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'Ultimate mom' helps son realize UFC dreams

CREATED Nov. 19, 2013

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In the rough and tumble world of UFC, you have to be tough.  But Anthony Pettis says he wouldn't have had the opportunities he'd had, and have the amazing life he has, without his mother, Annette Garcia.

After he won the UFC Lightweight Championship, Anthony Pettis wasn't afraid to shed tears with his Mom after winning the belt.  That's because their story reads like a Hollywood movie.
Annette enrolled Anthony and his two brothers in taekwondo, to stay safe in a bad neighborhood.
 
Then 10 years ago, Anthony had to grow up in a hurry.  His Father Eugene was murdered.  The case unsolved to this day.
 
"My whole world caved in at that time.  I was lost.  I didn't know what was going to happen," Annette Garcia says.
 
Anthony Pettis says "I lose my Dad, and my Mom breaks down.  You have no one to look up to.  You have no one to comfort you.  You can comfort each other but not that it's going to be okay comfort.  I had to make a decision.  And I decided from that day I wanted to see my Mom cry tears of joy, not tears of sorrow from that moment forward."
 
Picking up the pieces, Annette gave everything to her kids, for a better tomorrow.  
 
"I looked at family photos, and you see your mom wearing the same clothes and glasses forever. You don't realize as a kid, but then you see she sacrificed a lot for us to do what we're doing now," Anthony says.
 
The sacrifices paid off at UFC 164, and when Anthony won the title, Annette couldn't bear to watch.
Annette Garcia says "oh my goodness, I never see their fights.  As soon as he goes in the cage, I pray and go to the bathroom.  Pacing and praying.  Lance Allan asks in the bathroom?  Annette Garcia says absolutely. safe."
 
And Anthony honored the memory of his Dad, by placing the belt on his father's headstone.
 
"The fight was in Milwaukee," Anthony Pettis says.  "I saw him that morning, and I said take it to him.  And I kept my word, and I took it to him that night."
 
So remember when we said this story reads like a riveting drama?  That's exactly what's happening.
 
Anthony Pettis says "I didn't tell her but I hired someone to write the story."
 
A tough life and a tough job.  And with everything they've been through, there's just one thing Anthony fears.
 
"The only person in the world I'm afraid of is my Mom," Anthony says .