November 11, 2017
Cypress Springs High School varsity wrestler Marcello Perez had the opportunity to train with MMA competitor Tim Elliot during a wrestling camp in 2014, helping improve his own wrestling and pursue his goal of competing professionally one day.
By Jaslyn Estrada, Cypress Springs HS
Nov. 11, 2017—With a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity right in front of him, Cypress Springs High School varsity wrestler Marcello Perez jumped on it.
As a result, the senior was given the opportunity to spar with Tim Elliott, a mixed martial artist (MMA) who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and is a former champion in a regional circuit. That placed Perez in a real-life situation of what his future encounters could resemble.
Perez met Elliot in 2014 while attending a wrestling camp in Wichita, Kan., feeling compelled to approach the winner of UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” show and asking him to spar, which is training but not full-contact competition. Elliot obliged and the two practiced for 15 minutes, which is equivalent to three rounds in MMA. Perez said he was able to gain momentum and motivation from Elliot, resulting in improvement concerning his wrestling skills.
Elliot encouraged Perez to keep his head up and not rush in too fast.
“It gave me an edge,” Perez said. “It taught me that it isn’t going to be easy. I have to work hard.”
In his wrestling career, Perez lost just once as part of the junior varsity team. He posted a 23-11 record in 2016. First meets and tournaments for the 2017-2018 season begin Nov. 13.
Perez added the encounter motivated him to become even more determined and motivated. He now trains twice a day in order to pursue his dream of becoming a professional UFC competitor.
“At the end of the day, it’s just me on the mat,” Perez said. “I don’t have my team doing it for me. So, if I lose, it’s my fault and if I win, it’s on me.”