Despite losing arm, El Paso MMA fighter continues to fight

Positively El Paso

Juan Gandara Jr., a local mixed martial arts fighter, is showing the community that obstacles don’t have to keep you away from participating in the sport you love.

“I originally got into fighting through boxing,” he said. “Before I knew it, I had all these mixed martial arts under my belt and it just kind of naturally led to mixed martial arts.”

Gandara’s third professional bout was scheduled for October 2018. But everything changed that August.

During a trip to Puerto Penasco, Gandara was driving a racer when he got into a rollover crash.

“I wasn’t even behind the wheel for three minutes, when I floored the gas pedal and… little did I know that I was going to lose control over it,” he said. “My arm got caught and I heard it snap…it spewed blood everywhere.”

Shortly thereafter, the fighter learned he’d lose his arm. But it didn’t keep him away from the ring.

“That martial arts aspect of just adjusting and adapting to that situation that you have during chaotic situations, you’ve got to figure out a way to get out of it and that’s pretty much what he’s doing with his life,” Coach Cristobal Chavez said.

The boxer has not only succeeded in the sport, but become an inspiration to others.

“it almost feels like I’ve got a responsibility to keep living my life with the intention of pursuing my goals,” he said, “because if I have eyes on me, I might as well set a good example.”

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