TAMPA, Fla. — When Lauren Bensinger stepped into a cage for the first time, she lost. Her second fight ended the same way. But she didn't give up.
The amateur mixed martial arts fighter said her faith in God and passion for the sport kept her going. In a lot of ways, Bensinger's struggle to turn pro is a metaphor for 2020. COVID-19 has placed so much strain, pain and anguish on our lives; it is easy to lose hope. Bensinger says don't.
"That's what the pandemic has really taught me," Bensinger said. "It taught me to keep being the person that I am, keep striving for my goal. Things might not be going the way that you want them to be or how you planned them to be. But, you have to keep trying and keep holding onto your purpose and what brings you meaning in life."
Since Bensinger's first two losses in 2016, she's won five fights in a row.
When Bensinger isn't fighting, she is a full-time instructor. Support from her family and community are helping her navigate this unprecedented time.
"My sponsors are absolutely phenomenal. They've been supplying me as an athlete. They've been supporting me during this time, and they are definitely behind my human rights movement," Bensinger said. "It's about equality. I think everyone in this world should look at themselves as equals, and this country needs unity in spite of everything that's happened."
Bensinger is an athlete making it her mission to beat COVID and inspire others along the way.
"I like to bring motivation out of them and let them feel like they can accomplish anything they want in their lives, especially during this time. And, right now is a good time to kind of learn about yourself and learn what means the most to you and take advantage of that, Bensinger said."