MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s Gaston “Tonga” Reyno told EFE that he is willing die for his country’s flag in his upcoming MMA fight to win the first-ever Copa Combate, an event organized by Combate Americas, the premier Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise.
The championship – which is set to take place Dec. 7 in California – will pit eight Latin American fighters hoping to obtain $100,000 in prize money.
In a Montevideo gym, Reyno likened the tournament to the 1988 cult classic “Bloodsport,” starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, in which the champion emerges from multiple fights held in a single night.
“It will be new for me, which is why I’ll leave for San Diego, California eight weeks ahead of the fight,” he said. “I will train to the fullest, because even your body’s metabolism has to change.”
Reyno also said that, while he usually takes a three-day break between fights, the championship will only allow 45 minutes between bouts, a situation that will place particular importance on previous scuffles.
So far, organizers have announced only a few contestants, including “The Bullet” Quintana, representing the United States and “El Gallito” Flores, for Mexico, as well as Peru’s Marlon “Deriko” Gonzales.
Reyno said that he, unlike most of his rivals, is not motivated by money – which he plans to donate to a Uruguayan foundation that helps children with cancer – but by honor and his country.
“Tonga” is the 2010 taekwondo world champion, but he likes to “collect” an assortment of techniques, that he slowly puts in his “tool box.”