LAS VEGAS – By definition, a luchador is Spanish for a masked professional wrestler. But to Erik Perez, the first 100 percent Mexican fighter in the UFC, it is so much more.
It's why he was crushed when he not allowed to wear a mask to the weigh-in or for the walk to the cage for his first UFC fight, on June 1 in Las Vegas at 'The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale'.
For years, UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have sought to create a distance between their company and professional wrestling, so they Perez's request to wear a traditional Mexican luchador mask.
The masks are a large part of Mexican culture, though, and represent far more than just a professional wrestler's desire for anonymity, Perez said. The use of the masks among Mexican warriors dates back more than 800 years, he said. They've been worn by all sorts of Mexican stars, including El Santo, a wrestler and actor who was considered the John Wayne of Mexico.
"When I was a child, the masked warriorsRead More »from Erik Perez to celebrate Mexican heritage at UFC 155 by wearing luchador mask