26 May Wanna Fight? (Part II)
It’s interesting to watch how sports fans alike with little or no training suddenly transform into experienced fighters when watching “the fights” on pay per view. The magic of television gives them the freedom to critique professional fighters without any fear of reprisal. It’s easy to talk a good game, but can you walk that talk? Well Team Sityodtong LA Fighter, Brandol Mendoza, did just that. This young standout fighter has won two Championship Muay Thai Belts after training just three years. When asked how he got interested in combat sports he laughed, “I was one of those guys who watched the fights on TV and said I could do that!”
So one day in walks this mild-mannered, unassuming 16-year-old, wearing black framed glasses, a kind of a Clark Kent, a distant cousin of Steve Urkel if you will. He decided to check out a gym that his older sister, Tracy, had researched online for him, Sityodtong Los Angeles. She said, “You are always talking about wanting to fight, here’s one of the best places that can teach you.” As Brandol’s mom signed the enrollment papers, he fixated on fighters sparring in the ring. He watched in awe as the Head Coach taught the Muay Thai class and then said aloud, “Yup, this is what I want to do, I wanna fight!”
After just a little over a year of training, Brandol had an exhibition bout and then won his first sanctioned fight. With a 6-1 record, why is he an “up and coming fighter” on the circuit and not others who have also said they wanted to fight? Talking about something without any action behind it is simply a wish. Taking the steps to accomplish it, that’s when it becomes a goal. Brandol puts in the work, he makes sacrifices and he steps up to the plate each and every time.
However, that wasn’t always the case and there was a time when Brandol was not as focused or disciplined. When he was about 11 years old his family moved to a remote desert town in Central California. It was literally in the middle of nowhere especially in the eyes of an adolescent youth. Brandol’s parents made the grueling 2-hour commute to and from Los Angeles, which left the after school supervision to his older siblings. His brother and sisters did what they could to help and guide him, but Brandol was stubborn and head strong.
Behavioral problems ensued as a result of his boredom, immaturity, and peer pressure. The more his parents tried to get Brandol on the straight and narrow, the more he rebelled. He hung out with the wrong crowd and in an unfortunate incidence of mistaken identity, Brandol was charged with a serious crime. After the longest 67 days of his life, he was finally exonerated. That experience gave him a glimpse of what his life would be like if he continued down that same path.
Having the desire to change and with the love and support of his family, Brandol was able to turn his life around. His fight career is off to an impressive climb and on Saturday, April 23, 2016, he fought at Hollywood Park Casino for a chance to capture his second Championship Title. The bout went full 5 rounds and although he had a tough opponent, Brandol dominated the fight resulting in a unanimous decision. He picked his shots and landed solid punches and textbook elbows including a spectacular Sok Klap (spinning back elbow) which dazed his opponent resulting in a mandatory standing 8 count. Brandol put the time and the work in and was victorious.
“Muay Thai has changed my life, fighting is my career. It doesn’t matter who I face in the ring or what obstacles life throws at me, my goal is to be the best,” said Brandol. At age 19, with his grit and determination, there’s no doubt that he will rise to the top of his game.