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Kelvin Gastelum Discusses Joining the Cast of The Ultimate Fighter 17
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 01.28.2013

MMAjunkie recently spoke with The Ultimate Fighter season 17 cast member Kelvin Gastelum. Here are some highlights:

Gastelum on why he believes he's a fighter and how he was born with meningitis: "I'm a fighter. I've been fighting forever, since I was a little kid. I was born with meningitis in my brain. I was in the hospital for weeks, my mom said. I was fighting for my life. Doctors didn't know what to do. I guess the majority of the babies that are born with it, they die."

Gastelum on his troubles in his youth and how getting into wrestling helped him: "When I was young, I grew up on the bad side of the neighborhood. I almost got into a gang and stuff like that, so wrestling was what got me off of that. I was going to go try out for the basketball team, but I didn't make it. I wasn't good enough, so my family was like, 'You should try wrestling.' Wrestling? I didn't even know that existed. That was in middle school. I went to wrestling practice, and it was the hardest practice I've ever had in my life. I just kept on coming back, and that's how I got started."

Gastelum on how he transitioned to jiu-jitsu from wrestling and how that later got him involved in MMA: "I got started around my sophomore year in high school. One of the guys I used to wrestle with at school, he was like, 'Hey man, let's do jiu-jitsu.' I was like, 'What's that?' He was like, 'You've seen UFC, right?' I rolled with him, and he tapped me out like 100 times...Some of the fighters needed help with their wrestling, so I started to go in there to help fighters with their wrestling. I just kept going, and slowly I got more involved with jiu-jitsu and more involved in boxing."

Gastelum on his opportunity on TUF: "I look at it as probably the best opportunity of my life. Obviously it would affect me financially, but this is what I love to do. I love to fight. I work really hard. I'm not super-talented. I'm not strong. I'm not bigger than any of these guys. I just work hard and I grind."


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