Photos provided by BAD BOY
“There’s this sentiment in this country that as long as you’re trying, then you deserve a medal. Forget that. You don’t get a medal if you try. You get a medal if you win.”
So says UFC and Air Force veteran Brandon Vera. Which makes sense, considering his nickname is “The Truth.”
A Norfolk-born Air Force veteran, Brandon is a patriot through and through. Growing up under the roar of Navy planes, Brandon grew interested in the military at a young age, and enlisted in the Air Force after high school. As a fuel guy, he worked on all kinds of aircraft. The death-on-wings A-10 Thunderbolt. The beefy warhorse C-130 Hercules. Even the top secret SR-71 Blackbird. You name the plane, at Maguire AFB, Brandon probably worked on it.
He fueled up planes the same way the Air Force fueled his fighting spirit. “Being in the military showed me how to grow up, real quick,” he said. “It taught me how to be accountable for my actions. When you put on your uniform, you’re held to a different standard.
A wrestler since his days of being a “fat little butterball” in middle school, Brandon wrestled for the USAF team and trained at Olympic Center in Colorado. After three years of service in the military, he was medically discharged after suffering nerve damage to his right arm. But he still had plenty of fight left in him, and he was just getting started. He rehabilitated his arm, and went on to launch a career in mixed martial arts. Every step of the way, the discipline instilled in him through his military service motivated him.
Brandon’s career include several milestones and notable wins, including the securing the WEC 13 Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship title. While training for his most high-profile fight against the legendary Randy Couture, Brandon recalled his body screaming at him every day. But the military made him get up and train. “Just because I’m not in the military anymore doesn’t mean I don’t have a boss,” he said. “My bosses are the fans who pay to watch me fight. What if I didn’t show up for them?”
To the surprise of his fans, and the majority of sports commentators that night, Brandon lost the fight by unanimous decision. Despite out-striking Couture and defending against several takedowns, the decision landed in his opponent’s favor. But Brandon moved on, winning several more fights over the next years. He currently enjoys a thriving presence in arenas in the Philippines, his father’s country for origin, where he fights for Asia’s premier ONE Fighting Championship. His next heavyweight title bout is December 11th.
Brandon currently lives in San Diego, where he opened The Alliance, a mixed martial arts training facility in San Diego County. Alongside his co-owner, coach Eric Del Fierro, Brandon runs the facility as an alternative to the dime-a-dozen boxing gyms all over the city. San Diego’s deep history with mixed martial arts provides fighters and athletes with a standout place to train and hone their skills. “This place is a mecca for MMA,” said Mike Calmenson, Senior Manager at BAD BOY Brands.
BAD BOY—which just recently launched on GovX.com—has been working with Alliance since 2007, bolstering the gym’s capabilities and influence in the community, and supporting an epic remodel in 2011. Alongside his responsibilities at Alliance, Brandon continues to work with BAD BOY, which develops the best gear and apparel for his every day MMA training, cross-training and Muay Thai practice. Over the last year, he’s worked in collaboration with the brand on the development of a new gear line launching this Fall.
“In our gym I see the kind of comradery, family and team atmosphere that felt so natural in the military,” Brandon said. “You see a guy who’s been there grinding every day, and you see other people encouraging him. You’re not more special than he is, and he’s not more special than you. We’re all here because someone helped your ass out.”
Brandon Vera, along with BAD BOY apparel and the Alliance gym, is a powerhouse personality working hard every day to support fighters of all kinds. He infuses a militaristic discipline into his every pursuit if victory. Because merely trying is not nearly good enough. You don’t get the title if you try.
The truth is, you get the title if you win.
Special thanks to BAD BOY for contributing to this post. Explore BAD BOY gear at GovX.