Gunshot victim turns to MMA to heal

A gunshot survivor who lost her leg as a result of the shooting is now training in mixed martial arts and various other combat…

By: Karim Zidan | 11 months ago
Gunshot victim turns to MMA to heal
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

A gunshot survivor who lost her leg as a result of the shooting is now training in mixed martial arts and various other combat sports in an attempt to heal both her mind and body.

Back in 2018, New Zealand native Jamie Nepia was shot in the leg when a group of unidentified men came to her home looking for her partner at the time. As Nepia attempted to run across the street to protect her mother, she was shot in the leg and eventually lost it following complications from the incident.

“You just go red and you run. You run over there and you try your hardest to protect her, and that’s what I tried to do. Got him onto the road, turned around and then he shot me,” Nepia told the New Zealand Herald.

“I remember feeling a burning sensation and I think my body kicked into shock,” she continued.

Following the incident in 2018, the gunman, Rex Daley, was sentenced to eight and a half years in jail for the shooting. However, it did not stop Nepia from spiraling into depression.

After months of locking herself in her room, the mother of five decided to use MMA and kickboxing to rekindle her passion and realign her purpose.

“I might have something happening on a day and I get to just leave it at the door for two hours and I get to go into the gym and I work,” “It makes me feel absolutely amazing.”

Nepia first began training at MMA Disputed less than two years following the shooting, first on crutches before moving on to a prosthetic leg. She is now training to take part in the World Kickboxing and Karate Association World Championships in Ireland.

“There is a lot of forgiveness that’s involved. You can forgive people, but I won’t forget what’s happened,” she says.”I say to people, just take one step at a time, definitely one step at a time. Life is so short. It can be ripped away from you any moment.”

Nepia has also set up a givealittle campaign to her raise money for the tournament.

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About the author
Karim Zidan
Karim Zidan

Karim Zidan is a investigative reporter and feature writer focusing on the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for BloodyElbow since 2014 and has served as an associate editor since 2016. He also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian. Karim has been invited to speak about his work at numerous universities, including Princeton, and was a panelist at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival and the Oslo Freedom Forum. He also participated in the United Nations counter-terrorism conference in 2021. His reporting on Ramzan Kadyrov’s involvement in MMA, much of which was done for Bloody Elbow, has led to numerous award nominations, and was the basis of an award-winning HBO Real Sports documentary.

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