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Brotherly love and MMA don’t necessarily coincide, but for Carlton Charles, MMA is just that. Growing up in Maine, MMA has always been a Charles family affair. From watching his brother, Nate, (now his coach) fight as an amateur to now participating in MMA himself, Carlton is anything but new to the sport. Raised in a family where respect and unconditional love were king, Carlton was taught the value of hard work, learning early on from his father to “always do your best and to do the right things”.

As his Division 1 football career came to an end, Carlton immediately knew where he wanted to focus next. Already knowing what it meant to train hard (can you say two-a-days?) thanks to football and family life, MMA seemed like a natural next step given his already great affinity for the sport. And what younger brother doesn’t want to outdo his older brother?

Shifting his athletic intensity from the field to the gym, he began his rigorous training schedule of cardio, light lifts, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling, shedding 60lbs and transforming from a fullback into a welterweight. Lucky for him, his brother Nate joined the cause and they started training daily, strengthening their relationship with just about every punch. “You have a certain connection with your trainer that is different than anything imaginable. It’s really a blessing to have a brother that has knowledge of the sport and wants to grow as a trainer as I grow as a fighter,” Carlton says. Watching them spar, you feel like you’re watching two brothers wrestle in their in their living room after dinner (but with a bit more skill and muscle, of course). While still tough, sweaty, and unrelenting, you’re certain to hear the occasional laugh, see a nod of approval, and feel that touch of brotherly respect even amidst the rocketing jabs and swift-hitting round kicks.

To see more of Carlton's story, follow him on Instagram: @cocobcharles12_19

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