02-23-2008, 06:46 PM
Status: Go Longhorns!!
Join Date: Jun 2007
| | Luigi Fioravanti: From Iraq to the Octagon
I have the most respect for this guy. Any one who can serve in the armed forces is on my list of heros.
UFC® : Ultimate Fighting Championship®
For most fighters, entering the UFC Octagon to face a fierce opponent is the hardest thing they’ll have to do in their lives. Within a few seconds they face their adversary’s full arsenal: punches, kicks, elbows, throws, arm bars, knee locks, triangle chokes, guillotine chokes, and so on. It sounds pretty bad, and tough to most, unless you’re welterweight Luigi Fioravanti. You see, when instead of punches and kicks and elbows, you have bullets and bombs coming at you, the sport of mixed martial arts becomes a very tranquil walk in the park. |
Unlike the majority of his UFC counterparts, the 27 year-old Fioravanti is a war veteran. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps out of high school and by age 22 was being deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of the first wave of troops to arrive in the Middle East for the ongoing Iraq War, and the experience has served as ammunition for his MMA career.
“While part of the Marines I learned the discipline that helps me excel in this sport,” Fioravanti said. “Being in a cage with another man I’m about to fight doesn’t phase me at all. I was in Iraq. I fought in a war. I was on the battlefield. There’s nothing my opponent can do to hurt me. Seriously, what’s the worst thing that he can do to me? Choke me out? Knock me out? I feel like if my opponents can‘t in the first place, and if they do, trust me, I‘ve seen and been through worse.”
Fioravanti, a native of Orlando, FL, takes on Luke Cummo (9-4) on March 1 on the undercard of the middleweight title fight between champion Anderson Silva and 183-pound PRIDE champion Dan Henderson.
He didn’t start fighting until after he left the Marines for good shortly after arriving from Iraq in 2003. Fioravanti (12-3) feels honored he served his country and says he learned life experiences that simply can’t be learned in the comfort of the United States.
“It opened up my eyes, seeing all the poor people in Iraq,” Fioravanti said. “You see all the destruction and the way they live and you learn to appreciate what you have at home. We may criticize the government, and maybe ours isn’t the best at times, but its better than most. I’ve been in a few countries and trust me, we live in the best country in the world by far. I’m proud to have served my country and for those people who lobby against the troops, or protest against the troops, hey, if you don’t like it you can go live somewhere else if you think that‘s better.”
Now he doesn’t pretend that everything is fine and dandy in Iraq. Although he says upon arrival he and most of his fellow Marines were treated as heroes by all except Saddam Hussein loyalists, he acknowledges things have changed.
“I had a buddy over there, a young guy who went over there when I got back,” Fioravanti recalls. “He was part of the Junior Marines, and then was deployed to Iraq. He was only 21 years old and married. I also had another friend who was 25, married and with kids. They both died over there and for what? What are we still fighting for? I feel like we’re no longer fighting for our country. We’re losing guys and frankly to me it’s getting a little old.”
He remembers his fallen friends very fondly, calling them his inspiration and his heroes. He has them in his mind every time he enters the Octagon. He says a few people approach him every now and then to tell him they’ve seen him fight and to congratulate him. Although humbled by the fans, he feels Americans should approach the soldiers who get into harm’s way everyday for their country.
“They should give more props to the troops,” Fioravanti said. “When you see a soldier, walk up to them and thank them for the job they’ve done.”
When Fioravanti returned from Iraq he went to college. He originally nixed the idea of college and joined the Marines because he thought it would be a good experience
for him; an experience that would toughen him up and make him a better person.
Once he started college he started training and began fighting in 2004. He didn’t find much success in 2004 because of distractions he admits to.
“I was doing a lot of partying,” Fioravanti said. “I was working at night at the bars and the people there buy you shots. It was real distracting working till four or five in the morning. Then there were the girls and the drinking. Your body doesn’t recover from that too quickly, so you can’t really focus on training.”
He realized that to make it in the sport of mixed martial arts he’d have to use one of the tools he learned in the military: discipline. He also watched tapes of UFC events and saw how dedicated these men had to be in order to succeed.
Fioravanti did succeed, winning his first six professional fights before losing to Chris Leben in his first UFC fight. Since then, Fioravanti has made an impact in MMA going 5-2 with the losses coming to Forrest Petz and to Jon Fitch, who at the moment ranks as one of the top UFC fighters in any division. He did win his last fight versus Frank Camacho last July outside of the UFC.
Fioravanti is more eager than ever to get back into the Octagon, knowing very well that fighting in the UFC means fighting at the pinnacle of the sport, and he plans to make the best of his upcoming opportunity.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the UFC and I love it,” Fioravanti said. “This time around I’m going in that Octagon and showing everybody what I’ve got and what I’m made of.”
Whether Fioravanti becomes a champion or not remains to be seen. Either way, this young man has made his country proud, and has been part of something greater than any sport can provide. Sure, telling your grandchildren one day that you were the UFC welterweight champion is pretty cool, but telling them that you served the United States in a time of war tops that in the ‘cool’ department.
02-23-2008, 11:59 PM
Status: ...And Justice For All
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Western Australia
I respect the guy for serving for their country, but Cummo is indeed a tought fight to have.
Hughes. Stevenson. Franklin. A Silva. W Silva. R Couture. Liddell. Cro Cop. Fedor.
'Shogun' Rua. F Griffin. BJ Penn. Big Nog. Lesnar. Boestch. Hazelett. G Harris.
Henderson. Huerta. Guida. Arlovski. N Marquardt. Reljic. M Brown.
Saunders. Carwin. Jardine. Manhoef. http://www.nomercyathletics.com
02-24-2008, 12:11 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Brian Stann served in the Marines in Iraq,I believe he's still snlisted. I have much respect for that guy too
Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests) |
All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:25 PM.
Quick Member Login
Top 5 Latest Threads
Latest MMA News