Mothers, please take a bow.
People all around the world will commemorate the strength, the love, the kindness, and the beauty of moms in their lives by celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday, 13 May.
There is no doubt that mothers, and mother figures, play a crucial role in the development of a child. After all, they teach so many life lessons, and push their kids to become their very best, many times at great personal sacrifice.
All of that certainly pertains to our heroes. Here are just four of the most heartwarming stories of how a mother’s love changed their lives.
Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes has proven to be the most dominant flyweight in the organization, and he is driven to succeed because of a certain lady who rescued him when he was a mere toddler.
Days after he was born, Moraes was left on the streets of Brasilia, Brazil. He was soon discovered, and then taken to an orphanage, where he lived with other underprivileged children for the next few years.
Then, one day, he was adopted by a lady who showered him with the love he never had. Most people call her Mirtes, but the flyweight simply calls her “mom.”
“She means everything to me. She is my idol,” he said. “I did everything for her, and I continue to do everything for her, for this love.”
Mirtes showered him love, but also provided him with discipline. Additionally, she gave him an outlet to release some pent-up energy by enrolling him in swimming, as well as his first martial arts classes. But most importantly, she gave “Mikinho” a permanent place where he felt he belonged.
“The person who most inspired me when I was a kid is my mother, because of what she did for me,” he added. “[She] showed me unconditional love, and showed me the path to walk to make the best choices in my life.”
Ultimately, that path has led him to the ONE Flyweight World Championship.
Stefer Rahardian has emerged as Indonesia’s most popular martial arts hero, and is on the cusp of a strawweight world title shot. But behind all of his success is an incredible work ethic and a persevering attitude, two qualities he got from his mother, Margaretha.
After divorcing her ex-husband, Margaretha was forced to become a single parent, and cared single-handedly for Rahardian, his sister, and his late brother. She waited tables at a Japanese restaurant in Jakarta’s business district to provide for her children, and always made sure they were clothed, fed, and received the best education available.
Fortunately, she was able to save enough money to purchase a small house in East Jakarta. It was a rough neighborhood at the time, but it was still a place they could call home.
“My mother was really, really important to me growing up,” Rahardian said. “She gave me everything when I was a kid: school and shelter. She worked really, really hard to buy a house.”
Now, Rahardian is working hard for her. Even though he has become a title contender in ONE Championship’s strawweight division, the humble warrior always makes time for his mom. In fact, he is renovating the old house, and giving her a more comfortable life.
Leandro Ataides is undoubtedly one of the most talented Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the promotion today, but he never would have rolled onto the mats in the first place if it was not for his mother.
To help curb Ataides’ troublemaking behavior, his mom placed him in BJJ classes, and it was a perfect match for his aggressive attitude. The “gentle art” calmed him down, and what’s more, he excelled in the discipline.
“Leo” dreamed of becoming a world champion in the sport, but his family lacked the finances to enter competitions. Nonetheless, the matriarch did everything she could to help turn his dream into a reality.
“Sometimes my mum did not have money for my BJJ tournaments, so she would sell something so I could do it, or she would always find a way,” he explained.
“There were times when she took me by the hand to look for sponsors, and she would say, ‘This is my son, he wants to succeed in BJJ, can you sponsor him?’ She wanted the best for me.”
Because of his mom’s relentless hustle, Ataides succeeded. He became a five-time BJJ world champion, and is a top contender in the ONE middleweight division.
As a child, his father relocated to Israel for work, and that meant his mother was responsible for raising the aspiring martial artist mostly by herself.
“When my dad flew overseas to work, my mom was left to take care of me. She raised me, and stood by my side since I was little,” he explained.
“It certainly was not easy raising a kid like me, but this is why I admire her so much, because she essentially served as both the mother and father figure in my life.”
Pacio’s mother took care of him, and always made sure he had everything he needed. Although she did not approve of his martial arts pursuits at first, she nonetheless supported him, and she challenged him to do his best in every single endeavor.
“My mom would constantly push me to train harder because she knew I was capable of anything if I worked hard enough,” he continued.
As the old adage goes, mother knows best. Today, the 22-year-old is one of the premier martial arts superstars in the Philippines, and even once challenged for the ONE strawweight World Championship.