Dreams to Reality: Hunter O’Connor Embarks on his MMA Journey

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Dreams to Reality: Hunter O’Connor Embarks on his MMA Journey

Hunter O'Connor at MMA practice at Comeback Academy in Hudson |photo courtesy of Hunter O'Connor

Hunter O'Connor at MMA practice at Comeback Academy in Hudson |photo courtesy of Hunter O'Connor

Hunter O'Connor at MMA practice at Comeback Academy in Hudson |photo courtesy of Hunter O'Connor

Hunter O'Connor at MMA practice at Comeback Academy in Hudson |photo courtesy of Hunter O'Connor

Victoria Meier, Staff Writer

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Stepping into the gym, it felt as if he had walked straight into a Rocky movie, but in reality, Sophomore Hunter O’Connor was finding his new hobby: Mixed Martial Arts.

“I started watching videos and I was like, alright, this seems kind of cool,” O’Connor said about MMA. “I was all hyped up to do it.”

Hoping to start the sport as soon as possible, he asked his mom when he could start. Immediately she told him that was not happening.

O’Connor began to do research on the sport, and which gyms in the area offer training.

After many conversations, O’Connor’s mom caved into letting him visit a gym. The closest one he had found was in Clinton.

“I walked in, it looked straight out of a Rocky movie, it had the ring in the middle and it had the punching bags,” he explained.

After seeing the gym, his mom still wasn’t convinced.

Hunter O’Connor and other members of the gym are practicing |photo courtesy of Hunter O’Connor

Members of the Comeback Academy after practice |photo courtesy of Hunter O’Connor

“It’s too far of a ride and I don’t wanna wait for you to get out. Also, I don’t wanna pay for it, and if you’re getting your teeth knocked out, you’re gonna pay for getting your teeth knocked out,” she told him.

But O’Connor was determined, so he found some solutions to his mom’s problems.

“So that’s what prompted me to go start working at the Hudson Creamery,” O’Connor explained, “So I got a job and I was like alright, can I do it now? She said no. And she said I don’t wanna drive you there.”

Now the only issue he’s facing is not having his license. At the moment, he has his permit and this June will try to get his license.

Luckily for O’Connor, he found a solution before June.

“Somehow, it’s a miracle my mom’s boyfriend is a plumber. And he was doing some guys plumbing, and turns out he was opening an MMA gym in Hudson behind Railtrail.”

The gym is called Combat Academy. He describes the people there as being “…really nice”.

Now that O’Connor has started, he said, “It’s probably my favorite sport.”

The people at the academy were different then he expected, though.

“You expect fighters to be these really big like burly dudes with like big attitudes and that think they are the best people ever,” he explained, “but I kid you not they’re the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and it’s just a really good environment”.

Despite the comparatively high prices, he suggests that if any Hudson High student was into MMA they should, “…just look up Hudson Combat Academy. I’m pretty sure it would pop up, and you can just sign up there.”

As the training continues O’Connor is already excited to start with his competitions.

“My overall goal is to have my first fight by August and to be training pretty much every single day,” O’Connor explained, “If I continue it for more years to come I can move from an amateur fighting level to a pro level once I feel ready for it.”