CAPE TOWN – Dino Bagattin and his son are absolutely crazy about each other.
You can see the expressions of love and immense joy on their faces in Dino’s WhatsApp profile pic.
“I have a little boy who is five-years-old – he will tell you he is six-years-old because ‘Dad said I can have his birthdays’,” says Dino, one of South Africa’s most seasoned MMA fighters and a former EFC Welterweight champion.
Dino has been with the Extreme Fighting Championship since day one (literally, after a TKO win over Chad Hepburn at EFC1).
After his victory over Bruno Mukulu at EFC63, ‘The Lion’ (12-7) opted to take a “much needed break” from MMA to focus on his personal life, much to the frustration of his little champion, who believes that he still has a long way to go in the fighting business...
“When he would hear me tell people I had retired, he would urge me not to say so, saying ‘you’re not old dad’.
“But I have been at it so long, I felt I needed to grow my businesses as they were what I would have after this sport,” says the 35-year-old.
“I was out of contract with the EFC, and had actually said to my coach Richie Quan (Fight Fit Militia Head Trainer) I was going to retire.”
But little did Dino and his son know what was waiting four weeks down the line...
“Brave Combat Federation came along and made me a great offer, and an opportunity to fight for a five-fight contract, win or lose.
“I just have to perform,” he says.
Dino will take on England’s Carl Booth in a welterweight bout at Brave 19 at Sun City on Saturday.
Bahrain’s Brave CF is set to make its debut on South African shores this coming Saturday.
Dino’s opponent, Carl (7-3), is an explosive fighter who is just as hungry for the Lion’s share.
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Lord give me a Sign! - - Very grateful for the opportunity to perform on an international level @bravemmaf I can guarantee the fans I will not disappoint against this tough opponent. @apexhq @coachquanuniversity @martin_van_staden @chad_superman @wrestling_jp @7markie_mark #veteran #mma #strikers #entertainment @suzuki_northcliff @maplewavehq @ridgewayracebar @reddoor.edenvale @jadedink_
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However, his last two fights did not go his way following unanimous decision losses to Carlston Lindsay Harris and Jarrah Hussein Al Silawi respectively.
“He will bring it all, especially after coming off two losses to champions. But he is coming to Africa and shouldn’t expect an easy payday. I’m fighting for my destiny and retirement,” says Dino.@juliankiewietz