Typically a MMA promotion signing of a 24-year old fighter with a 9-2 record and an All-American wrestling background would be viewed as little more than the addition of an exciting new prospect to the organization’s roster. However, in the case of featherweight Radley Martinez the story goes much deeper as countless fans learned after seeing Martinez featured on a recent segment of ESPN’s ”Outside the Lines”.
Martinez, who serves as the primary caregiver for his disabled dad, brought tears to the eyes of many while describing his plight. However, it may be Martinez who shed a few drops of joy this week after being signed by Bellator Fighting Championships and thereby continuing his dream of fighting at a high-enough level to keep providing support.
“When I step in that cage, and even when I get to go to practice, that’s when the shackles come off,” explained Martinez of his chosen career. “That’s when I’m free to be me – to think about me and what I have to do right now.”
Most of Martinez’s other time is spent immersed with his father, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when “Rad” was only twelve, where he helps with hours of physical therapy on a daily basis as well as by handling other duties like shaving, brushing teeth, and providing meals.
Martinez will join a stacked 145-pound division but the challenge ahead of him likely pales in comparison to those in his personal life. In fact, he’s actually excited about the tests to come.
“I’ve always had confidence in my ability and felt like I could compete with anybody in the world, but when you’re talking about guys like Joe Warren, Patricio “Pitbull” and Marlon Sandro in the Bellator featherweight division, you’re talking about three of the absolute best featherweights in the world,” said Martinez. “I’m just really looking forward to being able to test myself against that elite level of competition.”
Martinez has won four of his nine total fights by way of submission with the remainder coming via decision. Among the opponents he’s beaten are Mike Christensen and former UFC fighter Joe Brammer. No word was mentioned in terms of when Martinez will make his Bellator debut.
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR