Vera on balancing MMA career and parenthood: Teamwork makes the dream work

Published May 9, 2021, 10:25 PM

by Carlo Anolin

ONE Championship heavyweight king Brandon Vera with son Atreyu and wife Nenja (Photo from Brandon Vera’s Instagram account)

Filipino-American mixed martial arts champion Brandon Vera isn’t really having a hard time as a new father to son Atreyu, all thanks to his “godsend” wife Jessica.

Last year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Vera stepped away from the Circle and focused on family time instead after he and Jessica, fondly known as Nenja, welcomed their son Atreyu last July.

When they moved to Florida temporarily for a training camp at Sanford MMA, Vera admitted that the experience is “a little bit different” given they have a baby to take care of.

READ: Vera grateful to be part of Sanford MMA training camp

In Sanford MMA, the Fil-Am champ had trained alongside ONE Championship stars and former world champions in Aung La N Sang and Martin Nguyen.

A father at 43 years old, Vera had to balance his MMA career with parenthood.

READ: LOOK: Vera, UFC Hall of Famer Liddell share light moment

The key? Teamwork makes the dream work.

“She (Nenja) made it so easy, I don’t even have to worry about being a new father. She makes it so that all I have to worry about is training,” said Vera, the ONE heavyweight champion. “She does all this while taking care of the baby and still getting me ready for all of the stuff we’re doing, from training to moving, to getting ready to go to the events. She takes care of all of it.

“The only thing I’ve ever really been doing on the regular, because I’m the early riser, I’m the one who wakes up first, is I take Atreyu out of the bed with me and I get to feed him and I get to play with him in the morning before practice, so that Nenja can sleep a bit longer. It’s kind of cool because I’m the early riser. Nenja likes to sleep in, so it’s absolutely perfect.”

As a father and a mentor, Vera would like Atreyu to grow up as someone who values people and life and not to live a materialistic life. If anything, Vera wants to teach his son to “help the world.”

“I don’t know what that’s going to encompass. I don’t know what he’s going to do with his life, but whatever he’s doing, I really want him to make the world a better place. You don’t have to be famous. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be anything. Just make the world a better place,” said Vera. 

READ: Bhullar a dangerous opponent, says Vera, Bhullar all set vs Vera