Orthodox Fighter To Make Pro MMA Debut Under Brave CF 70
When Yehuda Vinakor was eight years old, he got into mixed martial arts.
He originally got into the sport because he was bullied at school and wanted to know how to defend himself. And now, 10 years later, it seems to have paid off as he will make his professional MMA debut in a preliminary lightweight bout at Brave Combat Federation 70 at the Menora Mivtachim Arena on March 9.
“Yehuda works very hard, and he can have a long career and be a legend,” Maor Kazalkopy told the Jewish Journal.
“I’m not just saying that because I’m his coach.”
But not everyone is as accepting.
For Vinakor, 18, he said he doesn’t like being labeled as anything other than a Torah observing Jew who follows mitzvot, the Journal reported. For some, a combat sport could be seen as antiethical to the Torah.
But Vinakor thinks differently.
“I didn’t ask a rabbi for permission,” Vinakor told the publication.
“We learn ‘V’Nishmartem l’Nafshoteichem’ (literally translated as a need for Jews to guard their souls, but really meaning to be healthy and in good physical shape), and it is important to know how to defend oneself.”
The lightweight runs for one hour in the morning every day before attending Hesder Yeshiva, which is a combination of Talmudic studies and military service. Then, he trains in grappling, punching and kicking for two hours in the evening.
Brave Combat Federation is a well-known MMA promotion located in the Middle East. It is owned by Bahrain’s Prince, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamda Al Kalifa.
Veteran Israeli fighter Haim Gozali, who has fought at Madison Square Garden under Bellator, has helped plan the upcoming event, which is titled “Fighting For Peace.”
“I wanted to do something different,” Gozali said. “People talk and talk but athletes and sporting events are great ambassadors for peace.
The 49-year-old will also take part in the event. He will fight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in a grappling match in one of the six fights on the main card.
As for Vinakor, he hopes to get a bachelor’s degree in Education, get married and have a family.