There are countless excuses one can come up with to not get punched in the face. Jose Quinonez, an amateur mixed martial artist, says a list of troublesome outcomes runs through his head every time he steps into the cage to compete.
“When you sign up to fight, especially in MMA, you’re going to experience, if not all of your list, most of your list,” he says.
This did not cause him to dissuade his son Luciano from taking up the sport; Luciano has been interested in it since around the time he was 3.
Quinonez is not too worried about his son getting hurt in competitive fighting. He could get injured doing anything, he says. As long as his son is happy, he will support him.
Fighting has become something for them to bond over, he says. Now training partners, Quinonez is preparing his 10-year-old son for his first muay thai competition Aug. 25 at Fury Kickboxing in Fort Worth.
Training for a fight involves a rigorous schedule. Quinonez and his son take only two days off a week from their regimen at Aftermath MMA, a martial arts gym in Royse City. On Mondays and Wednesdays, they work cardio for an hour before turning to their coaches to run drills. Tuesdays and Thursdays his son participates in a kids' MMA class. Saturday is fighters day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., anyone who is getting ready to compete shows up to spar.
“The biggest worry you can have when stepping into the cage is ‘I could have trained my ground a little bit more. I could have worked on my takedown defense a little bit more,’” Jose Quinonez says. “Now you’re worried going into the cage thinking ‘This guy didn’t take any days off.’”
While they spend much time together in the gym, he says his son still looks at him as his father when they train. Recently, he has had to let the coaches take over most of their sessions, because his son listens to them more and does not take their criticisms as personally.
Quinonez has been the catalyst for his son’s increasing interest in competitive fighting. His son, meanwhile, inspired him to make a comeback after a couple years of not competing.
In 2016, Jose was trying to obtain full custody of his son. Child Protective Services was doing everything they could to only allow him visitation rights, he says. They made him decide what he wanted more: his son or his career.
The timing could not have been worse.
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He was scheduled for his main event debut with Xtreme Knockout, a fight promotion company based in Arlington, on April 2, 2016. Stress from the custody battle made it harder to cut weight. He was 152 pounds and had to drop at least 7 pounds by the day of the weigh-in. He had a complete breakdown and was forced to pull out of the fight.
“It really messed with my head, because now I’m a little bit paranoid that if I accept a fight, life is going to happen again,” he says. “That’s why it’s taken me a long time to get back.”
Though he is not in fighting shape, he hopes with his son by his side he will be back in the cage in November. He wants to be the first from his hometown El Toboso, Mexico, to be a professional athlete. If given the opportunity, he would love to fight on an XKO bout to make up for dropping out of the main event two years ago.
In the meantime, he will continue to help his son prepare for his first competition. His son also hopes to compete in wrestling in October and MMA in the not-so-distant future.