From his upbringing in a small Italian community in Pittsburgh – complete with the smallish houses, mountains of food and family-run businesses – Mark Cherico was very familiar with support with no questions asked.
Granted, he had experienced a difficult period in his life with some poor decisions, but that only came after losing his father to colon cancer when he was in the sixth grade. By the time he was in his early 20s, he got another dose of that unconditional support, and it came at the right time.
"Right after high school, I was working at a Giant Eagle as a prep cook, and I thought I would end up doing culinary arts," Cherico told MMAjunke.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I got off work one day, and my neighbor was coming out of his truck with a big bag of gear.
"I asked him what it was for, for boxing or something? He said he trained mixed martial arts. I knew about it, and I thought it sounded like it would be good to try. He said, 'OK, I'll meet you in your garage in an hour.'"
Ad: FanDuel launches Mixup, a fun version of daily fantasy sports for casual fans