MCAS BEAUFORT -- MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. - At the age of 31, Staff Sgt. Brian Telinda made his Mixed Martial Arts debut at the King of Jacksonville fight series in North Carolina, March 16, where he won by decision after nearly scoring a knockout in the first round. A self-proclaimed competitor and adrenaline junkie, Telinda currently serves as an assistant operations chief at Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, which lacks the excitement of being an infantryman. Sitting in the bleachers of the Parris Island gym, Telinda scrolled through his iPhone for the perfect workout track and said, “I’m always looking to challenge myself. You always hear guys at (hangouts) saying they would do this and they would do that, and until three weeks before my first fight I was like them.” After looking into area fight clubs, the only question left for Telinda was “whether I have what it takes.” Telinda teamed up with several Marines and an MMA trainer for three grueling weeks of training, dieting and learning.
“Each person I trained with had a different skill, which was beneficial to my training,” explained Telinda. Telinda had a coach for conditioning, for jujitsu and for MMA, and a gym full of guys ready to whip on him in the name of learning. There was a lot of hands-on learning, bruises and fine-tuning of the basics, Telinda continued. Learning jujitsu wasn’t as difficult as Telinda anticipated because the basic principals are similar to wrestling. In 21 days, Telinda was down from 186 lbs to 170 lbs, and in familiar form. As a young wrestler in his small hometown of Goshen on the Southeastern border of Ohio, a state known for its competitive wrestling teams, Telinda faced stiff competition. “I’ve been in intense wrestling matches, so I understand the pressure,” Telinda said calmly. “But it takes a lot of (courage) to walk into a cage with 4 ounce gloves and someone who is just as competitive. “The hype and build up to the event was great,” Telinda said. “Going heads up in a cage was the biggest adrenaline rush I had since my first firefight and it was a great test of character – I proved I have what it takes.” Telinda doesn’t intend to stop with just one win. “I’m young in the sport, I’m hungry, and I want to make it to the top,” Telinda concluded.