The past week has been an exciting one for Gracie Tampa South fighter Michael “KOokie Monster” Cora. Last Friday he scored a highlight reel first round knockout of top Welterweight prospect Will Starks.
The Titan FC victory was a huge win, made even bigger due to the fact that it was broadcast worldwide on UFC Fight Pass.
After the win Cora’s head coach Matt Arroyo received word that the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter was going to feature Middleweights and immediately started a Go-Fund Me page to get his fighter to the Vegas tryouts.
Cora’s passionate fan base came through and raised more than enough to send him to the TUF 26 tryouts.
However once in Vegas Cora was told that the UFC had decided to scratch the Men’s Middleweight division and focus solely on the newly formed Women’s Flyweight division.
Undeterred, Cora decided he was not going to let this life changing opportunity pass him by and decided he would wait outside of the tryouts for however long it took to speak with a producer, match-maker or anyone involved in the UFC’s talent recruitment.
Cora waited outside of the tryouts for several hours and then to his amazement none other than Dana White emerged from the room and made a b-line for the exit. Cora knew this was his chance to manifest his dreams into reality, he introduced himself to the iconic president and showed him his recent knockout before asking for an opportunity to show his skills in the UFC.
White congratulated Cora on his knockout victory, but informed him that there was not any openings at the moment. Cora scrambled to offer up suggestions ” I could fight Mickey Gall or Sage Northcutt or fight in your new contenders show” Cora’s promotional knowledge impressed White’s assistant, but failed to spark the interest of the man in charge.
Feeling his opportunity slipping away Cora went for a Hail-Mary ” Hey Dana, where are you watching the Celtics tonight? I’m free, do you want to watch the game together? White being the die hard Celtics fan that he is stopped in his tracks and said ” I like you kid I’ll give you a shot”
Cora’s persistence paid off, he took a heartbreaking disappointment and turned it in to the biggest break of his life. In only 2 years as a pro Cora has navigated his way to the top of sport using self belief, positive vibes and a deadly left hand.
Cora will be featured on the July 11th debut episode of “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” a new platform for emerging prospects and second chance vets to fight for a spot on the official UFC roster.
No opponent has been named for Cora as of yet, but keep an eye on our Future Fights section for fight announcements through the MMA world.