I am so proud of coach Eric Del Fierro. For the last three days he has been fighting fires aboard the USS Bonhame Richard. Between bouts of firefighting with the serious fire onboard and on Naval Base San Diego, he has been texting fighters guiding them to their dreams. There isn’t a moment that goes by where we at the gym could get that phone call that coach Eric fought his last fire. The seriousness of the job he has outside the octagon is intense. His mental focus is sharp and by going rounds with some of the top fighters in the UFC and Bellator he can channel his energy into firefighting.
Without his guidance at the fire and at Alliance MMA there would be a void of power and wisdom in the sport of MMA and the profession of firefighting. The best way to become a leader and coach is to serve the community and build an understanding through adversity, repetition, and training. It is the countless fires, floods aboard ship, and medical emergencies where life hangs in the balance that give Coach Eric Del Fierro his extreme attention to detail and his approach to MMA. He operates at a very high level and is constantly challenging himself to take on new responsibilities and professional fighters in his ranks that allow him to work on his craft and become the paradigm of emerging talent to multiple fighting organizations.
According to MMA junkie in their interview with Coach Eric about fighting the fire onboard the ship he says “It got so smokey and heated so fast that I was actually shocked. It just seemed to be moving so fast that we actually had to exit the ship pretty quick. I think we were in there a total of about 15, 20 minutes. We were dead after that first attack. We had to take a good 15, 20-minute break before we went back in. That’s when that first big explosion happened at the front end of the ship, and they pulled all the firefighters off the ship completely. Just evacuated everybody off the pier.”
He was in the thick of the fighting, which is where he wants to be, there with his fighters on the mat and on the fire team. It speaks to his desire to protect his community and his fighters. It’s hard for someone to step into leadership without facing the fires of life and fire of human nature in the cage. He is naturally calm and develops plans of success. It is through his tutelage that former UFC fighter Danny Martinez sought to become a fire fighter after years in the cage and on the mat. When asked by MMA Junkie about the use of adrenaline he declared.
“I think adrenaline is adrenaline in any sport,” Del Fierro said. “When we talk psychology of fighting, we talk about how to approach it and what you actually have to do. You’re battling your own survival instinct in a fight. You’re in there imposing pain on somebody else and trying to minimize the amount of pain you’re getting and work your way through it. Your body is not made to want to be hurt or get hurt.”
It is the wherewithal and understanding of human nature that makes Eric a phenomenal MMA coach. Leading champions takes a life champion. So again, I am proud of my coach for his service to the community of San Deigo and his fight team at Alliance MMA. Thank you for being a hero, manager, counselor, trainer, translator, and fire fighter.