Inspiration can sometimes be drawn from the unlikeliest of places. For ONE Championship featherweight contender Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly, a fictional storybook character has had a profound effect on his upbringing. Today, as a professional mixed martial artist, Kelly dreams of giving back to the Filipino people just like his childhood hero Robin Hood.
Robin Hood is a legendary hero depicted in English folklore. He was said to be a highly-skilled archer and swordsman. Although he was thought to be an outlaw and a bandit, children’s books tell the tale of noble young man who had a singular goal: “to steal from the rich and give to the poor.”
Growing up in Baguio City, Philippines, Kelly was like any other kid in the world who read about Robin Hood in fairy tales. But deep inside, the desire to be just like his hero started to grow at a young age.
“To give to the poor, that was what really stuck with me, not the stealing part of course. Stealing is bad. But to give to people who need help, that’s what I really want to do,” said Kelly in an interview with ONE Championship (www.onefc.com)
“I’ve been a fan of Robin Hood since I was a kid, so I can say he’s been my hero all this time. I just find it incredibly noble to be able to help people who are in need.”
Kelly may not have been raised in extreme poverty like a lot of unfortunate families and children in the Philippines, but he was surrounded enough with it to know how bad some people have it.
“We didn’t have much growing up, but we had enough. Other people aren’t as lucky,” said Kelly.
“For a Filipino, for a human being with a heart, you can’t not feel for those who are desperately in need. Which is why I’m very thankful for the position I am in. As a professional athlete, I can help. And it’s one of the things I am most proud of.”
By reading tales of Robin Hood and his Merry Men bring joy and nourishment to the people, Kelly has always dreamed of doing the same. Which is why he views his time in the cage as a professional athlete as extremely valuable.
“The Ferocious” however bares that although he isn’t making enough money just yet to be able to make charitable donations to the poor, he also realizes that there are other ways he can give back.
“The lesson I learned from Robin Hood is that we should always try to help each other, especially those who really need our help,” said Kelly.
“That is why, even if I cannot give money right now, I always try to help in any way I can. By doing good and being good to people, showing kindness, and inspiring the youth with my performances, it brings joy to me. Just being in this position and seeing how I can touch lives, it gives me a great responsibility.”
Of course, at some point on his journey, Kelly does expect to be able to lend a hand financially, just like his childhood hero. In order to do that however, he must further his martial arts career.
At ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON, Kelly returns to action against former ONE World Title challenger Christian “The Warrior” Lee. It is no doubt the toughest matchup in Kelly’s time as a professional. A victory could launch him straight to the top of the featherweight ranks and into the title conversation.
“I truly believe that’s why we have been given this platform, to help those in need. Like my hero, it’s all about coming full circle and giving back. I wasn’t able to achieve the things I have achieved without help. So I want to help others as well.”