- Caged Fighter
- By INGETJE TADROS
- The 63rd Missouri Photo Workshop / Clinton, Mo.
"'Don't Give A F--k' is my favorite tattoo," said 22-year-old Tom Morales.
After winning his first two bouts, Tom decided to become a professional cage fighter. He now trains regularly at the Chiles Martial Arts Studio and at the Community Center in Clinton, Mo.
Tom and his wife Jerica Ridings, 22 both served in the Navy. Tom was a Navy Seal and Jerica was a aircraft mechanic, both owned guns. They moved from his hometown of Las Vegas to Clinton about a year ago when "guns, drugs and lots of troubles" led them to leave. Jerica recently had to sell her Pink AK47 in order to help pay the family's bills.
Their marriage was suffering in Las Vegas, but their shared love for their now 2-year-old daughter Paiyten has turned things around. Together, the young family has started down a new path in Clinton, with new dreams and new expectations. If Tom wins his next two fights, he can go pro, the next step on their journey.
Tom Morales, 22, practices alone the Community Center in Clinton, Mo. He went by the nickname "Dirty" when he lived in Las Vegas but moved to Clinton a year ago to clean up his life.
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