February 2, 2013
Milo Vivaldi has a full time job and is a volunteer firefighter, but for the past month he has been trying his hand at mixed martial arts for his first fight ever. And it's all for a good cause.
"I'm 39, I'm going to be 40 this year and the window of opportunity for me to try this kind of thing is getting smaller by the day, so this is definitely a bucket list thing for me," said Vivaldi.
He moved to Charlottesville only two years ago and says as a member of the Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department, he has truly found a home.
"One of the biggest draws is knowing that you have a community, your own brotherhood, so to speak, of friends that treat you just like family even though you have no relation tied to them," he says.
Each year, an average of 100 firefighters die in the line of duty, so he is raising money while he trains to fight for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
"It just becomes part of your DNA, it becomes part of who you are," he said. "It becomes a lifestyle. It's not just something you do on the side. And God forbid something happens to me, I would hope someone else would do the same for me."
Because of work and taking care of his two kids, he can only train once a week.
Dave Morris is the owner of MMA Institute in Charlottesville and has been training Vivaldi. Morris says Vivaldi started in pretty good shape.
"I told him, 'Yeah, let's do this.' And here I am a month later, ready to go," Vivaldi said.
He has about three more weeks to train before the big fight on Feb. 23 in Louisa County.
You can donate by going to Milo's Fight for Fallen Firefighters Facebook page here.