Days ahead of his UFC Sacramento fight with Sheymon Moraes, UFC featherweight contender Andre Fili reunited with his father, who had been in prison for 17 years. In fact, Fili’s father actually attended the fight, and watched his son’s impressive first-round TKO victory.
Speaking to MMA Junkie after the fight, Andre Fili explained how fighting in front of his long absent father, his family and friends in Sacramento provided extra motivation to win.
“My dad just got out of prison, and I haven’t seen him in about 17 years and I saw him for the first time last night,” Fili said. “He was here at the fight today, and if you think you’re going to beat my (expletive) in front of my dad, it’s not going to happen. If you think you’re going to beat my (expletive) in front of my little sister, it’s not going to happen. If you think you’re going to beat my (expletive) in front of all the kids I grew up with, like raising each other, scrapping, scrounging and trying to survive with each other, it’s not going to happen.
“I’m honestly just a little overwhelmed,” Fili added. “I just feel like everything is coming together in and out of fighting. Just in life, everything’s coming together. I just turned 29 a couple of weeks ago and I feel like I’m almost starting to get this figured out.”
Andre Fili has made no secret of his challenging upbringing in the Sacramento area. In the same interview, he thanked UFC Sacramento co-main event winner Urijah Faber for taking him in at a time when he didn’t have much else going for him.
“Urijah invested in me when there was almost nothing worth investing in,” Fili said. “And to be able to make him proud and make the team proud and represent in our city, I can’t put it into words. It’s one of the best feelings I ever had.”
What do you think is next for Andre Fili after this emotional UFC Sacramento victory?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/17/2019.