Florida MMA fighter killed in crash ’was always a mentor’
Suddenly, the professional mixed martial arts fighter unloads a series of lefts and rights so ferocious that the punching bag looks as if it may fly off its mooring at Combat Club in Lantana.
“This is my fun,’’ Corchado wrote under the video. It turned out to be his final post on his Instagram account.
Hours later, the beloved MMA fighter and instructor known as “El Jefe” died in a car accident early Saturday morning in Lake Worth Beach, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Corchado, 33, of Boynton Beach, was driving his 2014 Chevy Sonic on the northbound exit ramp to 6th Avenue when his vehicle collided with a traffic light pole at the bottom of the ramp just after 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Corchado, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene.
As FHP continues to investigate the accident, MMA fighters and students are sharing praises and remembrances for Corchado on social media.
“Mixed martial arts was his life,’’ Ryan Conforti, a West Palm Beach fighter who trained with Corchado for 10 years, told The Palm Beach Post. “It was his outlet and it probably saved him from getting into the wrong circles. It gave him a focus.’’
Corchado was born in Brooklyn and came to Florida around 2010 to train at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Conforti said.
His sister, Carmen Corchado, is a successful kickboxing fighter in New York, where Corchado visited over the Christmas holidays.
“I know he would go back to New York and help train his sister sometimes,’’ said Jason Somchay, a close friend.
“He is very well-known. I watched him go from amateur to the pro circuits. He was a good fighter and a great coach who was always a mentor to so many others.’’
Corchado trained and worked at Nine Rounds gym in Boynton Beach before moving on to Combat Club, where he was one of the school’s main MMA instructors. He influenced so many students that some left Nine Rounds and started training at Combat Club just so they could continue training with Corchado.
“He was the one who introduced me to the world of kickboxing,’’ said Frank Trujillo.
Corchado was excited about an upcoming fight in three weeks, which would have been his first professional bout in two years, said Danny Valentine, owner of Combat Club.
“He was looking forward to getting back in there. He was saying how he felt better than he has ever felt,’’ Valentine said.
Corchado taught what turned out to be his last class Friday night, just after that video was shot of him attacking the punching bag.
“He was here all day. It was a great class. He stayed after a little while with some of our fighters,’’ Valentine said. “He was really taking a role as one of the leaders here and owning that role. He said he wanted teaching to be his life.’’
Somchay said he worked out with Corchado at Combat Club on Friday. They made plans to meet there again Saturday for more workouts.
“I walked in the gym wondering why he wasn’t there,’’ Somchay said. By Saturday afternoon, word spread about the car accident.
“He was a fantastic individual,’’ said Gerardo Ramos, a Palm Beach Gardens photographer who met Corchado by shooting MMA events. “He had a big impact on the MMA community and his death has shocked a lot of people.’’
Staff writer Liz Balmaseda contributed to this report.