The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

July 19, 2012

Patrick Garcia prepares for MMA tournament final, pro career

As a junior and senior at Joplin High School, Patrick Garcia played defensive tackle for coach Doug Buckmaster’s Eagles.

After high school, Garcia began a mixed martial arts career at 298 pounds. But through extensive training and bike riding, he’s dropped more than 100 pounds.

In fact, he’s down to 170 pounds, and he’ll be fighting in the championship match of the ShoFIGHT Grand Prix Tournament on Sept. 8 in Branson.

His opponent will be determined on July 28 when “The Afro Samurai” Marco Hutch faces Shawn “Showtime” Hatton in a semifinal match as part of ShoFIGHT 21 Battle Royale at the Branson Central Theater.

Garcia, who turns 24 this year, received a first-round bye in the tournament. He defeated Joey Hutchinson in the quarterfinal round and Matt Parsons in the semifinals.

“Hard work and dedication,” Garcia said, explaining his success. “I’m in the gym every day. It’s a lifestyle for me. I don’t know anything different.

“After I graduated from high school, I wanted to stay in shape, wanted something that would push me. At that time MMA was getting started. It seemed like it would be something to do, and I just got hooked on it.”

Concerning his big weight loss, “It was just extensive training, and I sold my car,” he said. “I bought a mountain bike and I rode from Duenweg to Joplin wearing a 50-pound vest. I’d ride to MMA practice, ride to work. I did it for seven months to get down to my weight goal of 185 pounds.”

Since getting down to 185, Garcia continues to do some biking, but he’s also bought a car.

“I’m at the weight I want, so I drive around now,” he said with a laugh.

Brandon Kelley, Sean Clifford and Garcia are the owners of Joplin Brotherhood MMA, a non-profit fight club near 10th and Virginia.

“We work on mixed martial arts, self-defense and conditioning,” Garcia said. “I do my strength training and conditioning with Jomo Crossfit. It’s extra cardioactivity there to get me ready for fights conditioning-wise.”

After his September fight, Garcia plans to turn professional in MMA.

“It’s a higher level of fighting, a chance to hopefully fight on TV somewhere,” he said. “I have to get my pro card, fill out paperwork. It’s a chance to make money for fights. As an amateur you can’t make any money.”

Garcia, who was born in Oceanside, Calif., and moved to Duenweg when he was 6, hopes to schedule a pro fight in late November or early December, probably in the Kansas City area. He will have to go toward Kansas City, Tulsa or Springfield for pro bouts, Garcia said.

Garcia’s nickname in the ring is “DoWoRk.”

“My coach Sean Clifford is always saying ‘do work’ and I always thought it was funny when he said it,” Garcia said. “It just stuck with me.”

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