cool to see you break the stereotype. It seems good to me that here in Peru we are growing, people are starting to care.
— How difficult is it to be a woman in the MMA universe?
Being a woman in a predominantly male environment is a big problem, but at the same time it is also an opportunity. I feel this is an opportunity to be the first of the first to follow the thread. I’ve been very lucky, but sometimes I feel like there are people who want to meet a quota, and that’s not the case. It doesn’t have to be 4 men and a girl, why not consider 2 women and 2 men, they each have abilities that complement them.
— Have you ever had people surprised to see you at an MMA event commenting or analyzing?
When they see me arrive at an event, people give me weird looks. But then when they listen, they are even more surprised because they realize that I know about the subject and that I know a lot. Being a man talking about it is like being part of the crowd, but being a woman is an opportunity. Every curse is a blessing, so I say, so you should take advantage of it.
— Do you think that in a few years you will be an example for other girls who dare to be tipsters or MMA commentators?
I would, it’s like a dream come true. Finally, we leave and leave this path, breaking stereotypes and giving way to a new generation. It would be nice to know that I am a part of it.
— What is the experience of working at Fox Sport Mexico?
truly unique. I meet a lot of people and interact with people who are passionate about the same things as me. I prepare a lot for every program, I never feel like it’s enough (laughs), but I want to crack it. They told me I was the first Peruvian and woman to be on Fox Sport Mexico and that motivated me. Sometimes I can’t believe it.
— In the future, do you see yourself making a living from commenting on MMA?
No doubt. It’s interesting to me to be a Peruvian who is in bigger, international media, in the top leagues, because in sports it’s not just the athletes, but everyone around them. I want to make a living from this and it will depend on something growing much more and how I develop as well.
– How do you expect to see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself commenting on more events, having my own MMA analysis program. Right now I’m talking about the UFC, but I’d like to do it for MMA here in Peru. Yes, I would like to establish myself as an MMA girl in Latin America and beyond that to be a female figure in the sport and I think I’m on my way to that.