Drag Queen MMA Fighter Says Breaking Nail Is Worse Than Punches To The Face
Drag queen and MMA fighter Diego Garijo has opened up about his two passions and revealed that breaking an acrylic nail is worse than being punched in the face.
Garijo got into professional fighting in 2006, after he was smuggled into the US as a child and served several prison sentences throughout his youth.
He recorded seven victories in the ring before suffering a detached retina and having to put the sport on hold, but in 2018 he came back with a vengeance as he got into bare-knuckle boxing. Not long after, he stepped on to the drag scene as Lola Pistola; a persona he sees as a natural extension of his creativity.
While being a drag queen may seem a world away from being an MMA fighter, Garijo has expressed his belief that the two pastimes actually work well together.
In an interview with VICE, 41-year-old Garijo said that he gets ‘a lot of love from people in the drag scene, as well as the trans and gay communities.’ He stressed that his support doesn’t stop there, as Lola is also loved by ‘big tough fighters’.
Garijo commented: ‘Maybe they are also hiding an element of themselves that they would like to bring out more.’
While having your legs waxed probably isn’t a traditional part of MMA training, Diego knows the pain of both and admitted that ‘waxing is bad’ when asked whether it hurt more than being punched in the face, but neither compares to the pain of ‘breaking an acrylic fingernail’, he said.
He described breaking a nail as a ‘nightmare’, adding: ‘as for punches to the face, they don’t bother me… I can take punches. I’m not a very technical fighter, but I really go all out in a fight. I just keep going, no matter how often I get hit. Because of that, I’ll often defeat fighters who are better than me.’
Garijo, who goes by Dos Pistolas (Two Guns) in the ring, has tallied one win and one defeat since getting into bare-knuckle boxing; a sport he entered into despite warnings from his doctor that his other eye could also be damaged.
The fighter explained:
I retired from professional combat sports in 2012 after my retina detached. My doctor was able to save the eye, but it doesn’t work so well anymore. He warned me that the same thing could happen to the other eye.
But I just wasn’t ready to give up fighting. So, I got into bare-knuckle boxing. I wanted to try it out without the gloves. I wanted to really feel it. I just love fighting. I would probably risk going blind for it.
As for getting into drag; Garijo says that really began when he was a child, with a photo of him as a six-year-old wearing his mother’s underwear. He was brought up without a father and says he had a couple of gay cousins, so he ‘wasn’t exposed to many traditional masculine stereotypes.’
He continued: ‘Maybe that’s why I can be very feminine. I think people wonder if I’m gay, but they don’t understand that femininity and sexual preference are two completely different things.’
Garijo got into the hobby more seriously after taking a course on emotional intelligence where participants were told to leave their comfort zones, and knowing that he enjoys being the ‘centre of attention’, he decided drag was the way to go.
After being bullied as a child he has found that ‘art and fighting’ offer an outlet to the trauma he carries with him, and both through fighting and creating ‘a personality that has no shame’, he feels is able to ‘take a step forward in combat when others would take a step back.’
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