As a child, I was diagnosed as autistic and my parents were told that I would not make it past a 3rd grade education. My parents did not accept that and took it upon themselves to educate me. Eventually they got through to me and was able to integrate with society and go to school. Asthma was another problem for me as a child that I was able to overcome, but I struggled with obesity all the way into high school. I was shy, introverted, and socially awkward child who was addicted to video games. In my sophomore year of high school, I followed my brother into wrestling at Killian High School. My coach, Tirso Valls, was a ruthless man that had no time for weakness. I owe him greatly for transforming me into the man I am to do. After a successful wrestling career in high school, I got into NHB (No Holds Barred) after my brother. We trained with Master R.I. for about two years before beginning our own grappling club out of a Tae Kwon Do school, Avellan Grappling. It was a small group of 10 students that were hardcore – not afraid to take a beating. It was more of a fight club that a school 🙂 In 2001, my brother and I opened the Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA). I was 19 and my brother was 20 years old at the time. We had no money, no capital, no business plan, and no master. We just had a dream – to be the best martial artists we can be. The beginning years were very rough, and we struggled through many hardships before we saw any return on our investments. There were many times that we thought about closing shop and quitting, but our will to succeed was too great. Marcos had the great fortune of meeting Master Lloyd Irvin, who become a mentor to my brother. He imparted invaluable information on how to properly run a martial arts academy and almost overnight the FFA become a sensation. From 60 students to 100’s, the FFA grew to become the largest academy in South Florida. Our Miami headquarters has over 10,000 square feet of space and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I have had the great honor of competing all over the world and have battled the greatest champions in grappling. I hold victories over Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belts Rafael Lovato Jr., Tarsis Humphries, Amaury Bitteti, Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Rener Gracie, and Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro. I have been featured in Grappling Magazine multiple times and have been featured in the local news as well. I am currently looking forward to continuing spreading my knowledge of martial arts techniques and philosophy through seminars, books, DVDs, and through my online courses.