Going days without electricity, water, or food, doing whatever possible to earn a living was typical for J.C. Llamas and many kids like him growing up in the impoverished areas of Mexico.

“If I didn’t win whatever game I was playing – soccer, basketball, chess, – then my brother and my family – we didn’t eat,” Lamas recalls. “In order to survive, I would get good at whatever I did.”

Every win earned him a precious dollar that would buy him and his family food for a few days. Lamas learned how to stretch a dollar the hard way.

The will to survive fueled Llamas’ drive. An internal drive that has brought him a growing amount of success in all facets of his life including two national titles in chess, as well as becoming a professional MMA fighter, recording artist and television star.

According to Llamas, his first fight was out of desperation to save his grandmother who was living in Mexico. At the time, Llamas was the only member of his family living in The United States.

“I got a call from Mexico saying my grandma had cancer and didn’t have money for meds. It cost a couple hundred dollars and we absolutely needed the medicine,” Llamas remembers.

Llamas asked around, hitting up any and all promoters that would let him fight. “There was one and he said there was a fight in 4 days, but I had to be 170 pounds. So I cut 27 pounds in three days.”

“My grandma was my everything, really,” Llamas admitted. “I made weight at 170 and then, the next day was the fight. I was so tired during the fight. But I kept going because if I gave up, I wouldn’t have the money for my grandma. In my head I kept thinking, ‘If I lose, my grandma dies.’ So I just kept kicking and kicking and kept going. I won by unanimous decision, got the money and sent it to my grandma to help her get her medicine.”

Llamas went on to star in Combate Americas, the first-ever US Hispanic MMA competition reality series, co-produced by UFC co-founder Campbell McLaren; the creators of the reality television genre, Bunim/Murray Productions; and former Strikeforce executive and fight industry veteran Mike Afromowitz. Llamas finished as runner-up in his weight division on the 10-episode show that aired on NBC Universo (formerly mun2), beginning last February.

“I won mostly every challenge and, because of that, I was one of those guys that you either loved the most or hated the most.”

Llamas explains that, on the show, there were 11 different competitions that evaluated the contestants’ skills.

“There were challenges (that tested) who was the fastest, smartest, strongest, who had the best kicks – stuff like that. Out of the 11 challenges, I won 8 and (took) second place in 3. I left my competition in the dust.”

According to Llamas, he did this all while nursing a broken thumb. “Before the reality show, I had a fight where I broke my thumb,” he recalls. “I didn’t want to tell the people on the TV show because, if I did, they wouldn’t let me on the show.”

To salvage his opportunity of a lifetime, Llamas kept his broken thumb a secret, refusing to let it slow him down. It didn’t.

“I was beating everyone with my broken thumb!” he exclaims.

Baseball has the Yankees, football has the Cowboys, and MMA … MMA has J.C. Llamas. You either love him, or love to hate him. But his success is undeniable.

Well, undeniable to most, but not to all. Llamas recalls the finals of the Combate Americas reality show, a three-round bout in the show’s circular cage that pitted him against arch-rival Danny “The Machine” Morales, who Llamas had feuded with throughout the series.

According to Llamas, he was certain after the fight that he had done what he needed to seal the victory, yet was rendered the loser by unanimous decision. It was one of the few losses in his career that Llamas thinks was undeserved.

“I took him down in the first three seconds, and I ground and pound for, like, four minutes,” he recalls. “The second round was pretty even. The third round I took him down and kept taking him down. And they still gave him the unanimous after all that.”

In Llamas’ opinion, the judges gave him the loss knowing full well that he deserved to win only to make the show more exciting. Similar to how the Cowboys consistently open up the NFL season, Llamas says, “they need people to watch and talk about it. It’s kind of their way of getting more fans – keep up the drama.”

Llamas’ said his confusion was shared by the entire reality show cast. “A lot of guys on the show said I beat (Morales). Even the guy’s best friend on the show said I won that fight.”

Controversy and drama sells, and that’s okay by Llamas who still remembers fighting just to earn a buck. In spite of the loss on the reality show that cost him a first place finish, Llamas says the show was such a great experience that he would love to be on it again, because of all the doors it opened for him.

One of those doors led to the audition room of a TV show called The Guide to Surviving Life, a forthcoming comedy that will debut on FOX.  Llamas will appear in a supporting acting role in several episodes.  “I’m one of the main characters – one of the bad guys,” Llamas proudly says.

“When I’m not fighting, I like recording music and breakdancing,” Llamas continues. “I always wanted to be in movies and stuff like that. So after the reality show ended, I wanted to pursue my career on TV. I started looking for managers and a bunch of agencies and that led me to FOX.”

In the future, Llamas sees himself still recording music. “But as far as fighting, I think I have at least five years,” says Llamas who is sure he can win a world title within that span and says he plans to focus on doing so in the rumored Combate Americas live event series. “I want to be sure I’m a world champion in a few different leagues before I retire. I’m close to that. I mean, I’ve never been submitted or knocked out.”

Llamas feels like his fighting dreams are all attainable if he keeps training at his school, Llamas Competition Team, located in Bakersfield California in Bakersfield East Hills Mall.

“I do this all for my family,” says Llamas. “Nothing else matters besides my family.”

Llamas earns money from his fighting, from his acting and from his music and sends it back home to his family. “I want to make sure my kids don’t go through what I did and feel the starvation that I did. I want to make sure they go to college and get everything I didn’t have.”

  • jcllamasmma

    Amazing Interview wow
    I love it

  • Cus

    But he was still only a runner up for combate America’s haha