It’s Friday afternoon, the school day is winding down, and a kindergarten class in the Sacramento area welcomed an unknown face to their classroom with quiet pinky waves. Taking his place in front of the curious cubs, Drey “Young Lion” Mitchell (3-3), a professional mixed martial artist, volunteered some time to invoke a passion for success. The colorful eyes at the gathering place soaked in each syllable like sponges, and, on April 30, 2016, Mitchell will insert the same lessons shared with his newest legion of fans into motion when he clashes against JT Donaldson (1-1) at Conquer Fighting Championships (CFC) 2.
When Mitchell crossed the threshold of the classroom, much like passing through the door of CFC’s proving ground, his every move captured the audience’s attention. Mitchell’s teaching points validated a prerequisite mindset to achievement, whether inside or outside of the cage,
“I hope these awesome kids learned honor, respect, focus, and the dedication it takes to be a professional athlete.” Repeated multiple times, with checks for understanding, Mitchell reiterated the importance of his craft remaining in competition or under the supervision of a well-trained coach, saying “Also, using these arts outside of the gym or ring, even if you’re playing, isn’t the right thing to do because you can get hurt.”
Along with valuing the personal space of peers, “Young Lion” roared how much farther they can go as individuals when they collaborate as a team,
“I wanted to try and help them learn to work well as a team.”
Due to the strong routines of the teacher, the class modeled their ability to function collectively at the onset of their teacher’s singing, finding a partner’s hand and circling around the carpet. By the time the song met its final note, a mock cage was constructed by patient masses of potential energy, awaiting their opportunity to show Mitchell how they uncork a strong hook, right or left wasn’t completely hashed out, into his mitt.
As the final student popped the pad with a punch, the teacher, unfortunately, rendered the decision that it was time to clean up and close out the day, which, similar to MMA judging, was met with some exasperation.
Previous to Mitchell reaching the exit, the class, in unison, purred a final wish of luck for “Young Lion” in his upcoming contest. The manner in which Mitchell sauntered out of the room, boasting a prideful, toothy smile and his hand held high to acknowledge everyone, mirrored how he visualizes his departure off of CFC 2’s canvas. Mitchell promised his freshly minted fanbase that he’ll return with a win and a fantastic recount of how the script played out. For Mitchell, giving a little bit to others prior to exerting his all at CFC 2 means everything,
“It was a blessing, and I’m honored to be able to bring smiles to the children’s faces with the career that I’ve chosen. Remaining humble throughout everything in life is very important to me.”
Follow “Young Lion” as he stalks through the wild jungle of MMA,