A California rabbi who began mixed martial arts training in order to promote security and fitness in the Orthodox Jewish community recently won his first MMA bout by technical knockout.
Rabbi Yossi Eilfort, 22, stepped into the cage and won by TKO in the second round. Prior to beginning his training under former UFC fighter Thierry Sokoudjou, Eilfort had never hit anyone before.
“I never thought that a rabbi would be interested in fighting,” Sokoudjou said. “But I was stoked. He never quits.”
Eilfort said that he didn’t want to hurt people but that he was looking forward to the “physical, mental, personal challenge” of MMA. “I believe if we’re not challenging ourselves, than we’re wasting time,” Eilfort said.
Family, friends and members of his synagogue came to watch Eilfort fight as part of Mansion Fights in North Hollywood. “It was very uncomfortable hitting someone,” Eilfort said after the fight. “I actually held back.”
Now that he’s fought in the Octagon, Eilfort wants to become a police chaplain and instruct students in self-defense.