'If you keep on hustling, all day every day, you will see your dreams come true.'
Following a childhood from hell, Soa 'The Hulk' Palelei was left homeless and headed straight for trouble. Until mixed martial arts put him on the right path in life. After making his professional fighting debut in 2002, Palelei went on to dominate on the Australian circuit. Five years later, he was signed on to compete in the revered Ultimate Fighting Championship.
But the dream didn't last. He lost disastrously in 2007 and was dropped. All his supporters disappeared when he needed them most. He came back to Australia, faded into obscurity and blew out to 160 kilos.
It took him four years of hard work to get back to the top. Multiple championships followed as well as a three-year winning streak that saw him back competing – and claiming victory – on the world stage.
Palelei's raw and powerful story is, at its heart, one about turning obstacles into opportunities and following your dreams – destroying the odds in the hope for a better life.
About the Author
Standing a massive 193cm and weighing in at 130kg, Soa 'The Hulk' Palelei is an Australian mixed martial artist who competed in the heavyweight division of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). He was known for his aggressive style, all but one of his fights ending in a stoppage. Of Tongan descent and born in 1977 in Newcastle, New South Wales, Palelei made his professional MMA (mixed martial arts) debut in September 2002. He was undefeated for the first two years of his career, going 7 - 0 with all wins either by TKO or submission.
He had a brief stint in the UFC in 2007, losing to Eddie Sanchez by TKO in the third round. Released from the promotion shortly thereafter, he made it back in 2013 and signed a multi-fight deal. He officially retired in 2015. In recent years, Palelei has established a mentoring program for teens called Hulk Kids MMA and has had roles in two feature films. Palelei lives in Perth.