Hailing from West Jordan, Utah, Rad Martinez has compiled a 9-2 record as a professional MMA fighter while caring full-time for his father Richard, who suffered significant brain damage in a car accident twenty years ago. Martinez’s story caught the attention of ESPN, who produced a moving “Outside the Lines” video feature on the fighter, covering the multiple tragedies of his family life as well as his current struggle to balance his profession with his personal obligations. If you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend taking 11 minutes of your day and checking it out above.
Thanks in part to the ESPN profile, Martinez has just gotten the first big break in his career, as Bellator announced this morning that they had signed the featherweight prospect to a fight contract. “Rad not only has an incredibly uplifting, powerful story, but he’s also a fierce competitor who will be a great addition to the Bellator family,” said Bellator chairman/CEO Bjorn Rebney in a press release. “We’re proud to have Rad under the Bellator banner, and expect big things from him inside the Bellator cage.”
A former NCAA Division I All American wrestler at Clarion University in Pennsylvania, Martinez competed alongside future UFC champ Frankie Edgar, who turned him on to the sport. “Frankie Edgar is definitely the one that talked me into giving MMA a shot,” Martinez said. “Every day he was always telling me how good I would be at MMA and how much I would love it, and eventually he just ended up talking me into it.”
Martinez, who currently trains at The Pit Elevated, is stoked about the opportunity he now has with Bellator: “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. I’m just really looking forward to being able to test myself against that elite level of competition.”