X-Convicts and MMA



X-Convicts in MMA


Last month we featured an article regarding Police in MMA, and pointed out how several officers are trading in their badges for MMA fighting gear.

Well we recently learned that cops are not the only ones joining this brutal and popular sport. Former convicts who've payed their dues and served time in some of America’s most dangerous penitentiaries are making MMA their choice of career too.

“You either ride or die, and the first thing every new con coming into the prison system learns is if he's a man or a punk.” says 35 year Angel Cardona who served 16 years in California’s violent Corcoran state penitentiary. “Prisoners really have no choice but to learn how to stand up for themselves”

State and Federal correctional facilities report a 27% increase in inmate-on-inmate assaults and a 32% rise in inmate-on-staff attacks. Those statistics alone explain why more and more tattooed x-convicts are being seeing in the MMA scene. Cardona, who gave up MMA last year, explains that getting a good paying job is tough for anyone with a criminal record so other than dealing drugs, joining Mixed Martial Arts is the only alternative.

“I’ve had a lot to homies who’ve done time get into UFC or MMA. Promoters hit us up all the time because the fighting industry loves the hardcore image.” says Cardona who is festooned with prison tattoos.

Many x-cons such as Cardona often choose MMA over boxing because many are too old to qualify for professional boxing.

“ I tried to get into boxing, you know, follow Bernard Hopkins foot steps but most boxing gyms require a 28 year age minimum, so I got into MMA.”

Another reason UFC and MMA promoters love recruiting former cops and x convicts is because fights between these two completely oppositional elements can get pretty volatile and fans love that. The crowd goes wild at the sight of a tough former cop and a tattooed x-convict going toe to toe.

“We never take it personal, what happens in the cage stays in the cage” says Cardona in regards of fights he has had with former cops. “The best fighters are those who have to fight to survive, not for fun or sport. Regardless of how you fight or your style, the more you are able to defend yourself, the better you will get, just as steel sharpens steel, man also sharpens man.”

X-Convicts and MMA