"Bad" Brad McDonald - Valley's Youngest Pro MMA Fighter

“Bad” Brad McDonald – Youngest Pro MMA Fighter – By Daniel Gil

After seeing 15 year old Brad McDonald, you would think of him as a regular teenager; attending high school, playing on team sports and hanging out with his friends after school. At first sight, Brad fits the profile of your average teen but he is anything but that. Brad and his brothers began training at young ages; Brad was only 7 years old. Every day when kids his age go to the mall or go home to watch TV, McDonald is at Merced/Oakdale MMA Academy training to one day be a great Mixed Martial Artist. He has great role models to follow as his 17 year old brother Michael “Mayday” McDonald is already 6-0 as a professional fighter and his eldest brother Justin “Bushido Kid” Smitley is the current Gladiator Challenge Featherweight Champion with a record of 5-2.

This past Sunday, Brad stepped into the cage for the first time as a professional fighter at Porterville's Eagle Mountain Casino for the Gladiator Challenge’s Day of the Dead event. He is one of only a handful of young fighters under the age of 18 to turn pro in U.S. mixed martial arts. “My brother was the first to call me and said I had my first fight scheduled. I was excited and couldn’t wait,” said McDonald. Soon after hearing the news Brad began home school so that he could focus on his fight. Brad said he had to take the fight serious, as cage fighting is not an easy sport. Therefore, the choice for home school was not an easy decision for the McDonald's to make and would not see benefits if any until November, 2 2008, Brad's fight night.

In his first professional fight, Brad had his brothers and his coach cage-side helping him thru the fight. It also did not hurt to have well over a couple dozen supporters in the stands. Across the cage awaited a game fighter named, Rob Whitlock, who trains with “The Cave” fight team. I spoke to Whitlock’s trainer, Mr. Heinke, about their opponent and he had only one thing to say, “Bring it, he (Brad) is only small fries, we will take care of him then we’ll go after the McNuggets.” Heinke seemed very confident of his fighter and being a fan of the sport that only amped me up because I knew it was going to be a great fight.

When both fighters approached the cage, the energetic McDonald could not stay still, as his opponent was being announced; he jumped up and down in his corner. Moments later all the training in the gym and sacrifices made were all going to be put to the test.

The first bell sounded and both fighters approached and touched gloves, showing a sign of sportsmanship. Early in the bout both fighters exchanged a few punches before clinching up and Rob Whitlock seized the opportunity and was able to take Brad down to the ground. McDonald using his jiu-jitsu training from instructor, Tom Theofanopoulos, went for an arm bar attempt from his back. Whitlock managed to escape but Brad, with his relentless attack, followed up with two more near successful attempts at the arm bar. Rob again managed to break free of the locks but left himself open in the last escape and “Bad” Brad saw the opening for a triangle choke. “I knew that once I had it (triangle choke) that there was no way he was getting out of it,” said an excited Brad. Moments later Whitlock tapped out of the fight in disappointment after unsuccessfully being able to get out of this submission. Brad jumped up and down in joy after the ref stopped the bout at 1:55 into the first round. McDonald ran to his corner to celebrate with his brothers who by this point were screaming their lungs out ecstatically over their young brothers win.

It was finally over, the wait, the training the missed school events, it all came down to this and Brad, a 15 year old from Modesto California, handled it like a true MMA fighter and in the end came out victorious. Family and friends all waited anxiously outside the cage to congratulate their fighter in his first professional MMA victory. I asked Brad what was next for him he simply replied, “Whatever, I would love to fight again.” With those words all I can say is, I hope he does continue to fight because “Bad” Brad McDonald is an entertaining fighter to watch and has a great group of guys surrounding him at Merced/Oakdale MMA Academy to help him become a great fighter.

BloodyMayhem would like to congratulate Brad on his first MMA victory and would also like to thank Merced/Oakdale MMA Academy for their complete cooperation. Also, congratulations go out to Brad’s older brother Michael for his win on the same night.

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