Bare Knuckle FC two-division champion Luis Palomino knows what it’s like to feel down and out in the fight game.
Palomino made BKFC history by becoming the promotion’s first two-division champion. He earned the welterweight title over Elvin Brito at BKFC 26 via a unanimous decision in a rematch two years in the making.
Palomino has been in the fight game for 16 years and competed in the inaugural Bellator event back in April 2009. While he enjoyed wins over the likes of Jorge Masvidal and Daron Cruickshank, he suffered four-straight losses to end his MMA career.
Palomino dealt with depression and financial issues before earning a shot in BKFC. Three years later, he’s arguably one of the biggest stars in bare-knuckle boxing.
During an exclusive interview with MMA News, Palomino shared what his career taught him about how young fighters should prepare for life away from the cage or ring.
“If you’re like late 30s going on 40s… for boxing, you’re old,” Palomino said. “For MMA with good experience, the tables might not turn your way. I’m not saying to give up on your dreams, I’m not saying give up fighting. But just make sure you have something to do along the way.
“These are the things we aren’t taught when we grow up in the sport…when you’re fighting and you’re sacrificing 1000% of your time into your fights and camps, you’re not doing anything else that can be a backup if you don’t make it. What if you get hurt? What if you have a car accident? Those things are real. The older they get, the heavier it’s going to weigh in on your depression. I think a lot of us fighters fall into those depressions, that anxiety after fighting mainly not from having your life together. It all depends on how deep you are in your career.
“You should be studying something,” Palomino continued. “It could be something with nutritional value, strength, and conditioning, something that can help your career as you get ready as a fighter. Management, how are you going to sell yourself, publicity. Social media. There are things you can do to go with your fighting lifestyle. My message would be don’t just sit there thinking ‘where are all my sponsors? When’s my next fight?’ that’s not the way to go about this. It’s very serious, and we’re talking about your entire life.”
Palomino now trains up-and-comers, such as former opponent Tyler Goodjohn, when it comes to fighting in and out of the gym. He’s managed to turn his life around and has experienced a career resurgence in BKFC.
Palomino is an example of a fighter who can go through tough spots and come back stronger than before. He’ll look to continue to influence the next generation and inspire those who feel down and out in their careers.
What are your thoughts on Luis Palomino’s advice?