Five Youth Fighters From Chula Vista MMA Gym Qualify for World Championships in Bulgaria

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While elite athletes from astir the satellite cogwheel up for the Summer Olympics successful Tokyo, 5 mixed martial arts fighters from Chula Vista are gearing up for their ain planetary championships.

The 5 kids betwixt the ages of 12 and 16 qualified for the World Championships aft competing astatine the National Championships successful Florida earlier this year. The young fighters, who bid astatine One Legacy Training Center successful Chula Vista, qualified for Team USA and volition beryllium leaving for the satellite contention aboriginal this period successful Bulgaria. It volition beryllium the archetypal clip immoderate of them person near the state connected an airplane.

"It felt beauteous good. It wasn't sinking successful astatine archetypal and past I realized I'm a National Champion," said 14-year-old Omar Rodriguez.

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Their coaches accidental they person been grooming successful MMA anyplace from 3 to 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, for astir 3 years.

"I mean adjacent during COVID, astir of these kids were grooming with maine astatine the park, truthful it doesn't substance wherever we're at, they privation to train," said Coach Christian Alvarez, who co-owns One Legacy Training Center.

The gym and the squad person faced immoderate challenges implicit the past 3 years since it opened. They had to adjacent their doors during the pandemic but reopened astatine a caller determination connected Broadway successful Chula Vista successful February 2020.

One Legacy Training Center is the second-most represented grooming gym among Team USA fighters.

The kids accidental they consciousness similar their hard enactment is paying off. They are nervous, but besides excited for the caller challenge.

"I get nervous, I get butterflies successful my stomach, but past erstwhile you're walking into the cage, I suffer each feeling. I americium conscionable acceptable to fight," 12-year-old combatant Elijah Nehme said.

The squad does look 1 past challenge: they're fundraising for their travel to Bulgaria for the contention connected July 30. The past 2 weeks volition find if they deed their goal, but they accidental similar each the different challenges they've faced to qualify, they're going to conquer this one, too.

"We’re going to get them determination nary substance what we do. We’re going to get them there, it's decidedly going to hap 1 mode oregon another," Coach Alvarez said.

The One Legacy Training Center has fundraisers on its Instagram page. The gym volition besides beryllium holding a conscionable and greet fundraiser astatine 1016 Broadway Suite 2 successful Chula Vista connected Sunday, July 18 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The lawsuit volition diagnostic food, euphony and raffles.

They are besides holding different Jiu Jitsu Clinic with #1 Ranked International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu combatant Fellipe Andrew astatine One Legacy Training Center connected Monday, July 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. They volition beryllium asking for a $40 donation for the clinic.

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