Everybody has a dream.
For young boys those dreams often involve some sort of athletic achievement and recognition. As boys turn into men their dreams often fade and are replaced my new, more realistic ones, geared towards the perceived ‘real world’ and its required responsibilities. But some never abandon their dreams. Instead, they push forward in the face of adversity, determined to make it.
Livingston’s Edward Mackey, 25, still carries his dream with him. As he pursues his dream, a career as a Mixed Martial Artist, he draws inspiration from the source of his goals and the experiences that made him who he is today.
“I’m from an area where there was a lot of gang activity. I had two paths, the right way and the wrong way. I promised my dad I would never gang bang or do drugs and I’ve kept that promise to this day,” Mackey said. “I want to make him proud and keep that light for him. I want to spread my name, because I’m proud to be Edward Mackey.”
As a youth Mackey, who moved from Merced to Livingston in 1992, didn’t always take pride in himself. Bullied for his size and ethnicity in his new, small town, Mackey withdrew from his peers and struggled to adjust to the environment.
“Sometimes I would ditch school because I was told I was dumb or skinny and that I didn’t belong there,” Mackey said. “I didn’t even want to go home sometimes.”
As Mackey got older and entered high school he decided to change things for himself and got involved in athletics, playing football, baseball, and joining the wrestling team.
“I started to play sports. I could have joined a gang to keep people from messing with me but I decided that my gang would be a sport,” Mackey said. “I started to notice I was getting more respect. I was still being disrespected but I learned to deal with it.”
Although Mackey enjoyed his time playing high school sports he was still discouraged about his size and ability. Shortly after graduating Mackey’s father died, sending him into a state of depression and uncertainty about his future. That’s when he was introduced to Muay Thai Kickboxing and his world was changed forever.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do or be but I got into kickboxing and it felt right, like it matched my personality,” Mackey said. “People always told me I had potential but I would get down on myself and think I wasn’t that guy. After a while I started to build my confidence and I said enough is enough. I told myself this is my thing and I’m going to go somewhere with this.”
Now, with Muay Thai tournaments under his belt, Mackey is eying the world of MMA where he hopes to make a debut soon. In the meantime Mackey has begun to teach younger kids the art of Muay Tai Kickboxing while training and preparing himself for a potential trip into the cage. Mackey intends on maintaining his personal training routine until he can find a MMA school that is right for him.
“I want to inspire the kids in my community as much as I can,” Mackey said. “I want them to know anything is possible. As a fighter and a humble person I want to touch people’s hearts.”