World Champ inspires PBSP incarcerated

World champion belt and two men at Pelican Bay State Prison.
World Champion Juan Archuleta, right, inspired the Pelican Bay incarcerated population during a July 2 visit.

When a World Champion walks into Pelican Bay State Prison, the incarcerated population is ready to receive some wisdom. That’s what happened July 2 when mixed martial artist (MMA) Juan Archuleta visited the prison with Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) life coaches Mark Taylor and Joseph Osorio.

Archuleta competes in the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions of Bellator MMA. He’s also the former Bellator Bantamweight Champion. As of June 15, 2021, Archuleta was ranked first in the Bantamweight division.

The fighter has other insights to share as well. At one time, he was also incarcerated.

The World Champion delivered a message of hope and redemption to those incarcerated at Pelican Bay. He emphasized personal accountability, discipline, and self-growth. He encouraged the listeners to pursue their dreams in a responsible and law-abiding manner.

“When I came out (of prison), I didn’t have anything,” he recently told an MMA online magazine. “Put yourself out there. Go through doors of opportunity. Don’t think people are always trying to get something from you.”

His advice to those who are incarcerated is to have faith and work hard.

“If you don’t go through that door of opportunity and create more opportunities for yourself, and you shut yourself down and there is no support system, you’re coming up short on the goals you want to accomplish,” he told the magazine. “Don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith.”

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition is a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization founded in 2013, by Scott Budnick. ARC is a support network for formerly incarcerated individuals, advocating for criminal justice reform.

By Lt. Kenny Price

World champion speaks to incarcerated men at Pelican Bay State Prison.
Juan Archuleta speaks to an incarcerated group at Pelican Bay.

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