Soldier aims at Bellator title to provide better life for his kids

May 7, 2009
(PRESS RELEASE) -- Courage is not a characteristic that is easily dismissed. To be considered courageous, one must consistently exhibit attributes of bravery that are unparalleled by the average person.

With that in mind, there is no question that Estevan Payan is a courageous man. Many people know Estevan as a semi-finalist in Bellator’s World Championship Featherweight tournament, but there is far more to him. This father of five is a former member of the United States Army and has served three tours of duty in Iraq where he proved to himself and his country that he is a true warrior possessing the highest levels of courage and discipline.

Estevan enlisted in the military at a young age where soon found himself faced with far greater challenges than that of the typical MMA fighter. As a serviceman, he was called on by his country three times to serve overseas and fight in Iraq. The military served as a tool that taught Estevan how to fight with great strength and discipline. His experience as a father taught him how to fight for his beliefs and his family. Each of these experiences will prove valuable when Estevan steps back into the cage to fulfill his quest for greatness on May 8th.

Estevan will compete against the highly skilled kick boxer Yahir Reyes at Bellator VI in Texas for $50,000 and the right to compete for the Bellator Fighting Championships’ Featherweight world title. After retiring from the military a little over a year ago to pursue his professional career as a mixed martial artist, the dream of being a champion has become rooted in his mind. Estevan has found success once already in a higher weight class and made the difficult transition from Welterweight all the way down to Featherweight (with a brief stop at Lightweight) in preparation for Bellator’s tournament debut. On the night of his 26th birthday, Estevan made his Bellator debut with a convincing victory over favored opponent Luis Palomino, which earned him $25,000 in the quarter-finals. Bellator’s unique tournament structure offers Estevan a rare golden opportunity to showcase his skills against top rated opponents Palomino and Reyes, while earning enough money to support his five children, each of whom are under the age of six. A victory at Bellator VI would provide Estevan with the opportunity to fight for the Featherweight title and a chance to net $175,000 in just three fights.

Equipped with his remarkable 7-1 record, the former Staff Sergeant will once again be called upon to prove his courage in the face of adversity. He will face off against Reyes in the nationally televised Semi-Final Featherweight Tournament which will broadcast exclusively on ESPN Deportes on May 9th.
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