Paul Alec Junior went from participating in preliminary fights to being the main attraction of fighting events across the province in just a couple of years.
Alec fought for the first time when he was 24 years old in Dawson Creek, B.C., roughly two years ago. His competitor, a silver medalist in Taekwondo, was knocked out within the first two minutes of the match.
His second fight – this time in Penticton, B.C. – also ended shortly when he won by technical knockout.
Alec is now in Kamloops training for a Unified Combat League fight in Merritt, B.C., on Jan. 3, 2015. He will fight for the title of King of the Valley against – also undefeated – Artem Marchuk from Portland, Oregon. Cageside tickets for this event were sold out within 72 hours.
If Alec wins this fight, he will soon be packing his bags to compete in Denmark.
But life did not always look so bright for the 26-year-old fighter. Alec lived on Lake Babine Nation’s reserve until he was 17 years old, before moving to Prince George. He was involved with drugs and struggled to find purpose in his life.
Lake Babine Nation’s Chief Wilf Adam said Alec had a “rough life,” but changed his direction in a positive way, using his newfound energy toward self-improvement.
Things started to turn around for Alec at the age of 18, when he was introduced to the fighting world. He was helping out a friend prepare for a boxing match, when he realized his interest in the sport and decided to begin training.
Alec started out as a boxer, and later added mixed martial arts (MMA) to his curriculum. That’s when things started to flow.
“I liked MMA better, and I was able to find matches right away,” he said.
Alec now trains six hours a day, practicing not only MMA, but also jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, wrestling and boxing.
“My life changed dramatically,” he said. “Now I have a clean lifestyle.”
Lake Babine Nation has helped Alec with his expenses while he is staying in Kamloops for training.
“As Lake Babine Nation we are proud of his achievements,” said Chief Adam.
As for the future, Alec said he wants to go “as far as he can” with his fighting career, but still maintain a connection with his roots.
“I want to start my own gym in my hometown so I can change kids’ lives like my life was changed.”
When asked what his message was to youth who might be having the same struggles he had in the past, Alec was quick to say, “never give up.”
Alex said youth should not allow drugs to steal their dreams.
“Life is tough, but that’s what makes you stronger,” he said. “It molds you into the person you are going to be.”
“If you have a dream, I suggest you follow it.”