Drey Mitchell: Ready to Cut Loose at CFC 2

The sun begins to dip on Thursday evening, which means: sparring day, and Urban Sprawl Fitness materializes into a percussion of pops, cage side creaks, and grunts of hard labor. To Drey “Young Lion” Mitchell (3-3), the symphonic delight harmonizes his soul, allowing him to target the beat to share with his sparring partners. With the sport of MMA, team MMA Gold, and his daughter, Mitchell has formed a quartet that will enable him to exhibit his artistry when entering the next challenge of his career: Conquer Fighting Championships (CFC) 2 against JT Donaldson (1-1) on April 30, 2016.

“I like to be fluid and smooth. I like to move. Sometimes, I like to feel like I’m dancing when I’m fighting. I just like to have a lot of rhythm and have a lot of movement.”

Photo courtesy of CFC

Fully reclined in one of the lobby’s leather sofas while sharing a light-hearted conversation with the person to his right, the conversion from a mellow, soft-spoken individual into an aggressive combatant, who readies himself for some head-banging rock n’ roll, may catch others off-guard. Truth is, when the coach set the record straight and announced a need to prime for practice, Mitchell hit the dance floor with urgency, itching to tango. Once touched by MMA, the “Young Lion” cherished the sport with pride and sang its praises,

“Actually, I was at a liquor store, and I ran into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in two years. He pulled up, and I asked him what he had been doing. He said he had a fight coming up in Reno, so I bought some tickets. I went to go see him fight, and after the fight, I was like, ‘I want to do that.’” An involuntary smile swept across Mitchell’s face when he met MMA eye to eye, and he followed his heart, “I actually ended up surpassing him and everything; he doesn’t fight anymore, but ever since then, it’s been history.”

Photo courtesy of Drey Mitchell

A tough upbringing desensitized Mitchell to the perceived violence of the sport, and his natural athleticism manufactures an air to entertain the audience with show-stopping performances,

“I got into a lot of street fights. I grew up in really bad neighborhoods. I was very athletic. I played basketball, football, soccer, ran track, but never fighting, like organized fighting. I like the competitiveness of MMA. Actually, MMA saved my life because I was already going down the wrong path. It helped me a lot.”

MMA salvaged Mitchell’s existence, and MMA Gold has enhanced it. He enthusiastically described the conga line he followed to the doorstep of his new home,

“I used to fight with Havuk Skwod; it’s a small gym. I have nothing bad to say about them. I loved my teammates there, and I met some good guys. It was just time for me to move on. I needed better training partners and more of a push every day at training.” Exemplifying the idea of iron sharpening iron with his new team, he recognized that MMA Gold polishes mixed martial artists as he continued, “My manager [Dave Hirschbein] got me to come here, and I love it. I love the competition; every day is a competition here.”

Photo courtesy of Drey Mitchell

As if MMA Gold wasn’t rich enough in surrounding their athletes with  quality talent, Mitchell appreciates the luxury of tapping into the vast resources at his fingertips inside Urban Sprawl Fitness,

“That’s something else I like about the gym is it has everything. I used to have to go to three different gyms to get everything in. Over here, they have everything.”

Since syncing up with the team, a finely-tuned Mitchell has begun to shimmy up the ladder. Any painful memories caged within his soul are visible, but they rapidly evaporate the second he’s gloved up and ready to get down. When Mitchell hatches from his shell, he reveals the mindset necessary to choreograph a path out of a deep valley of darkness, especially following his loss at WSOF 16,

“After that loss [WSOF 16], I took a long break. I actually got in a car accident and fractured my collar bone, so I was out for about a year. But I needed that time off to mentally, and physically, get myself together. Ever since then, I’ve already won a fight, and I’m going to get a win-streak going; it should be good. This [CFC 2] is going to be my second fight with MMA Gold.”

Photo courtesy of Drey Mitchell

Normally well measured and toned with minimal volume, Mitchell chimed in with an upbeat tempo about what exactly drew him from the shadows of progression,

“I have a beautiful, four-year-old daughter. I just looked at her one day, and said, ‘I can’t sit here on the couch; it’s either get a better job or suck it up and get my life together.’ Each time I wake up, she’s my motivation.”

Grabbing the lead in a two-step with heavy or lightly weighted gloves, Mitchell, when removed from the gym, also touches up the community with the handiwork necessary to create a positive atmosphere,

“I do a lot of community help and help the kids around the area. That helps out a lot. I used to go to a church every other week and hold pads for them, teach them how to punch. They just like the time that I spend with them.”

Photo courtesy of CFC

In return, the community pounded like bass to reciprocate Mitchell’s generosity. For instance, the moment Mitchell confirmed and posted his slot on the CFC 2 card, his following morphed into a ravenous mosh pit with shares and likes that have yet to crescendo. Mitchell extended his perspective as to why people gravitate to his boogie,

“I think I relate to a lot of people, especially those that didn’t grow up in a good neighborhood. I give them hope that they can turn their life around. That’s what I want, and people are actually supporting me. It motivates me seeing that they appreciate what I’m doing.”

Photo courtesy of Drey Mitchell

The first pulse of Mitchell’s walkout song orchestrates a trailing string of black and gold as the featured featherweight struts to the cage at CFC 2 for final preparations and instructions. Finally, CFC’s ring announcer, Jeff Houston, will signal a cut to the music to introduce the sock-hop’s participants. Even when the tunes are muted, the soundtrack guiding Mitchell operates on autoplay, and the waves of raucous cheers will fuel the pace of his attack,

“There’s no bad blood or whatever; it’s a fight. We can’t be friends in the cage, but outside of it, we’re cool. I don’t like game plans, but I’m training different specific areas. I don’t want to get caught in anything, just go out there and fight.”

Don’t be labeled a wallflower, share in the next dance with Mitchell by following him at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AndreyTheLionMitchell

Instagram: @the_younglion


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