Carlos Flores: Former Mixed Martial Artist Builds Gym to Combat Bullying

Bullying is a national epidemic, unfortunately making its presence known in schools across the country. It is one of the most problematic issues in regards to students, and so far, a solution doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. According to the American SPCC: 28% of students aged 12-18 are bullied in school. 160,000 kids [...]

Bullying is a national epidemic, unfortunately making its presence known in schools across the country. It is one of the most problematic issues in regards to students, and so far, a solution doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight.

According to the American SPCC:

  • 28% of students aged 12-18 are bullied in school.
  • 160,000 kids skip school out of fear of being bullied
  • 30% admit to bullying others
  • 70.6% have witnessed bullying in their schools
  • 70.4% of school staff have witnessed bullying

Victims of bullies are often reluctant to speak up or seek adult assistance, fearing further reprisal or isolation. Bullying can deal not just physical pain, but massive psychological consequences that can lead to social problems such as anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from social interactions.

According to Bullying Statistics:

  • 14% of high school students have contemplated suicide, with nearly 7% attempting to do so
  • Victims of bullying are 2-9 times more likely to contemplate suicide
  • At least half of suicides are bullying-related

Students aren’t the only ones that are targets of bullying. Bullying in the workplace has unfortunately become more rampant and can range from intimidation to belittling of coworkers. The vast majority of offenders are typically those in management, and women are the most prominent target of bullying.

Hope Ranch Team published some statistics on workplace bullying:

  • 19% of Americans are bullied in the workplaces
  • 60 million Americans are affected by workplace bullying
  • 40% of workers bullied suffer from related health effects
  • 29% remain silent about their experiences
  • 77% of Americans advocate the implementation of a new policy

A Champion of Anti-Bullying

Carlos Flores personally experienced the entire bullying spectrum, from being bullied to eventually becoming the aggressor. As a younger child, he was the victim of bullying but was intimidated at the prospect of bringing the issue to light with his father, a champion boxer. It wasn’t until a serious incident that left Carlos with a hairline fracture in his jaw that he was forced to bring it up with his father, who was baffled as to why his son had never mentioned his accounts of bullying to him.

It was then that Carlos came up with the idea of the Bully Rehab Awareness Gym, or BRAG. By providing an avenue of rehabilitation and discipline through martial arts for victims of bullying and bullies alike, Carlos was determined to provide a safe and positive environment for the youth of Yuma County in Arizona to train and gain confidence in themselves.

Martial arts disciplines such as boxing, judo, wrestling, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu can help teach children the importance of self-discipline and mutual respect for their opponent, lessons that would have a profound impact on reshaping their views and attitude towards their peers.

“We are not just a gym first and foremost, we are an Anti-Bullying Organization that works on a Mission, a Mission to help empower and to make better people. Our team isn’t driven by Dollars and Cents, we are driven by seeing children who couldn’t before smile and laugh,” said BRAG Chief Operating Officer Kenrick Escalanti.

A Safe Haven for Children

Brag initially started off as a gathering of children in Carlos’s garage, where he would impart some martial arts knowledge and techniques as a professional mixed martial arts fighter himself with the nickname of “The Yuman Prodigy.”

Inspired by the changes he saw and the social impact he could provide for his community, Carlos decided to build a gym to dedicate his time to after retiring from MMA. At one point, the gym was shut down, leaving Carlos and the kids without a place to train and grow.

Reaching out for help in the community, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Frank Carrillo stepped up to the plate, helping Carlos reinstate the gym. Unfortunately, he passed away in November 2017 and his wife, Nancy Ngai, continues her work with the community having won the Yuma County Employee of the Year Award.

In honor of Frank’s and Carlos’s major contributions, an obstacle course was built and named after him. The Frank Carrillo Memorial Obstacle Course was constructed and donated as a surprise gift to Flores by the show “Returning the Favor,” highlighting inspirational people who selflessly provided social impact to the community. Cooling equipment was also installed to provide a comfortable environment for training purposes.

XPO2 is a marketing organization that uses its white paper technology to provide funding to small and medium size nonprofit organizations around the globe. They are dedicated to providing social impact and promoting organizations that benefit their communities and society overall and are critical for driving the funding for these smaller organizations that often don’t have any exposure or web presence, further hindering their ability to procure crucial funding.

XPO2 helps drive funding through supporters to help provide the children of Yuma County with a sustainable sanctuary where they can gain self-respect and confidence in their everyday lives. By providing exclusive discounts not found elsewhere, their white label e-platform provides organizations that align with their social impact objectives with the funding, no strings attached.

According to BRAG founder Carlos Flores, “I want to be able to help both people, the bully and the person bullied.” XPO2 is committed to fueling organizations that promote social or environmental impact and by providing the funding for these social change advocates in order to maximize net social impact for everyone involved.

By spearheading fundraising campaigns, XPO2 enables BRAG to focus on continuing support for victims of bullying, providing them with a new outlook and fresh start on their young lives.

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