At 42-years-old Randy McCarty has made a profession out of what most retire out of once they turn 30. McCarty, a nuclear weapons effects technician for TRAX International LLC, is also a professional boxer and mixed martial-arts fighter in his spare time.
He has been fighting professionally since 2013. In both sports the average age is early to mid-20s. McCarty joined at 39. He admits that at first he was just doing it to stay in shape, but when he saw that he was wining against competitors who were half his age he decided to pursue it a little further.
“Most people see me and don’t believe my age,” he said. “It’s surreal in some ways. They pay me money to punch someone and I don’t get arrested for it.”
After completing six years of service in the Navy in 2006, McCarty said he wanted to find something that would help him stay in shape. He decided to get into MMA because he has always been into karate and wanted something that would challenge him. McCarty describes going professional as “really just checking another box,” and having more experience to be able to fight at a professional level. Since 2013, McCarty has had four professional boxing events and 14 professional MMA events.
McCarty’s record for MMA is seven wins and seven losses. His boxing record is one win, two losses and one draw.
“I used to think that only certain people could do it, but really I learned that whatever you put at least 10 percent into you’re going to be good at it,” McCarty said. “I’m faster and stronger than I’ve ever been in my life and I’m beating up guys in their 20s that should be killing me.”
After McCarty ends his nine hour shift at WSMR, where he has worked since 2008, he heads straight to the gym where he puts in 2.5 to 3 hours a day. He said he’s usually at the gym from 6 to 8:30 p.m. every day of the work week.
“He’s a perfectionist, he wants to do it right and he really wants to understand the nuances of the profession,” said Mike Edwards, his strength and conditioning coach. “His age is just a testament of how if you keep moving, your physical capacity is limitless. As a person I just can’t say enough about him.”
McCarty said he reserves one day off for himself. However, Edwards said a lot of his weekends are spent traveling to teach youth judo classes and participate in a local church, “Sunday, Funday,” event. During the church event, McCarty trains and teaches anyone who comes out to participate.
“As adults we have to lead by example,” Edwards said. “He sacrifices a lot and he’s proven that age is not a factor.”
Both Edwards and Darrill Schoonover, his coach, say he is the most dedicated fighter they have ever seen and coached. Schoonover has coached McCarty in grounds, MMA, boxing, jibs and judo.
“He’s the first one at the gym and the last one to leave,” he said.
Both coaches said the amount of fights he takes on are unprecedented. Schoonover said he has five to 10 fights in one year. He said his age is a big deal when it comes to the sport because most people, including himself, retire at the age of 30 after beginning their career in their late teens or early 20s.
“It shows a lot about his attitude, integrity, innovation and what type of person he is,” Schoonover said. “We appreciate everything he does for the team, he’s a great role model.”
He is known as a character both on and off the ring. Edwards describes him as very charismatic, inviting and the type of person who makes everyone else feel good about themselves. His most notable trait is coming out to each match to the song Ice, Ice, Baby by artist Vanilla Ice.
“He really enjoys what he gets to do,” Edwards said. “He’s smiling in pretty much every situation. He’s usually the fan favorite.”
McCarty dedicates his success to several people who helped him get to where he is today; Schoonover, Edwards and his father who taught him karate at a very young age.
“It’s really nice to have people who are behind you and can support you at your age,” McCarty said.
He said his job at WSMR has always been supportive, he uses his vacation time during bouts and matches. His boss is able to work around his schedule and they have never had an issue with his career in fighting.
“Sometimes I come all bruised up and ugly but my job doesn’t require me to be pretty, as long as I have my knowledge I’m okay,” McCarty said.
When asked if he would ever pursue a career full-time, he said his job at WSMR is too good a job to leave even if he was given the opportunity to fight in the Bellatore or the Ultimate Fighting Championship. McCarty has an upcoming boxing match Sept. 10 in Hobbs, New Mexico, and an MMA match Oct. 1 in Tucson, Arizona.