Mike Beltran is one of the most popular referees in the world of mixed martial arts today. During the early days of his career, Beltran competed in professional MMA fights, however, the 47-year-old later decided to switch to refereeing.
Beltran is best known for his symbolic mustache which stretches up to just above his waist. He has been a referee in several major UFC fights, including the high-profile bout between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson.
Beltran tried his hand at succeeding in boxing as well. The popular referee, also a Marine Corps veteran, would train consistently inside the boxing ring before transitioning to MMA in 2002.
In an interview with The Downey Patriot, Mike Beltran reflected on the initial stages of his MMA career. The Calfironia native said he used to get beaten by competitors far younger than him.
"Smaller guys that were a hell of a lot smaller than me - about 135, 145, 160 - (beat me). I got really destroyed by a wrestler. Eventually I got humbled into training with a 12-year-old kid. He was a crazy little grappler and wrestler, and the only thing that kept him down was my size and strength. After that I was completely humbled.”
When Mike Beltran used his mustache to raise awareness about COVID-19
In April 2020, when COVID-19 was almost at its peak in the United States, Mike Beltran had a rather unusual approach to raise awareness about the pandemic. The MMA referee turned his mustache into a mask to protect himself from the COVID-19 scare. You can watch the video below:
Mike Beltran, however, has never been ashamed of his mustache. According to the 47-year-old, his mustache is a sign of pride for him.
“I’ve always hated shaving. It’s just me. it’s just who I am. I think people are very judgmental with people by their appearance or how they look, or whatever. Some people like it (the mustache), some people don’t. I’m used to it now. I really didn’t care what people thought or what people said, because this is who I am," said Mike Beltran.
Find out: Complete list of the UFC Referees