By Rick Venecia
On December 7th 2019, Payne Arena in Hidalgo will be hosting its first ever mixed martial arts pay per view as two legends will go toe to toe in the octagon. Fight legends, Alberto El Patron and Tito Ortiz, will headline a Combate Americas event that is sure to be filled with nonstop action. As the fight game has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon, people from all walks of life have been fixated on this most primitive of sports. Names like McGregor, Diaz, Gracie, Shamrock, Lidell, and Hughes have become synonymous with MMA and its fans.
As is always the case, fighters on the undercard are sometimes overlooked despite their commitment. This doesn’t make them any less impressive than main eventers, but as one fight legend once said, “they just aren’t there yet.” One such fighter is Mission’s very own, Ricardo “El Gallero” Palacios, who will be fighting on the Alberto vs Tito event. With an 11-2 and professional MMA record and 6 KOs, Palacios has proven he’s got the ability to turn this sport on its head and put Mission’s fighting scene on the map. He has already been featured on Combate America’s television series where his toughness and unassuming smile gained him a big following in Latin America. Ricky has also fought on a few UFC cards as well as the Dana White Fight Series where he won by unanimous decision. When asked about this journey, Palacios simply responds with, “I just want to be the best.”
Palacios grew up on Hidalgo St in the Monterreyito area of Mission’s southside. He admits that he was never the biggest kid on the block so he always had a chip on his shoulder. He credits his teachers at Pearson Elementary, especially Alma Venecia, for always inspiring him to strive for more and teaching him that you are not a product of your environment. Your environment becomes a product of you and what you make it. Ricky’s heart and spirit were evident to his teachers and coaches early on in his life, and have become the driving force through his professional career.
As his youth flag football coach, I saw a passion in his eyes that struck me. He just never quit. He and his Wolfpack teammates were a blessing to me as a young adult. They taught me that your circumstance should not and will not affect your effort if you truly believe in yourself. The lessons Ricky learned on that flag football field stuck with him and his teammates and this coach will forever be honored as he has named his fighting team The Wolfpack. They were always taught that we may feel alone in our fight through this life, but our family will always be with us.
On December 7th, 2019, Ricardo “El Gallero” Palacios will go into the octagon a Lone Wolf, but his Wolfpack family will be cheering him on from the stand and on their tvs. We invite the City of Mission and its residents to join the Wolfpack. This community is our family and one of our own is on the cusp of greatness. Let’s show him we are behind him.