Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chris Albandia: The time is now

By Elias Cepeda

“What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.”

-Benjamin F. Fairless

For Chris Albandia, the time is now. At 31 years of age, Albandia already has more than his share of professional achievement. Having earned several academic degrees, Albandia now works as a special education teacher, wrestling and football coach in one of the better school districts in Illinois.

The man has options, but when the opportunity to fight in the IFL as a member of the new Chicago Red Bears came up, Albandia saw it as an opportunity make his move in the world of MMA, and he didn’t hesitate.

“To do this fight, it was definitely an automatic” says Albandia, who also explains that his current deal with the Red Bears and the IFL is a one-fight agreement, as the original concept of having all Russian fighters fighting out of Chicago has not fully materialized.

“The original concept was to have a team of Russians from Russia living and fighting out of Chicago. But I’m not sure, I think the Russians are having trouble with pass ports or visas, I don’t really know. But they asked if I would be interested in fighting this fight as a one-fight deal. I think they are still hoping to stick with the original concept. If that doesn’t materialize, they may be looking to sign me” Chris continues.

Albandia is not viewing the situation as one with out much security, but rather as a great opportunity to test the waters in hopes of finding success, while still giving him time to make larger choices about what direction his life will go from here.

“As of right now I hadn’t ever had to make the 100% commitment to fighting. When people used to ask if I was a fighter, I’d say ‘no. I’m a teacher and I fight.’ It was sort of a hobby. I trained hard and always stayed in shape. But fighting was something that I fit in to my schedule when I could, just because I loved it.

“It’s a phenomenal opportunity. It gives me time to reevaluate things with work (as an educator). I was always worried that this would come up at some point and I managed to come this far without having to choose. But this thing with the IFL I feel would have to be something that needs commitment full time and will make me reevaluate things” says Albandia.

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