Local resident prepares for world MMA event

By Kevin Wilson
kwilson@cnjonline.com
Roy Saucedo had a bad life as a kid, and he says it’s part of the reason he fought all the time.

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson Roy “Hot Sauce” Saucedo, right, spars with Rico Urqizo of Clovis on Monday night. Saucedo is one of 40 fighters selected for the second annual King of the Cage World Amateur Championships.

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Roy “Hot Sauce” Saucedo, right, spars with Rico Urqizo of Clovis on Monday night. Saucedo is one of 40 fighters selected for the second annual King of the Cage World Amateur Championships.

Now 29, Saucedo is working for a chance to let fighting make his life better.

The Clovis resident is one of 40 mixed martial artists across the world invited to the Kings of the Cage Amateur II event, scheduled for April 18 in Ontario, California.

The event will feature 20 MMA fights, with all participants also competing for five professional MMA contracts — one for $100,000, two for $50,000 and two for $25,000.

Saucedo, 9-0 as an amateur, was about to go professional until a promoter friend suggested he apply for KOTC. Still, he knew the odds were low with a field of more than 1,000 applicants.

“My jaw dropped,” Saucedo said. “I didn’t think it was going to happen. I’m still a bit shocked.”

Saucedo’s been involved in MMA since September 2010, but the Lubbock native has fought all of his life.

His mother died of cancer in 1992, and Child Protective Services came in when his father wasn’t equipped to raise eight kids.

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson Roy “Hot Sauce” Saucedo of Clovis touches gloves before sparring Monday.

Staff photo: Kevin Wilson
Roy “Hot Sauce” Saucedo of Clovis touches gloves before sparring Monday.

Saucedo spent time in more than 20 foster homes, and  many of the kids he lived with would entertain themselves by goading him into fights.

“I would fight anybody and everybody,” Saucedo said. “I was a really messed up person; it was always getting me in trouble.”

But he never seemed to lose a fight, and an older brother suggested he try MMA and at least try to make some money out of it.

Saucedo called Eric Suan at Force of One in Clovis, and got a wake-up call himself on his first night in the gym.

“I got my butt kicked by everybody,” Saucedo said with a laugh. “A.J., a 16-year-old guy, choked me out.”

Suan, who has experience in jujitsu, tae kwon do and boxing, said Saucedo’s first day at the gym was typical.

“We get tons of guys off the street,” Suan said. “They want to fight. They get hit a few times, totally get outclassed. These guys (they face) are trained to fight. They’re usually humbled on the first day. If they come back and they’re there three months, we know they’re solid.”

But even on that first day, Suan said he knew Saucedo had something special.

“The guy doesn’t give up,” Suan said. “He might not have all the skills, but he has the biggest heart. He’s going to fight you all the way. That’s why he’s 9-0.”

Saucedo said without Suan and other fighters at Force of One supporting him, he wouldn’t be 9-0 or have pro opportunities.

The event will be broadcast live on MAVTV (DirecTV 214, Dish 248). Fighters at KOTC will be ranked for the professional contracts through a combination of judges panel votes, in-house spectator votes and online voters. The online component already under way.

Fighters can gain online votes now by having their athlete profiles liked and shared on Facebook. Saucedo is listed as Roy “Hot Sauce” Saucedo.

“They want fighters that are exciting, have a following and can move on to the next level,” Suan said.

Following his day job as a pump technician, Saucedo trains five nights a week, usually about 90 minutes per session. His current challenge is to drop from 170 pounds to 145 by the March 17 weigh-in.

Saucedo is motivated by the knowledge that any of those five contracts could change his family’s life. Saucedo and fiancee Hillary Rando are raising five children — one theirs, one from Hillary’s previous relationship and three from Saucedo’s common-law marriage to Ernestina Bara, who died in an Oct. 2011 car accident.

Saucedo said Bara always supported his MMA endeavors, and Rando and their kids are just as supportive.

“I love my kids, my kids love me; I love the one I’m with,” Saucedo said. “Life is good.”