HE is known as one of the hardest men on the planet, but Soa Palelei admits he is a big softy when it comes to Christmas.
The South Lake export, known best for his work as a mixed martial arts athlete with the UFC and Pride, said the festive season was a time of year he loved.
“I love Christmas. Everyone’s just happy,” he said.
“There’s shopping, and there’s a really big build-up to the big day.
“I love the food. I will smash anything I can find and relax. It’s all I want.”
Somewhat surprisingly “The Hulk”, who as a heavyweight topped 120kg, loves a good Christmas tune.
Palelei said he listens to a wide range of artists, from Elvis Presley, Luther Vandross, Michael Buble or his personal favourite, Mariah Carey.
While his MMA career has wound down of late, Palelei has kept busy filming a new movie and hosting mental health talks at schools across the country where he opens up about his tough upbringing.
“Before my book (Face Your Fears) came out I thought we’d do it and then the attention might fade away,” he said.
“But it is helping people in a big way. Not everyone will relate to being a UFC fighter but they can relate to the different struggles.
“The talks hit right in the heart – I keep it raw.”