MARINE CORPS MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER BRIDGEPORT, Calif. --
Only the voice of the announcer can be heard through speakers behind the giant curtain. The fighter’s heartbeat becomes louder and more distinct each second before his name is called. He walks through the curtain to cheers from a crowd surrounding the octagon arena where he will fight to defend his title. His heart begins to race, slowly picking up speed as he steps into the cage and sees his opponent face-to face.
Sgt. Daniel Ramirez, Distribution Management Office clerk, Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, competed to defend his welterweight title at a mixed martial arts event held at the Reno Event Center, May 3, 2014.
Ramirez Began fighting after he became a Marine and arrived at MCMWTC. Since then, he has trained and competed in the amateur mixed martial arts circuit in the hopes of achieving his dream of fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship professionally.
“It’s a natural progression to me,” Ramirez said. “I feel like I’ve proven myself through my performance and I have a great coaching team behind me, so I feel like I’m ready to advance to the next level.”
At 170 pounds, Ramirez is the current champion of the welterweight division in the amateur league for the Ultimate Reno Combat Championship. From the time the fighters touched gloves and began the match, it took Ramirez 17 seconds to bring his opponent to the ground and obtain a victory by way of knockout.
“Every day we train and there’s no breaks leading up to a fight,” Ramirez said. “You have to visualize the win. If you train hard and fight hard, all the hard work pays off.”
His performance is complimented by the attendance of fellow MCMWTC Marines and sailors who come to support Ramirez at his fights.
“Seeing a local Marine from our base compete and be successful in activities off base raises morale by giving the sailors and Marines a sense of pride,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Federico Valois, installation religious program specialist, MCMWTC. “It’s great knowing when people ask who Ramirez is; we can say he is a Marine stationed at our base.”
Ramirez works tirelessly, finding time in a Marine’s schedule to train and perfect his technique. He credits his work ethic to the values that were engrained in him throughout his Marine Corps career.
“We have to be consistent and not give up when we train,” Ramirez said. “That’s what the Marine Corps is all about, if you start something you have to finish and not quit. The determination feels automatic and it’s what has been instilled in me.”
With a record of seven wins and one loss, Ramirez is one fight closer to achieving his goal of making it to the UFC. With a winning record, several fights ending by way of knockout and a yearning to advance to higher levels of competition, Ramirez will continue to work toward his goal.
“If an opportunity is offered to someone, you have to be committed and reach the goal you set for yourself,” Ramirez said. “I feel like I’m getting closer to my goals, and when I see all the Marines and sailors who come to cheer me on, it means so much. I feel like they are family supporting me, and I’m very grateful for that.”