Danny Martinez is an American mixed martial artist. He has competed in the WEC, TPF, TKO, XFC and Rage in the Cage promotions. In the latter, he is the current bantamweight champion.
When not training for his own fights, he instructs over 100 local kids. He also uses his story of being bullied as a child to promote anti-bullying campaigns.He said that while in the cage, he fights like someone who’s been bullied.
“It’s like when I was in second grade and I would get all teary-eyed and crazy,” Martinez said. “That’s exactly how I still feel sometimes. I get real tense and aggressive, and I like that.
Martinez holds anti-bullying workshops for a California-based nonprofit, Athletes for Education, and said he’s inspired by the kids he works with on weekly basis.
Martinez goes into schools to talk about bullying for his program, Gremlin’s Kids (his nickname is “The Gremlin). He also coaches kids at his gym, San Diego’s Alliance MMA, where he also works with a bevy of UFC veterans.
“[Bullying] really shuts kids down,” he said. “That’s really what I got my mind into, and teaching kids day in and day out in wrestling and MMA for three years.”
The kids are children from low-income and single-parent households. They frequently need assistance for the holidays. And yet, Martinez said, they are fiercely dedicated to athletics.
“These kids, they really look up to me, and seeing them take goals and do everything they can has really pushed me to keep my dream alive,” he said.
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