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Cella carefree about career in MMA

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

Adam Cella never thought he would be a professional athlete.

While growing up in Imperial, there were other distractions. Sports never became a top priority.

“Baseball in church league is all I ever did,” Cella said. “I never wrestled, I never boxed. I really grew up just having fun.”

Now Cella finds himself on the cusp of a career in mixed martial arts. After Saturday's win over David Colter, the 185-pounder is 2-0 as a pro. This start is coming off an amateur career that saw him put together seven wins with only one defeat. He opened his pro career in September with a win over Willie Rose via submission.

Not too shabby for a fighter who grew up on the right side of the tracks.

“I've never been in a street fight, never been in a pushing match, never been in a screaming match and it turns out that I'm good at beating people up,” Cella said.

Cella got into kickboxing around the age of 19 after attending a local mixed martial arts show.

“The UFC started getting real big and everyone started jumping on the bandwagon,” Cella said. “I went and saw a Shamrock show in South City and met Mike Green there. One thing led to another and that's how I got my start.”

Cella jumped into kickboxing in 2004 with vigor.

He put in his time and soon found out he was a natural. Cella logged in over 60 fights on his way to becoming 2006 IKF World Classic Tournament Champion and 2008 Golden Gloves Champion in both novice and open. By 2008, he was a National Golden Gloves qualifier.

His lightening hands and feet earned him a place on the World Combat League’s St. Louis Enforcers. He has come full circle as he now teaches kickboxing and boxing classes at Finney's MMA.

Cella isn't one of these fighters whose whole life depends on what happens inside the cage. He has a stable job working for his families heating and cooling company and isn't living or dying by his latest fight.

“This is just a hobby for me,” he said. “It's fun and I think it should stay fun. Because when it starts becoming unenjoyable and you don't like doing it then there is no point in it.”

Cella has taken a simple, almost blasé approach since he began his sporting life.

“My goal was to get on TV and I kickboxed on Versus once,” he said. “The rest, we'll see what happens.”