BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Buffalo boy, 16, has made a major transformation over the past year.
He credits dedication and Mixed Martial Arts training to giving him a new start at life.
Jose Matos, also known as “Rico,” said he isn’t the same person who walked into Western New York MMA and Fitness exactly one year ago.
His coach Corey Webster said, ” That was a very very different, Rico, all those months ago.”
Overweight and unhappy, as a struggling freshman at Stanley G Faulk High School, Rico was looking to make a change.
He said, “I used to be bullied, I come from a very abusive back story, so that inspired me to come here and put in the work to show people I can do something of my life I wasn’t going to be a waste of space.”
And from the beginning, his coaches say he was dedicated. Webster said, “Right from day one, he was committed and he never stopped. He never looked back.”
12 months and more than 90 pounds later, Rico says he’s focused now more than ever. Rico said, “I was wearing a 3XL, now I’m wearing wearing a large to a medium now. I was wearing size 46 pants, now I’m wearing a size 28 slim fit.”
He’s changed physically, but mentally too. Webster said, “He’s been able to take his positive outlook, and kind of been able to transfer that to other parts of his life as well.”
Training 7 days a week and eating right, Rico isn’t looking back. He said, “I went in here, I stepped in on that bag, I put my wraps and my gloves on, and I hit it until I got tired. And I kept going and going.”
Now he’s a leader at the gym and he’s found himself a new home. Kate Allen, Director of Marketing and Communications for WNY MMA and Fitness said, “He’s really set an example and shown people. He really commands a lot of respect here. People come here and they see all the hard work he’s put in and they say, ”Wow, I can do that too!”
Rico said, “We all have different goals here, but we all do the same thing to achieve all those different goals.”
He’ll make his professional debut as an MMA fighter this November.
To learn more about WNY MMA & Fitness, just head to their website here.