In 2012, the film "Here Comes the Boom" was released, starring Kevin James as a fictionalized teacher who takes up mixed martial arts as a way to help save the music program at his school.
In need of quick cash, James starts taking MMA fights as a way to give the program the funding needed so a fellow friend and teacher doesn’t lose his job.
It seems Colorado teacher Mike Laurita had this very same idea three years ago when the wrestling program at his school was in danger of being cut because of a lack of funding. So at 52 years old, Laurita decided to take an MMA fight as a way to earn some money and hopefully save the program.
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Laurita, who is the dean of students at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, took it upon himself to save the wrestling program, so he strapped on the gloves, found a promotion willing to give him a fight and stepped in the cage for action.
Three rounds later, Laurita had a unanimous decision loss on his newly minted MMA record, but he also had earned $3,000 for the fight. The money was enough to fund the wrestling program and keep his kids on the mat embracing the grind.
While the original intention of fighting was just to save the wrestling program, Laurita just couldn’t live with his performance, so at age 55 he returned to the MMA arena for one more fight after making an agreement with his wife to lose 50 pounds and get in better shape.
"I wasn’t very happy with my performance. I’m a lot healthier now, a lot more ready, and I bugged my wife," Laurita told 9News in Denver.
According to the story, more than 100 students and faculty showed up to give their support to Laurita in his comeback bout.
Unfortunately, the teacher-turned-fighter lost another decision after three rounds. But it didn’t kill his spirit.
Laurita has found such a passion for MMA that he wants one more fight before calling it a career — if his wife lets him. Laurita is still working on another deal to see whether he can persuade her to allow him to fight, but it’s clear there’s no giving up when it comes to this teacher-turned-mixed-martial-artist.