Alex Pereira reveals crippling addiction he battled with before combat sports success: “I drank more and more.”

Alex Pereira

UFC Middleweight champion, Alex Pereira, has revealed he suffered from a crippling addiction to alcohol that he developed at just twelve.

For every great champion to be exactly that, a great champion, they must face struggles in life. For Alex Pereira, the newly crowned middleweight champion, this is no different.

Alex Pereira suffered extreme hardships from an early age, was raised in poverty, and was forced to work from a young age to help provide for his family, life experience is something ‘Poatan’ is not short of.

Thankfully now through his hard work and dedication, the former kickboxing world champion has been able to turn his and his family’s life around.

In recent months, Pereira touched upon just what life was like for him growing up in such a difficult environment and how it led him down the route of alcoholism.

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“We weren’t living in a great situation,” Alex Pereira said. “My dad was a bricklayer, my mother was a housekeeper. So I started working early on, in a tyre shop. I was 12 years old, doing a grown man’s job… I got better and better, doing stuff that was really heavy for a 14, 15-year-old boy. So, at this time, I learned good and bad things. I learned how to drink.”

Alex Pereira opens up on struggles with alcoholism

Pereira revealed what seemed to him as harmless drinking at the time soon spiraled into something much darker. The middleweight champion continued to face this issue in the early stages before accepting that a serious change was necessary for him to better his chances in competition and life.

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“I didn’t have any control over my addiction. I drank more and more. I said to myself, ‘I can quit drinking whenever I want.’ But that’s not how it works. I knew that sport was going to save my life. I discovered martial arts, mainly kickboxing. At first, I couldn’t train much and I drank a lot. After a while, I started training a lot and still drinking a lot…. Then, I finally started to train and drink a lot less. But it still wasn’t enough.

“At this time, I was already the national champion in kickboxing. My addiction was pulling my career down. I tried to drink only on weekends, but I couldn’t. It was too hard for me. (I was) 27, or something. I just drank everyday, everyday man. I could hardly stay one day off of it. At the worst times, I drank almost one litre of booze a day.” Pereira said on the Nem Me Viu Podcast. (Transcribed by MMANYTT)

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Alex Pereira was able to take his life in a completely new direction and now because of this sits at the pinnacle of the middleweight division.

The next challenge he will now face comes in the form of combat foe, Israel Adesanya, who will be eager to rematch Pereira and try to reclaim the title he held for so long