Jeff Bonugli is 54 years old and has been in martial arts for over 35 years. He has fought all over Texas, Louisiana and even Mexico winning tournaments in full contact karate and American kickboxing. Jeff has experienced life through a fighter’s eyes and has seen the good and the bad: “Martial Arts got me through a rough patch in my life. It helped me get through my lowest point. If it wasn’t for Martial Arts and my mentor and Sensei Mr. Chris Lopez , I wouldn’t be here today.” He’s fought in Karate tournaments, Judo, Kickboxing and now for the first and last time, MMA.
Jeff is a humble man who came from a time when the sport was more than just fighting, it was a way of life. He lived and breathed it. A respect for the sport and his elders plays a big role in how he conducts himself. Many of today’s fighters, he feels, don’t understand that. It’s not always about being the biggest and baddest, it’s about discipline and honor.
Mr. Bonugli will be getting back into the ring come July 17th to face a man half his age. Jeff’s not doing this for the money, a boost in his career or anything a young fighter is in it for. He’s doing it to prove to himself that he still has what it takes even at age 54. He’s doing it for his two nieces who were killed, one in a car accident and another who was shot at point blank range. He’s doing it most importantly for the faith that he has gained in a belief of a Savior who died for us. This last one is what truly motivates him, not just to fight but what carries him and has carried him through out his life. This is who he gives all the credit to. Whether he wins or loses, he knows that Jesus Christ laid down his life for him and this is what motivates him the most. To give the glory to God.
In the video you’ll hear some brief stories about the good ole days of martial arts and what it means to him, as well as his final goodbyes to 35 years of fighting and a true love for the sport. Much respect is given to this man who, not only lived it, but plans to prove it once again in the cage.
Jeff will make his way to the cage on July 17th, 2010 in San Antonio at the Municipal Auditorium. A total of three, three minute rounds, win or lose, Jeff will give his all and leave the rest up to his Maker.
Interview by: Chris Lopez Jr.