A former homeless man has gone from scraping by to scrapping for a living.
The 29-year-old fighter won the CACSC light-heavyweight title at the Extreme MMA National Amateur Championships held at Red Robinson Show Theatre in Coquitlam on Friday night.
The card was under the banner of the Canadian Amateur Combat Sports Council.
Brad Robinson moved to Vancouver from Toronto nine months ago strictly to advance his career, as MMA fighting is banned in Ontario.
“When I came here on the Greyhound, it was a one-way ticket … I was prepared to sleep outside until something happened,” he said.
Initially homeless, discipline learned through MMA training helped motivate him into finding work and getting an apartment, Robinson said.
When money was tight, running the seawall and hiking the Grouse Grind were cheap ways to train.
“I volunteered at the Gathering Place Community Centre in the weight room, so I got to work out for free and they were feeding me for volunteering,” said Robinson.
At the Gathering Place, Robinson approached fellow gym-goer Haydn Coote for advice on promoting his career.
“I’ve stepped in and am acting as his manager,” said Coote, who is also a former homeless person.
“I think Brad will be like a magnet … People have approached me wanting me to train them as well,” said Coote.
With amateur MMA not paying much, Robinson worked security for two companies until last week.
He was fired from one of them for taking Friday night off to fight. But that’s OK, he said, because winning the CACSC title helps him get one step closer to realizing his dream of making it to the UFC, the world’s largest MMA promotion.