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Jason Melendez: “My goal is to spread positivity to as many people as I can.”

Interview by: Chris DeFilipppo

For Jason, fighting and police work not only provide a means to support his family, they allow him to promote positivity throughout his entire community.

AFL: How did you get into Muay Thai?

Jason: I've been training for 6 years. I was getting bullied as a kid so that's what made me get into it. I started off in karate, taekwondo, boxing, then I had some boxing bouts. Over time I realized my legs were longer than my arms and then I started doing muay thai.

AFL: At AFL: Proving Grounds, you seemed like you were having a lot of fun. How do you feel you performed?

Jason: I wasn't really nervous, I felt like I had a gameplan and it literally did not happen. I think I had one percent of my game plan take place in the fight, literally just the spinning back kick that you saw. When people see me train, I train really really hard and I try to knock people out. That's what I wanted, but I wasn't satisfied at all. I was disappointed.

AFL: You told us that we would see “Jason 2.0” at AFL: Rising Stars. What did you see from your opponent that led to the quick finish?

Jason: It basically went exactly how I wanted it to. I said I was going to freeze him the entire time. I let him hit me with the leg kick to see how much power he had, just to do a quick analysis of what he could do. Hit him with some feints, got him information, went to work, and the finish speaks for itself.

AFL: What are your overall takeaways from your time with the AFL?

Jason: I remember how great the energy was from the crowd. I fed off the energy and I heard multiple people calling my name. They told me to throw the spinning back kick, so I let it rock. I got a lot of energy from the other competitors, and made some great friends from other gyms. It was very very humbling. It was very well run,very professional and I’m excited about what's upcoming.

AFL: What can we look forward to in your next fight?

Jason: In my next fight I will be fighting in the co-main event. My opponent has more fights than me, and is undefeated as well. No shin guard, just elbow pads. We're taking the training wheels off. There are certain things that no one has seen except my training partners, so I would expect a faster finish next time.

AFL: What do you envision in your fighting future?

Jason: I definitely want to turn pro. My mom works 4 part time jobs, so I'm trying to make this a career to support her. What I make as a police officer is not enough to support her, so I turned to fighting to help her out, so she doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting. Eventually I want to fight professionally in MMA. I've been training wrestling and Jiu Jitsu, throwing some judo in the mix as well. That's the blueprint my coaches set out for me.

AFL: Tell us about your career in law enforcement, how did you get into that?

Jason: There was a lot of domestic violence in my house as a kid. I saw a lot growing up, more bad than I would like. One time my babysitter was there, she phoned the police, and that was the first time I saw a police officer help my family. It stuck with me to this day. As a police officer is to help, to give back to the youth, to do good in the community. My goal is to spread positivity, in my fight training, in my work as a police officer, and in my everyday life to as many people as I can.

AFL: What similarities do your work as a police officer share with the art of fighting?

Jason: Stress management has a lot to do with both. Fighting is a thinker's game, you have to have a clear mind and be relaxed, it takes the same to be a good police officer. Having a background in martial arts allows me to calm down and focus in stressful situations.

AFL: What fighters do you model your game after?

Jason: Jon Haggerty, combined with Michael Sabbot, some George St. Pierre and Petr Yan sprinkled in.

AFL: Most importantly - Favorite food, Movie, Book, Musician?

Jason: Sushi, The Wolf of Wall Street, Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins, The Weekend.

Jason makes his return next Friday, September 30th taking on Williard Klein: ACT 3, live from the 5 Star Banquet Hall in Queens, New York. Tickets are selling out fast, follow the link HERE, and we can’t wait to see you this Friday night.


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