In the world of Mixed Martial Arts, today is draft day and amateur South Tahoe fighter Chris Cocores is a top prospect.
Cocores (3-1) will be showcasing his MMA skills at the first-ever MMA draft in front of elite fighting scouts during a UFC Expo in Las Vegas on Saturday.
“It’s just like the NFL draft or the NFL combine, but for MMA,” Cocores said.
And just like the NFL draft or combine there are top picks. Cocores is one of them.
There will be 80 amateurs at the expo. Of those, Cocores is among 10 selected as premier fighters to watch — the prodigies. This means Cocores can almost guarantee there will be eyes on him at all times.
“I’ve just been working really hard to get out there and make a name for myself,” Cocores said. “It could be a huge opportunity for sponsorships, for my face being in the UFC game, which is obviously the biggest fighting organization in the world right now. And I’ll see where my career can go from here.”
On Saturday, Cocores will have a profile built that breaks down his fighting stats — height, weight, style and even hand profile. Next, comes the physical testing.
“It’s only a three-hour thing, but they put you through a series of tests to really judge you and see what you’ve got,” Cocores said.
The fighters will move through different stations as they are judged on cardio, boxing, jujitsu and just about every aspect of MMA. There will be a handful of elite scouts there judging it all.
“Basically, what they’re doing is looking for the next big thing, and there’s all these fighters going out there trying to be it,” Cocores said. “It’s going to be tough competition, but I’ve worked hard for it.”
Cocores is always training on some level, but to get ready for the expo he’s upped the cardio since he got the invite three weeks ago. He’s been putting down about 30 miles a week at high elevation in addition to plyometrics and his regular MMA training at Sierra Adrenaline Training Center in Carson City.
“I have no idea what direction it will go, but I know it’s a huge opportunity,” Cocores said. “I’m basically going to do what I’ve always done and do my absolute best and see where it takes me. That’s all I really can do.”
Either way, Cocores gets a sweet Las Vegas vacation with his dad out of the experience, and a chance to meet some of the best fighters in the world.
“Afterward, I’m going to go around and try to get autographs from every fighter I see. It’s going to be like a kid in a candy store for me,” Cocores said.
Cocores’ next fight is scheduled for Sept. 28 in Reno. The fight may become his first title shot.
“My opponent is extremely tough. He beat the last guy that I beat in the first round and he’s pretty raw,” Cocores said. “It’s going to be a tough fight, but we’re bringing in different wrestlers and coaches to help me be ready.”