So this morning I was doing presentations to high school kids about going to college, financial aid, etc. I was talking to this one kid in particular when I overheard the words "UFC" to the right of me. So once I finished speaking with the kid I was speaking with I asked this guy if he had said "UFC". Indeed he had. So the conversation begins:
Kelvin: So you like the UFC huh?
Kid: Yea(as his eyes light up because I know what he's talking about)
Kelvin: Word, so you saw UFC 97 this past weekend?
Kid: No, but my coach told me about it.
Kelvin: Oh, so you train?(I'm kinda surprised)
Kid: Yea(I don't think he was lying because I know the gym and the guy that coaches there).
Kelvin: Cool, so where do you want to go to college and what do you want to major in?
Kid: I dunno
Kelvin: What do you like doing.....besides MMA?
Kid: Nothing really, I can't think about anything else besides MMA. It consumes me. I think about training when I'm in school all the time
Kelvin: Word. So what grade are you in?(I knew he was either a freshman or sophmore)
Kid: I'm a sophmore
So at this point we have like a 15-20 minute conversation about college, MMA, and a bunch of other stuff. He mentions that he's looking forward to UFC 100, he doesn't really like Rashad Evans, and he thinks GSP will beat Thiago Alves. I tell him about the site(MMA4Real) and he writes it down and says he'll check it out(he might read this later..lol). Anyways, it's not really uncommon for me to run into kids that are aware of MMA in the high schools. However, what I'm beginning to notice is that a lot of these kids are actually starting to train. This kid was either 14 or 15 years old. I know we've talked about this in the past, in terms of kids starting to train earlier in life opposed to waiting until after college(like a lot of the current stars did). I just wrote a post about those same stars transitioning out of the sport(competing) due to age and/or diminished abilities. It's rather sad to see the fighters that we all became accustomed to watching perform make their exit. However, if there are any kids out there that are like the one I met today? The future of MMA doesn't have anything to worry about in terms of ushering in a new wave of fighters.
Who knows, this kid may or may not even be training within the next year or so. He may not even be good, or he might be a future lightweight champion(he was 130lbs soaking wet..lol). I mean he is actually paying a monthly fee to train in MMA. Just the fact that he is aware of the sport and actually training at that age speaks volumes. I've interviewed 2 local fighters in the past 3 months right here on MMA4Real that are still in high school or just graduated. I can only imagine where this sport will be in the next 5 years or so, and what type of athletes we'll be watching perform at that time.