Joey “The Brighton Bad Boy” Welch will be facing Matt Peckham April 19 in the MMA main event of Universal Fight Alliance 15 in Denver.
Welch, a Brighton High School graduate and former wrestling standout, is eager to showcase his skills once more.
“I’ve always loved this sport. I guess maybe I just like to fight, like to get hit in that ring. Really, I like to get hit in the face,” Welch said with a laugh.
His love for combat sports stretches back to his time wrestling locally in Brighton.
“I think wrestling changed my life. Finding that, focusing on that, being part of that team meant a lot to me. It meant a lot to a lot of us. I think it kept a lot out of us out of trouble,” Welch said.
For now the only trouble Welch has is what he finds at the hands and feet of an opponent. The very real risk of injury plagues any athlete, but Welch knows well the dangers of his chosen sport. He returned to the cage this year after a six-year absence due to injuries he suffered during a fight.
“What happened was I got slammed down on the back of my head and I rolled over, and the guy punched me in the back of the head. I ended up with a contusion on my spinal cord and, at the time, they called it a traumatic brain injury,” Welch said.
The obvious question that arises from such an injury is; why go on?
“I can’t help it. Fighting really helps me stay focused. But I think it all goes down to me wanting to make my kids proud. I want to show them that once you start something, you finish it,” he said.
Welch said that the help of his three children and wife brought him back to training. Once doctors cleared him, that same family gave him the encouragement to re-enter the cage.
Beyond that though, he says that his love for Brighton is what motivates him to perform to his best. His nickname “The Brighton Bad Boy,” which is tattooed on his shins, was given to him by promoter, Steve Alley, as an homage to his city.
“I was born and raised here and I love everything about Brighton. It’s amazing to see how much the city has changed over the years, for the better. I love it, and I am never going to leave,” Welch said.
Training out of Strictly Boxing on Main Street as part of Team Grinders, Welch is excited at the recent regard the city has shown fighters.
“It’s great to see people interested in what we’re doing. It means a lot, and I hope I’ll see a lot of my Brighton people in Denver on April 19,” Welch said.
This will mark the second fight of Welch’s comeback and his second main event since his return to the cage. For more information on Joey Welch’s fight, go to www.universalfightalliance.com.