As a former Muay Thai world champion, Golden Gloves titlist and current UFC flyweight, it may be safe to say that Justine Kish is a bit of an adrenaline junkie. But if you had any doubts, a look at Kish in tonight’s season premiere of Ultimate Ninja Challenge on Discovery (10pm ET) should remove any doubts.
“Being a contestant on the Ultimate Ninja Challenge was, by far, the hardest thing I have experienced in my entire life,” said Kish, who competed with eight other contestants in a 24-day survival challenge in the Pacific Northwest. And if that wasn’t enough, the 30-year-old had to deal with a personal issue that almost forced her to withdraw from the competition before it even started.
“A few days prior to filming, I received news that my mother became very ill,” she said. “If it were not for the incredible counsel of my family, friends, and coaches, I would have forfeited my spot on the show. Thank goodness they advised me to pursue such a unique opportunity.”
And while North Carolina’s Kish has to deal with her share of hardships in and out of the Octagon in her day job, from weight cutting and grueling training camps to UFC bouts with the likes of Ji Yeon Kim, Nina Ansaroff and Felice Herrig, it’s likely that she’s never seen anything like she did on Ultimate Ninja Challenge, a competition that sees participants forced to deal with obstacles the show’s website describes as “trekking through a frigid swamp, surviving overnight on an icy glacier, crossing a raging river, escaping imprisonment, and more, all while enduring sleep deprivation and debilitating hunger.”
But Kish is a fighter. And she can’t wait for her fans to see how far she will go to chase victory.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the challenges I had to endure,” she said. “My perspective on life is entirely altered as a result. This experience was truly that profound. I could not be more anxious and excited for my fans to see me battling elements both internally and externally. The ways we were stripped down allows for a complete transparent display of character. I am hoping I represented myself well in the eyes of my fans.”
Ultimate Ninja Challenge premieres on Discovery Sunday, August 5, at 10pm ET