Hyder Amil is an up-and-coming young fighter training out of Gil Melendez's El Nino training center. Here he shares with us, how he got involved in MMA and fell in love with the sport.  


Hyder Amil

Why I Fight

I fight due to a culmination of reasons- mixed martial arts or mma is the combination of my passion for creativity, discipline, health, self-defense, competition and is also great way to relieve stress. MMA allows one to have unrestricted self-expression that other sports cannot achieve. Fighting or mixed martial arts seemed like a natural transition for me. As you might've guessed from my name, I was born outside of the states in a little island in the middle of the Philippine archipelago called Cebu. However, my name "Hyder" is Islamic and comes from the Pharisee word Heydar or Lion. The fact that I was Muslim and also the fairest kid and of mixed race made me a target to the local kids. Scuffles from the time I could remember and my parents' strenuous relationship was a constant in my young life.

When I was almost 7 years old, we moved to California after my parents split. Having to assimilate to American culture and gain friends was an easy transition for me because of my artistic abilities which would oooh and aahh my classmates. But because I was foreign and undersized, bullies tried picking on me. Many of these bullies became my friends because they were shocked that I was unintimidated by their size and I would fight back. When I was about 12 or 13, one of my friends introduced me to a traditional martial art called Bok-fu which had kickboxing and from there I caught the bug. I loved the old-school approach they had when we would spar and found a great boost of confidence just knowing that I could defend myself or my sisters. After watching a few UFC fights it became evident I needed a ground game. So, sophomore year of high school I joined the wrestling team and soon after I joined a jiu-jitsu school and I had my first MMA fight a year later when I turned 17. With great excitement, I continue to follow my passion -all the while knowing there will forever be challenges to come.