Fighting DNA: Ricardo Lamas father fought for and then against Castro


UFC president Dana White often remarks about fighting being in our DNA, and that could not be more evident than in the case of Ricardo Lamas, who fights Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight tile at UFC 169.

Gareth A Davies has the story for The Telegraph.

"Yeah, the story of my father could really be made into a movie from what he's been though," said Ricardo, known as Ricky in his family. "In the beginning he was with the revolution and with Fidel Castro when they were trying to overthrow the dictator at the time, President Fulgencio Batista. My father was one of his right hand men. When Batista was overthrown and Castro came out and pretty much revealed to the world who he really was, that's when my father started a revolution against Castro's forces, trying to overthrow him."

"At one point he was, if he would have been caught he would have been sent to the firing line. He wasn't caught but they said if we catch this guy we're killing him. So he fled to the Brazilian embassy in Cuba, he hid out for about six or seven months and then after that they snuck him into the United States. He came to the US in 1963."

"My father was already fighting (Castro) before he took over. During the revolution, when he was on Castro's side, he started to see things that made him think twice about the whole thing, and he eventually switched sides right before Castro took over. He tried to fight him for those last two years. It got to the point where he had to leave."

"A huge part of it is trying to make my Dad proud and I know he is. That's why he's at every single fight. In the beginning, when I first wanted to do this, he was very unsure of the sport and kind of didn't want me to get into it because he thought it was, like a lot of other people he thought it was - a form of 'human cock fighting'. He thought that I was serious about it though so he supported me with it."

"Even though he didn't like it, he was there at my first amateur fight, he was there at my second amateur fight, and he's been to every single one since. Now he loves it, now I'll even catch him watching it on TV all the time..."

"It's funny, too, because I remember my dad told me a story about my grandfather. There was a point where my father was in favor of the revolution, he was going to go up to the mountains to help and my grandpa didn't want him going... because he believed that the revolution was bulls---."

"Even though knowing that he told my father to go and his eyes opened and he saw it for himself, so it's kind of the same thing where I wanted to go into this fighting, my dad didn't think it was a good idea but he still let me go, just like my grandfather let my dad go..."

Dave Meltzer tells the story from the father Jose's perspective.

"Isn't it funny that my son is fighting a Brazilian?", said the elder Lamas. "They saved my life. Even though the government of Brazil was friendly with Castro, they gave me protection and allowed me to leave Cuba."

"He has a great heart. Ricardo is very courageous, very creative, and doesn't give up. He has never been submitted. He has never lost a fight by decision. He doesn't talk trash and he doesn't like losing at all. If you want to beat him, you have to take out his heart. He's not going to ever surrender. He's not going to ever give up. He will face Aldo anywhere Aldo wants, and he will take advantage of anything that happens."

"I very much enjoy the UFC. I learned it's not just about being tough, you have to be an artist, a well-rounded fighter. It's not just punches and kicks."


Recent Comments »

MickColins site profile image  

2/2/14 2:55 AM by MickColins

" castro never declared himself dictator for life. castro has legitimately, by international standards, won several elections." Marquez-Sterling was a puppet of Batista? Batista had him imprisoned multiple times for defying him and criticising the Batista regime. Try again. If that is what you believe, there is nothing I can say to refute it. All I can do is stick by the record. If you don't think Castro was a dictator who went back on his word, then I don't know what to tell you.   

andyloveshugs site profile image  

2/2/14 1:47 AM by andyloveshugs

there are pro capitalist parties in cuba that even have official government approval. there's pro capitalism factions within the communist parties. my guess would be your friend was imprisoned over the very, very broad laws prohibiting any foreign funding of politics which count any govt funding, including pell grants and the like, as funding, but obviously i don't know his situation. 

andyloveshugs site profile image  

2/2/14 1:44 AM by andyloveshugs

uh, marquez-sterling was a puppet of batista, and castro nor any of the revolutionary parties participated in the '58 elections and it was boycotted by all anti-batista parties. castro never declared himself dictator for life. castro has legitimately, by international standards, won several elections. you're basically reciting propaganda from a pro-batista point of view. 

mmavixen site profile image  

2/1/14 7:05 PM by mmavixen

Great article.My grandfather was the equivalent of a senator in Cuba and had some insane stories similar to lamas' father. He spent two years on Fidel's death two managed to escape the week we he was set to hang.I have a friend in Cuba right now who's in jail because he dared to say capitalism works in a debate at the university of Havana.It's a gorgeous country, but is in need of a lot of change. I could go on and on about Cuba but I'm on the UG to talk about mma.Anyway War Lamas!!!

Wasa-B site profile image  

2/1/14 4:52 PM by Wasa-B


Marcgeo13 site profile image  

2/1/14 4:13 PM by Marcgeo13

Fuck Castro, tonight the belt goes around the waist of a cubano

MickColins site profile image  

2/1/14 4:00 PM by MickColins

""lots of cubans had to gtfo after that." lots of cubans had to gtfo after castro didn't have elections? do you know cuban history at all? they were coming out of the batista dictatorship ffs, which was way worse politically, socially, and economically.  "   Yup, I do. Those elections were fradulent and put on for show. As are most elections in communist countries. The first post-Batista president was Manuel Lleo and the PM was Jose Cardona. Fidel told them what to do. Fidel had them ban political parties forming or holding meetings. When Cardona realized he was nothing but a puppet, he got angry. Castro threatened him and Cardona disapeared and then reappeared in Miami. When he left, Castro declared he would take the position if the powers of PM were expanded greatly. With no opposition, they were and he did.  Time magazine reported on Castro supporters falling upon opposition rallies like brass knuckles. You couldn't meet up, couldn't hold rallies,etc.. Nice way to generate support or even present opposition,eh? One of Castro's promises was to enforce the real winner of the 1958 election for PM. When his side won....he had all the ballots of the 1958 election destroyed. Because the guy who really won, Carlos Marquez-Sterling, was still in Cuba and more popular than Fidel. When Batista fell and they counted the votes, Marquez-Sterling had won and Castro admitted to the Venezuelan ambassador that he would have had to relinquish power if he counted that election. Castro declared, entering Havana, that he believed in democracy and would have new elections within 3 months. Rather, he ended up declaring himself dictator for life.

get ya tits out site profile image  

2/1/14 3:27 PM by get ya tits out

so what

andyloveshugs site profile image  

2/1/14 3:15 PM by andyloveshugs

actually they held elections and fidel won them. the commie party had their equivalent of primaries fidel won repeatedly, and people were permitted to run against him as independents.    lol @ "lots of cubans had to gtfo after that." lots of cubans had to gtfo after castro didn't have elections? do you know cuban history at all? they were coming out of the batista dictatorship ffs, which was way worse politically, socially, and economically.  

MickColins site profile image  

2/1/14 3:13 PM by MickColins

Says in the article. His dad became an insider in Fidel's circle and realized Fidel was just another dictator. Before Batista was overthrown, Castros side said they were going to hold elections after he fell/quit/etc... When it happened, Castro and Co. said "elections? Ha, jk." and took over. Lots of Cubans had to gtfo after that. Lamas's dad was one of them.