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'Fighting saved my life': Kiwi mixed martial artist on her biggest battle

She didn't know it, but Nyrene Crowley was already in a fight when she found combat sports.

These days, the Auckland mixed martial artist is happy, healthy and in a good place.

That upbeat mood was boosted even further by the anticipation of her kickboxing clash with Ayisha Abied in the latest edition of the King in the Ring series at the North Shore Events Centre on Saturday night.

Wind the clock back seven years, though, and Crowley was far from settled.

Despite having a degree in communications from AUT to her name, and everything appearing OK from the outside, she had unknowingly slipped into a dangerous spot.

"When I came into fighting I didn't really realise, at the time, just how out of control of my mind I was," Crowley told RNZ.

"I wasn't happy and I was just doing life based on pleasing (... CONTINUED)