Reinaldo "Rey" Oliveira has come a long way from being a football hooligan to a successful teacher of Muay Thai at Plataforma Corpo in Sao Conrado. Things were not always good for this young married father of 26 years. He used to be part of a football fan club where they would go to games just to seek out opposing fans to fight. Its very rare for people from favelas to get this opportunity to travel and compete. Lots of fundraising was done to help these 3 athletes to be able to compete in Thailand.
This is Rey's Story
"At first I did not know the art of eight weapons (Muay Thai) and was involved with a fan club for (Red and Black ) of the Flamengo Football team, my life was working, and weekend go to the Flamengo games for fighting, and not as a regular supporter. Often me and my friends, we would run to not get beat up by other teams, and sometimes ran behind other teams supporters in an attempt to hit people just because of they supported other teams. One day a friend of mine Philip saw me on the street and asked me, "Why don’t you train with us Rey?” I asked “train? In what?” He told me “Muay Thai” . I thought “Wow, I take can take advantage of this to learn how to fight, and no one will be able to hold me and I will be able to fight better against on to those who cheer for other teams.”
"In the end, I went to my first practice it about four years ago, I made my first workout, that's when everything changed, I started to like this training. And Diego Buchecha, the master, began to pay attention to me, every day I improved more and more, I started competing and that was when I began to let go of the negativity (Flamengo supporting and fighting other teams thing). I just wanted to to train to and start competing in the ring. Today, I only use the art of Muay Thai for sport with rules and thank God I'm here treading my way and managing to be seen by others through my talent, not through savageness of old. Today my mother my father talk about me with much pride. My family supports me more. And I just have so much to gain today. I can say that Muay Thai and master Diego Buchecha took me as a young man from a bad place and now I have a positive future all due to Muay Thai.
I was chosen to represent Brasil in this tournament in March. This is a life time opportunity that I thought I would never have to travel and represent Nockdown Brasil and Master Diego Buchecha.
My fight in Thailand was against one of the Top Fighters. I was nervous and felt pressure. Away from Brasil in a different country fighting.
Here are some photos of Rey's experience:
Rey and Mestre Diego Buchecha
The poster of Rey's fight vs Saiyok Pumphanmuang
Fotoshoot of Rey
Fight prep checking the hand wraps job.
Muay Thai style hand wraps
Shaking hands with his opponent
The Weigh Ins. Rey's weight class is 73 kg
Rey plans to continue to teach, train and compete. We in Rocinha are proud of his accomplishments.