Renewal and survival: Yonkers man becomes MMA champion despite serious car accident

A Yonkers man who experienced a life-changing car accident defied the odds and went on to become a mixed martial arts (MMA) champion.

News 12 Staff

Nov 26, 2022, 9:20 PM

Updated 540 days ago

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A Yonkers man who experienced a life-changing car accident defied the odds and went on to become a mixed martial arts (MMA) champion.
At the Animals MMA Training Facility on Tuckahoe Road, dreams are vigorously -- and sometimes, painfully -- crafted.
One such dreamer is 27-year-old Ibrahim Simreen who is beating the odds one punch and one kick at a time.
He's a two-time champion with a 6-2 record, but he's still humble when he discusses his accomplishments.
"I had to go through a lot of sparring rounds with teammates, who also had a bunch of belts. So I guess I'm just a product of my teammates, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the knowledge that they passed down to me from my coach Sam Marji," Simreen says.
"When he goes out there, I get very nervous, but when he shines, it makes me feel like the work we put in was worth it," says trainer Butters Salazar.
There's no question about his survival skills after a major life-changing challenge that happened seven years ago when Simreen was seriously injured in a car accident.
"In 2015, I had a really bad car accident. I totaled my Mustang. Didn't even have 5,000 miles on it. My two little brothers were in the back seat. Thankfully, I'm healthy, still athletic, my brothers walked away fine," Simreen says. But if there's anyone who believes in the old adage "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," it's "Abe," as he's known to his friends.
"I feel like from where's he's been to where he is now, everything is just extra. The sky's the limit for this young man," Salazar says.
To hear Simreen tell it, the future is limitless with hopes of going professional.
"As long as I'm healthy, I want to do it for as long as I can and represent my team, Yonkers, New York, the Palestinian community and the Arab community to the best of my ability," Simreen says.


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