Andrew Montanez has gone from the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) to the Robot Combat League, the Syfy channel’s 21st century version of Rock-em, Sock-em robots.
The Mineola High School Class of 2003 member will be piloting one of 12 large machines in a boxing arena with the hopes of eventually being crowned champion. Each of the 12 robots has a human “pilot” – Montanez – who is strapped into a control harness and powered by hydraulics. Montanez’s robot – named “Axe” – is a crimson humanoid with a tapered face invocative of the moniker.
He is partnered with Ross Mead, an engineering student who will act as the robot’s engineer and mechanic during and after the bouts.
Montanez, a former Empire State Games wrestler for Mineola, attended Nassau Community College before moving to Los Angeles and picking up MMA fighting professionally.
A veteran of 25 professional bouts, he was undefeated in 14 no-rules Vale Tudo contests and in 2010 won National Fighting Championship's Middleweight Title and was known in the ring as “The Squid.”
His family still lives in Mineola and he has a sister that goes to Adelphi University. His cousin, Willie Montanez, played for the New York Mets from 1978-79.
The Robot Combat League premieres Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on the Syfy channel. Montanez’s first bout is scheduled to air in March.