FORMER mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete Soa Palelei says he is excited about the chance to feature at the same event as star Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The duo will be in Sydney in March for the Total Success Summit.
“I’m a massive fan,” Palelei said of the Terminator.
“How he went from Austria to the US – he didn’t know much English.
“To grind away and hustle with Mr Universe, movies and becoming Governor of California – he blew up.
“To make such an impact for a person not from the US is a massive achievement.”
Schwarzenegger will be in Australia to talk about his experiences rising through the ranks of several fields.
Palelei, or “The Hulk” as he is known to his legion of fans, will be there to share his battle with mental health.
Talking to the Gazette last June, the South Lake resident revealed that even at the height of his MMA success – which included stints with high-profile organisations including the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Pride – he felt little happiness with what he had achieved. Since then he has gone on to travel Australia telling his story, with visits to more than 70 schools.
“My stories are pretty raw and hit you straight in the heart,” he said.
Palelei said he never expected to follow this path after his retirement from MMA in 2015.
“I’ve walked out in front of thousands of people and millions on pay per view and I didn’t get the same enjoyment as I do talking in front of 15 to 30 kids,” he said.
n If you are seeking support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au.