CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — This Saturday, Jan. 22, will be the first ever Combat Sports Festival.
It will be an afternoon filled with different types of boxing, martial arts and other demonstrations, under one roof.
It’s being held to honor the memory of Robert Villegas, a man who did so much for MMA in the Coastal Bend.
Robert’s wife Valerie Villegas is putting this event together, and even started the Robert Villegas Foundation, which helps support families affected by COVID-19.
This event Saturday is a way to honor the man she loved and the man she misses so much.
“I’m sorry,” she says, emotionally, as she thinks back about her husband, who she lost one year ago this week. "He was a wonderful husband. He was a wonderful father."
Most people in the community remember Robert as a professional MMA fighter.
A champion in the ring, he was a 4th degree black belt in Jiu Jitsu who owned his own mixed-martial arts gym and trained a range of students, from athletes to kids.
Kids who sometimes couldn't afford to pay.
“He always felt strongly about keeping kids off the streets. He was always very keen to help kids from disadvantaged families" says Valerie Villegas.
The one match Robert could not win was against a virus.
COVID-19 took Robert's life.
"We all have our time," Valerie said. "I'm not ok with it and I don't agree with it and I don't understand it at all. It's a transition to say the least."
COVID-19 took away a man from his wife — a dad from his six kids.
So as a way to honor her husband's memory, Valerie has created the first-ever Combat Sports Festival as a way to bring the sports her husband loved under one roof for the whole family to enjoy.
The money raised will go to pay for kids who train, and can't afford uniforms or equipment or competition fees.
"He had a heart for this town," Valerie said. "He had a heart for the kids."
For her, it's important for a lot of reasons.
"You know, it's part of my healing to be able to continue with his legacy and do something he wanted," she said. "But I also want to help the South Texas Martial Arts community grow. Sometimes it can be an outlet for children who have nowhere else to go and that's what he did and I'm trying to do the same. In the way that I can do it"
The first ever Combat Sports Festival will include demonstrations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, Boxing, Judo, Muay Thai and Wrestling.
The family event starts at noon and ends at 4 p.m. at CC Boxing Club, located at 6726 Evans Rd. in Corpus Christi.
Tickets are $15 per person, which gets you admission and a meal from the on-site food truck.
You can buy your ticket at the door or by going to: www.robertvillegasfoundation.org