Florida Firefighter Finalizes Bellator Debut

The addition of a Miami-Dade firefighter completes the Bellator season 2 kick-off show this Thursday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida.

John Kelly, a 31 year old from North Miami, is the final addition to the card. The undefeated fighter joins seven other South Florida locals for four undercard “Local Feature Fights” as part of the season 2 debut.

Kelly says that while he’s excited about the opportunity, he’s not worried about the pressure of performing on a bigger stage.

“Fighting fires and fighting in a cage are actually very, very similar experiences,” Kelly said. “When you’re in a dark room and you can’t see anything and its 300 or 400 degrees, every sense that you have is telling you to get out of there. It’s the same thing in the cage. There’s times when it would make a lot of sense just to give up and tap out, but all the training that you go through and dedicate yourself to tells you to keep going.”

Kelly is able to maintain his status as a fighter because of the unique schedule firefighters maintain. Kelly works one 24-hour shift and then has two days off, allowing him time to train.

“I’m very lucky because fighting is my passion and I don’t think I could fight and be competitive and still support my family if I wasn’t a firefighter,” he said. “So now I’m just trying to keep winning and see where it takes me. Bellator is a dream come true for me—to be fighting for a great organization like this is just surreal.”

Kelly faces Michael Byrnes, Jr.

Other local featured fights include:

– Chris Manuel vs. Ralph Acosta
– Moyses Gabin vs. Jeff Savoy
– Francisco Soares vs. Vagner Rocha

The televised card includes:

– Roger Huerta vs. Chad Hinton
– Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Bao Quach
– Joe Warren vs. Eric Marriot
– Janne Tulirinta vs. Carey Vanier

Get the latest on Bellator Season Two.