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WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCIV) — Mixed martial arts fighting can be a brutal sport to watch, but what many people don’t see is the hours and hours of preparation leading up to those three-minute rounds in the octagon.
One fighter is at the top level of his MMA career, and now making a move to the Lowcountry to prepare for the biggest fight of his career.
Hector El Toro Urbina fights for a living.
“It’s the hurt business. It’s painful sometimes, mentally and emotionally. It messes with your mind, your body. It’s a constant battle,” he said.
But it’s a battle he’s preparing for in the Lowcountry.
“Charleston was the best place to run my camp, mentally and physically,” Urbina said.
The main reason Urbina is headed to the Lowcountry is a teacher and a coach, Malachy Friedman.
“I’m a nerd. I’m the guy watching the other guy, finding patterns, rhyt
hms. I’m the guy that was good at fighting but better at knowing how to fight,” Friedman said.
“They think we’re hitting each other, that’s all it is. In reality, that guy focused on boxing, or a martial art – he’s taken down up quick, overall martial artist trains in every part of the fight.”
But this isn’t just any other fight for El Toro. He’s in the major leagues. Training in West Ashley, the clock is counting down until the main draw in Chicago — live on Fox next month.
His UFC debut was a win, but his last fight was a loss. That means the next fight is huge.
“I’m on the chopping block,” he said. “This is my life man. This is what puts food on my table.”
The passion is in the preparation. The constant workouts — sometimes as many as four sessions in a day — mean plenty of sweat and blood, and plenty of beauty too.
“I’m not going out there just to brutally fight. It looks brutal on television, but I’m going out there to put everything I worked for and did- for everyone to see. Then it’s pretty,” Urbina said.
His hope is to be pretty enough and good enough to win and keep climbing towards the peak of his profession.
“He’s at the pinnacle of the sport. No easy fights. He has to win. If
you don’t win in the UFC you don’t stay. You don’t stay? Better find something else to do,” Friedman said.
Urbina says his move to the Lowcountry is for good. His younger brothers, who are also MMA fighters, are moving to Charleston after his big fight next month.
The fight will air on Fox on July 23.