UFC featherweight Andre Fili takes on Sodiq Yusuff this weekend in the prelims of UFC 246: Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone. The 29-year-old veteran is known for wins over Gabriel Benitez, Artem Lobov and Dennis Bermudez. However, the Team Alpha Male product is also known for his ever-growing collection of body art.
Recently ‘Touchy’ Fili revealed the newest addition to his canvas; a photorealistic portrait of Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber. The tattoo was created by New Zealand-born artist Steve Butcher, who is renowned for his highly detailed portraits of athletes and celebrities.
MMA Fighting spoke to Fili about the piece. “It’s to pay homage to Faber, but it’s also about the team in general,” said Fili. “I would probably be in jail right now if it wasn’t for Team Alpha Male. I was on house arrest when I got to Team Alpha Male.”
Fili continued to explain that Faber’s Team Alpha Male had been one of the most positive influences in his young life. And he credited the team for not only helping him succeed in MMA, but for keeping him out of trouble.
“I’d either be in jail or I’d be getting out of a jail working some deadbeat job. If you talk to Faber, he’ll tell the opposite. I’ve said that to Faber before, you basically saved my life.”
MMA Fighting did speak to Faber about Fili’s tattoo. The former UFC title challenger said he was “definitely honored” to be etched on Fili’s skin. He also said he was surprised to see his friend and pupil go through with it.
“Honestly, I’ve spent a lot of time making fun of some of his tattoos so it was tough to make fun of him for that one. That was a cool gesture and I know it means a lot to him being in an environment that he feels has changed his life.”
Fili’s new tattoo will reach lots of eye-balls this weekend during what may be one of the most viewed UFC events of 2020. His bout with the streaking Yusuff goes down on the ESPN prelims, which begin at 8PM ET.