Look up the word macho in the dictionary and you will find a link to Ultimate Fighting, or Mixed Martial Arts as it’s called the world over.
It doesn’t get much more Alpha Male than two guys fighting, mano-a-mano, inside an octagon cage with the aid of only lightweight gloves. Flipping further through a copy of Webster’s, though, and one will find motorcycling not far behind. Almost as equally macho, the two easily go hand in hand, thus is it no surprise a good number of fighters also ride.
Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Tom Atencio are among those who share the same passion for two wheels as they do for getting in the octagon and pummeling another man’s face. Atencio, along with being a life-long brawler, is also a high-profile clothing industry leader as the VP of Marketing and the face of Affliction Clothing, as well as a partner in Affliction’s recently formed MMA production company, Affliction Entertainment. Babalu, on the other hand, makes his living solely in the ring, and has fought professionally for the past 10 years.
For this installment of MC Life, we grabbed a couple of the hottest bikes from Roland Sands Designs and went cruising for some trouble with Babalu and Atencio, ending up in some dodgy areas of Long Beach, CA. Good thing neither have trouble defending themselves. Check out our adventure, plus a little insight into the high-profile lives of these two motorcyclists.
On Riding And First Getting Into The Two-Wheeled World
Babalu: I live my life on the edge; riding just fits with what I like to do – much like fighting.
Atencio: As a kid my cousins raced dirt bikes and my father purchased my family a few ATV’s, also my uncle had a Harley and I was always fascinated with it. I first got my start on dirt trails near my house as a kid.
Typical Week’s Riding
Babalu: I don’t get to ride as much as I would like. Being a parent and husband, plus training and teaching MMA takes a lot of a man’s time. I do try to ride to training, so long as I don’t need to carry too much gear with me.
Atencio: Just about every weekend during the winter and 3-5 days a week in the summer. I try to ride as much as I possibly can.
Similarities Riding And Getting In The Ring
Babalu: They really don’t, to be honest, for me. I don’t know of anyone who has died fighting. Though, they do both require 100% focus and awareness, so in that way they are the same.
Atencio: The love I have for both and the rush I get from doing both.
For me, when riding, I always have to be aware of my surroundings as a whole, when fighting it’s instinct and focus on my opponent.
Stress Reliever: Motorcycling Or Fighting
Babalu: Both relieve stress for me.
Atencio: Both. Though, after a ride I feel relaxed and after training or fighting I have nothing left.
Worrying About Getting Hurt Riding Prior To A Fight
Babalu: No, if I was the type that worried about that kind of stuff I would never even train. Luckily, though, I have never been hurt riding, so it has never been an issue.
Atencio: Always in the back of my mind I worry because it’s the other people on the streets I have to look out for. Luckily nothing major has ever happened to me riding; I’ve been hurt a few times but very minor.
Babalu: ’09 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Night Rod.
Atencio: Honda CBR900RR and Harley-Davidson Softail I have customized.
Babalu: My H-D Night Rod!
Atencio: 1929 Indian 101 Scout or 1922–1953 Indian Chief.
In The Ring With Babalu
Getting In The Octagon
I’m pure focus when I get in the ring. The only thought that goes through my head is shutting out all other thoughts.
Fighting The Enemy
The other fighter is not always the enemy, but I don’t fight my friends and training partners. The way I see it, I would rather his mom cry then mine.
I always try to eat as clean and organic foods as possible, so I continue with that. I also do yoga the morning-of as a good way to get stretched and get my mind in the right place.
Nervousness and happiness is the common combination of emotions for me before a fight. I am nervous because I don’t want to make any mistakes.
I am happy because all my hard work training culminates in the moment I am about to embark upon.
Professional Career Thus Far
I have been fighting professionally for 10 years now. 30 wins, 7 losses.
Held the IVC belt, the Brazilian Vale Tudo (BVT) belt, and recently fought for the Strikeforce Light-Heavyweight belt and won in a first-round stoppage!
Winning the IVC belt!
Definitely Fedor (Emelianenko) or Chuck Lidell
On What Mixed Martial Arts Has Brought Into Your Life
MMA has brought me the opportunity to do what I love; my passion:
fighting. My manager continues to remind me how lucky I am that I actually get to punch people in the face for a living.
Into The Future
I think I have 3-5 years more left in me fighting professional, but I have recently opened a Gracie-Barra training center in Cerritos, California, so my goal is to continue to teach what I have learned to others when I am done fighting.
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