Rutgers’ student Eric Fleming is not your average college senior. Not only has Eric been a mixed martial artist since the age of 16, he has now released his own documentary, following his journey as he trains for his next fight. However, the documentary itself is not just a showcase on a young MMA fighter. Fight for Daylight was created as an inspiration to young athletes, showing the sports’ ability to completely change their lives, and set them on a positive path for their futures. The project has even teamed up with Drug Free America to raise money for families of teens dealing with drug and alcohol abuse.
I had to the chance to speak to Eric himself about the project and find out what his documentary is all about.
Trim Magazine: What inspired you to create a documentary about your career in mixed martial arts?
Eric Fleming: MMA has done so much for me in every way. Before I started I was shy, insecure, and had no confidence. MMA did a complete 180 on my personality. I wanted to share the art and demonstrate how it can help people who may be depressed or going through a rough time.
TM: What was your favorite part about making this film?
EF: My favorite part of making the film was getting such positive feedback. After I released part 1 of the film (there is 3 parts in total…go to fightfordaylight.com/videos for the dates) I got calls, texts, emails, and messages from people I haven’t seen in years saying they loved it and that I inspired them to make a positive change in their lives.
TM: What do you see for the future of Fight for Daylight? Who do you hope to inspire and what do you hope to see come out of it?
EF: Initially I made this project in hope to inspire my little brother to turn his life around. While I hope to accomplish this, it started to become something larger. From friends, family, teammates, coworkers, and even strangers I’ve received tons of thank you’s for inspiring them to make a positive change, from trying martial arts, getting back into shape, or pursuing something they may have put off in the past.
TM: What is your favorite thing about the sport?
EF: My favorite aspect about MMA is that it mimics real life. Unlike most team-based sports, if you’re having a bad day, your team can carry you on their back. But in MMA it’s all on you – you get out what you put in. There are good days and bad days of training, but you have to keep pushing forward until you see the light at the end of the tunnel. With persistence and a positive attitude, you can endure anything.
TM: Where would you like to go from here? What are your dreams as a martial artist and as a founder of Fight for Daylight?
EF: My goal from this point forward is to complete the project and raise my target of $20k for Drug Free America (http://www.gofundme.com/59n6ig). This isn’t a career or anything – it’s a project that I intend to motivate people with. After part 3 comes out, and we hit our charity mark, I will consider it a success.
TM: If there’s one thing that your audience can take away from your documentary, what would you want it to be?
EF: The main message that I hope my audience takes away is that it’s never too late to become what you might have been. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, or where you come from – the train never leaves the station. You can always make a positive change in your life and turn things around in your favor. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
TM: What can the Rutgers community to do support Fight for Daylight?
EF: As far as the Rutgers community goes, it would be a huge compliment if everyone watched and shared my video. I’m not here to glorify myself, or make money. This is a free project, with profits going to a charity, and that’s it. After putting in all this time, effort and money, and getting nothing in return – I hope that makes people realize that I am simply doing this out of the goodness of my own heart.
You can check out part one of Fight for Daylight at http://fightfordaylight.com. Keep your eyes out for the next two parts of the documentary, and until then you can get tickets to see Eric live at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania this Saturday, December 14th.