Paulo Laia, a Deaf fighter in MMA, looks up to Matt Hamill and hopes to be a ‘great inspiration” in PFL


Paulo Laia was a 14-year-old kid in Rio de Janeiro when Matt Hamill made his UFC debut in 2006. Hamill was a deaf-fighter who eventually co-headlined many other UFC shows during his octagon runs. This showed that it wasn’t impossible for him.

Laia is deaf and was inspired by Hamill’s achievements. Laia is ready to take on Manoel Suasa, a top lightweight prospect, this Friday at PFL Challenger Series Orlando.

” I see many deaf individuals contacting my coach to learn MMA and want to train because of me,” Laia wrote in an email to MMA Fighting. I’m happy to share with the community that everyone can accomplish anything .”

Laia, 30, is 14-5 as a pro fighter after winning a one-night lightweight tournament in November that earned him a spot on PFL’s Challenger Series. His mother supports him in his fight sports dreams and “everybody wants my fight now .”

,” he said.

“I never suffered any kind of prejudice,” Laia wrote. I started with Paulo Josino in the luta livre social program. He introduced me to Renato Dominguez when I made the decision to try MMA. It was a great experience.

” “Being deaf does not make any difference to my life these days,” he said. My connection to my coach is wonderful. With hand gestures, my coach and I are able to communicate with each other. He understands my hand gestures and directs me how to proceed when I need to find out something like the time remaining or what I should do. Because I can see everything from the inside of my cage, I am able to use it as a peripheral vision. .”

Laia’s opponent Friday night, Sousa, is 9-0 in the sport with a 100-percent finish rate, but he’s standing in Laia’s way for a potential spot in the million-dollar PFL season.

“I’m very happy with everything that’s going on,” Laia wrote. “I’m going taking step by step to the $1 million goal, but I’d rather think of the actual fight and let things happen. Although my opponent is tough and has a great game, the goal is to win. I am ready for .”