Mumbai, Sep 26 (IANS) Somewhere in the slums of Brazil, in Rio de Janerio, a young boy slept every night not knowing if he would be able to survive beyond his teenage days.
Paulo Eduardo Goncalves da Silva was a dealer of guns and drugs at the Chacrinha favela. This mucky world of guns and drugs was introduced to him by his close group of friends at the tender age of 13. The quick money then kept him hooked to it through the majority of his teenage years.
“By this time, I was sure that I would be dead before 18,” Paulo recalls.”But in my young mind, I knew something good would happen to me and it did happen in the form of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA),” said Paulo.
Heavyweight fighter Paulo Goncalves da Silva (155 pounds) will be seen here fighting it out with Leandro Silva also heavyweight (155 pounds) from Brazil at the fight night of the newly launched MMA league- K1L on September 28.
Both these star Brazilian fighters are pitted against one another.
The harsh reality intertwined with the hazy future struck Paulo hard when he became father to a baby boy. At that moment, he knew his life had to undergo a major transformation.
He knew he needed to get to a safer – and saner – life and found his calling in MMA. Paulo began with ‘Vale tudo’, an unarmed, full-contact combat sport that was popular in Brazil, before turning his focus on Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a martial art form that primarily involves grappling and ground fighting.
Paulo earned a black belt in jiu-jitsu, and after taking up MMA professionally in 2009, he has moved on to become one of the top fighters in the world. Now 33, the Brazilian will be here this weekend to take part in the Kumite 1 League (K1L), India’s global mixed martial arts league.
From dealing with guns and drugs in the small lanes of Chacrinha to fighting top MMA fighters at the massive NSCI Dome here, Paulo’s life story is nothing short of a Hollywood Story.