Dropping out of school is not something parents usually encourage or appreciate for their kids but, yet, strangely, it is something that seems to pop out of every big name’s biography, a person who excels in their own field and seems to find traditional education too limiting for their own skills and creativity.
It wasn’t different with Muhammad Mokaev, the biggest up-and-coming star in the Mixed Martial Arts world nowadays, who has taken the sports scene by storm after cruising through the amateur circuit and remaining undefeated and dominating after making his trasition to professional MMA with BRAVE Combat Federation.
Mokaev studied Business in college after graduating in high school and, up to that moment, was still able to conciliate his academic life with his martial arts training. He did so for two years, a double-shift, first in the university and then in the mats.
The grades were great, the amateur MMA career was taking off, and it seemed that Mokaev was going to manage to balance the two tasks successfully. But then, one career started to pick up faster than the other and the amount of dedication in order to be a high-performance athlete was too demanding to not require exclusivity.
This particular moment, after 24 months of an excruciating daily routine, was probably one of the hardest yet in the life of the young man Mokaev, who saw himself in crossroads: the university wouldn’t give him a time off to better prepare for the IMMAF World Champions, not even two weeks, but that was also his life-long dream, to become the world champion, bring that gold medal back home.
He thought to himself: “that’s the World Championships, it’s not your everyday fight, it’s not something trivial, I have to be the best version of myself and if I can’t have both, well, I’ll choose my fighting career.”
It was a tough call, one that kept him awake for days, thinking about the ramifications of his decision, how it’d change his relationship with his own father, who was adamant in his position and didn’t want to see his son dropping out of college, but ultimately Mokaev chose with his heart.
He called a friend, made sure he had a back up plan in case he wasn’t welcome at home anymore, and then, only one year before graduating, decided: he would pick Mixed Martial Arts over a diploma.
Less than a month later, Muhammad Mokaev was back home from the Kingdom of Bahrain. But he wasn’t the same who left the United Kingdom earlier, he was now an IMMAF amateur world champion.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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