After a childhood spent traversing the world with his parents and siblings, Rob Font was back in the United States of America and staring at an uncertain future. Delivering pizzas while he attempted to fulfil a return to school that would never materialize, Font, on a fated night, not too dissimilar to the one that is to take place this coming Saturday, ran into a group of people setting up camp for bout between two Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) greats. What he witnessed back then, in the garage of those anonymous individuals would set the course for his life to come. (More MMA News)
“I was, at the time, delivering pizzas; I was sharing a house with three of my friends and pretending like I was going to go back to school, but I wasn’t really pushing it like that. I was partying and hanging out. I didn’t even know about MMA, I didn’t watch MMA, nothing," Font told Outlook.
“I remember it was a Saturday night, it was BJ Penn versus Georges St-Pierre. I delivered to a house, they were getting ready to watch the pay-per-view, and they were these guys, they were in their front yard-slash-garage, doing jiu-jitsu, hitting pads. I was like, ‘What are you guys doing? What did I walk into?’ And they kinda broke it down for me, they told me what they were doing; it was so interesting, I stood there for maybe ten minutes with the pizza in my car that still had to be delivered!"
Piqued by the scene he had just returned from, Font immediately scoured the internet for anything he could find on combat and combat-related sports, even going as far as watching old-timey martial arts movies! One thing led to another and, mere days later, the Massachusetts native found himself on the threshold of a jiu-jitsu class, ready to step confidently toward a future that had simply not existed until recently.
“I was in awe, I thought this was pretty cool. Got home, started Google-ing everything, started Youtube-ing what I could Youtube, and I was just addicted," Font said. "Anything I could get my hands on I was watching: kickboxing fights to jiu-jitsu matches to obviously UFC, MMA. At the time WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) was pretty big and it was free on TV, I would watch that. I would watch old martial arts movies - anything I could get my hands on.
“A week later from that delivery, I tried my first jiu-jitsu class. That was it; I signed up for the two-week trial after that, I signed up for a year later, and I was in. I haven’t stopped since.”
Inspiration doesn't care much for time nor place to strike: Font is a living proof of the same. Unlike many MMA fighters, he had never boxed, wrestled, or touched any other form of combat sport, although he was still quite the athlete, engrossing himself with what was made available to him throughout a childhood of constantly shifting and moving with his family (more on that later!).
For Font, however, MMA was akin to a love at first sight, and he still harbours the same feeling toward his discipline as he did when he started out all those years ago.
“Yeah, yeah. I never really boxed or wrestled," Font recalled. "I knew about boxing, I watched a lot of boxing: a lot of Miguel Cotto fights, a lot of (Felix) Trinidad fights, and obviously (Floyd) Mayweather. But, it didn’t catch me like MMA did; I didn’t even try to box, I was just watching because it was something to do on a Saturday night.
“Once I saw MMA, it was different. It felt different. It looked different. It just hit me different, and, you know, I haven’t stopped. I’m still as passionate as I was on my first day. Now, obviously, I get to do it for a living. I get to teach it now, as well. I am still fighting in arenas. The sport has grown so much since I even started watching it.
“Yeah, I am just happy I got that delivery.”
Read Part Two of Outlook's interview with Rob Font here: Font On Family, Fatherhood, And A Fated Pizza Delivery Ahead Of UFC Fight Night Dariush vs Tsarukyan - Part Two
UFC Fight Night: The UFC returns to Austin, Texas (USA) for the first time since June 2022. Beneil Dariush vs Arman Tsarukyan will be telecast live on Sony Sports Network in India on December 3, 2023, 5:30 AM IST onwards, on Sony Sports Ten 2 SD & HD, Sony Sports Ten 3 SD & HD (Hindi), Sony Sports Ten 4 SD & HD (Tamil & Telugu) channels and will be available to live stream on Sony LIV.