ENDICOTT (WBNG) — Growing up in a rough area, Marcos Ithier says he needed an outlet to help get him off of the streets. He found one in mixed-martial arts.
“I hated it when I was little and stuff but I just grew to loving it,” Ithier said at his gym, Xtreme Ambition MMA & Fitness. “I came from that kind of environment when I was little. I was really involved in the streets, doing types of stuff I wasn’t supposed to be doing. So I turned my life around later in life.”
In addition to being a three-time world champion in Jiu-Jitsu, Ithier trains both at-risk youth and professional fighters such as Rodolfo Barcellos, who flies from Sao Paolo, Brazil up to five times a year to train with Ithier.
“I started Jiu-Jitsu when I was six years old,” Barcellos said Wednesday. “I compete all my life and train hard to go for big promotion, and Bellator now is that big promotion.”
Barcellos is just the third athlete who trains in our area to compete in Bellator or UFC, the highest levels of mixed-martial arts. He has a 2-0 professional record in the United States, and is making his Bellator debut this Saturday, February 16.
Ithier says even though he trains Barcellos, he learns a lot from him too, and no matter what happens, Ithier knows the Brazilian will be a champion.
“He works hard, he trains hard. He gives me his heart and soul,” said Ithier.