- Alex Pereira opened up about his past alcoholism
- “Poatan” confessed to drinking even when he was already a kickboxing champion
UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira is hitting his strides in MMA and could be on the verge of cementing his name in the history books if he ends up fighting and winning the light heavyweight strap as well. However, some may not know, but “Poatan” used to be an alcoholic and everything could’ve changed had he had not stopped drinking.
Fate made him do it
According to Pereira, times were tough during his childhood and he was prompted to work at an early age. But instead of just working to help his parents provide, the young “Poatan” was also introduced to drinking alcohol, which later became his vice of choice for a very long time.
“We weren’t living in a great situation,” Pereira said on Nem Me Viu Podcast h/t Lowkick MMA. “My dad was a bricklayer, my mother was a housekeeper. So I started working early on, in a tyre shop. I was 12 years old, doing a grown man’s job… I got better and better, doing stuff that was really heavy for a 14, 15-year-old boy. So, at this time, I learned good and bad things. I learned how to drink.”
As expected, Pereira got addicted to drinking and it reached the point where he couldn’t stop as his body seemd already dependent to alcohol.
“I didn’t have any control over my addiction,” he continued. “I drank more and more. I said to myself, ‘I can quit drinking whenever I want.’ But that’s not how it works.”
Kickboxing didn’t get the job done
At some point, Pereira discovered kickboxing. He thought becoming a professional fighter could “save his life” but to no avail. Despite training hard, “Poatan” still found his way back to drinking. And even when he was already a national champion, he still made it a point to drink at least “one liter” a day.
“I knew that sport was going to save my life. I discovered martial arts, mainly kickboxing,” Pereira recalled. “At first, I couldn’t train much and I drank a lot. After a while, I started training a lot and still drinking a lot…. Then, I finally started to train and drink a lot less. But it still wasn’t enough.”
“At this time, I was already the national champion in kickboxing,” he continued. “My addiction was pulling my career down. I tried to drink only on weekends, but I couldn’t. It was too hard for me. (I was) 27, or something. I just drank everyday, everyday man. I could hardly stay one day off of it. At the worst times, I drank almost one litre of booze a day.”
Fortunately for Pereira, he eventually sobered up and just focused on his career. Fast forward to present, the Brazilian is now the reigning UFC middleweight champion.
Pereira’s recent TKO victory over Israel Adesanya saw him becoming one of the biggest draws in the UFC. An array of fighters from various divisions are now yearning for a fight with “Poatan,” including No. 6 205-pounder Jamahal Hill and No. 3 welterweight Khamzat Chimaev.
It is yet to be known whether Pereira will defend his 185-pound strap for the first time or one of the aforementioned fighters will get a nod from the UFC.