Despite his years of training MMA, Joe Torrez is yet to get his big break inside the cage.
The 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter sports a subpar 1-5 professional record, but while his training has often failed him inside the cage, it saved his life a couple of hours into 2014 when four men evidently forced their way into his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with intent to harm Torrez, his fiancée, his two-year old son, and a few other guests.
That was about 15 minutes after one of the suspects allegedly called Torrez' home threatening, "I'll kill you and your family ... I'll go to your house."
According to Torrez' lawyer, C.J. McElhinney, one of the attackers brought a street made shank along for the ride, while another grabbed a knife from the kitchen.
Unfortunately for them, their weapons proved to be ineffective against Torrez' MMA training. He quickly dispatched them, killing one of the attackers, severely breaking another's jaw, while the remaining two tucked their tails between their legs and ran for dear life.
Those two were rounded up shortly after by authorities, and all three surviving suspects will face aggravated battery and aggravated robbery charges.
"Rather than let himself be a victim, Joe fought back, and he fought back for his life," McElhinney said during a 30-minute interview with MMALockup. "In the ensuing struggle, regrettably, one of those intruders lost his life, and another suffered what can be described as a severely broken jaw."
"Joe was in great shape, he'd been training for a fight. I think his MMA training -- without a doubt -- was the edge in that fight. Being able to defend yourself and having that confidence is a huge advantage in any kind of fight, and I don't think they were prepared for what came in response."
However, instead of being commended for his valiant efforts while defending his family, charges might be coming at Torrez depending on the outcome of an investigation being conducted by the Dona Ana County sheriff's office.
For now, Torres remains a free man, and he's wisely decided to move his family away from Las Cruces.
"Joe is holding up remarkable well. After this all happened -- I've known Joe for a long time -- I could tell that Joe had been though a very traumatic experience. I could just tell from his demeanor, his bearing, he was shaken up … I advised him that he needed to leave the area because these people are going to be looking for retribution. He took that advice, so he has left the state. He's at a safe place with his family. Now he's just very nervous, very fearful that he's going to have to defend himself against an unjust charge, an unfounded charge, so that's weighing heavily on his mind."
Hopefully, reasonable minds prevail, and Torres doesn't end up getting punished for doing what most of us hope we'll have the courage, strength, and ability to do if we ever find ourselves and our loved ones in similar situation.