After a devastating divorce that left him unable to see his children, losing his home and job, the overweight house builder Keith Rocheville turned life around by eating healthy and training hard and eventually becoming a MMA fighter at age 40.
Only two and a half years ago, the house-builder Keith Rocheville was overweight, unemployed and going through the bitter ending of a failed marriage. Just when he thought things couldn’t go worse, he got charged with a felony for failing to pay child support for his two teenage sons, lost his driving license, lost the rights to see his two younger kids and got beaten by bikers.
After the divorce, he had to move in with his parents in California at 38 years of age. “I was depressed, in the worst ways.“ he says. “I couldn’t leave the house. I basically stayed in a room all day, walked to the corner if I bummed $5 from my mom. I was 38. Pathetic.”
Then he got badly beaten up at a biker pool party, suffering multiple broken ribs, a separated shoulder and a broken collar bone. The attack had a deeper background: it was a revenge from the women he had recently moved in, who found out that he kept in touch with his ex and was going to break up with her.
Homeless and completely desperate, Keith ended up in the psych ward.
“I wasn’t crazy, i was broken in every way“, he adds. But although he lost virtually everything he had and cared for, he didn’t lose his hope. After a long struggle with depression and unemployment, Keith took his life back in his hands and completely turned it around.
Unable to find a job in California, he came back to St.Louis and moved in with some friends. They were very health conscious and suffered from celiac disease, so slowly he made the same adjustments in his diet as well, which turned out to be the best thing he could ever do. His new diet consisted mainly of eggs, veggies and lean meats. He started to train by running twice a day and doing body weight exercises at home.
With this new lifestyle, he managed to build muscle and lose 70lbs. His training was becoming increasingly intense and he became interested in boxing and amateur wrestling. By this time, he had dropped from 220lbs to 147lbs, just right for the featherweight division.
Soon enough, a local promoter approached him with an offer to compete in an MMA fight at Cage of Champions in Jefferson city, Missouri.
Being a bit too eager to prove himself and still under the influence of the great emotional distress he suffered, he lost his first fight and became discouraged about giving it another try, but soon enough got another offer and he’s already training hard for his next fight, scheduled at New Year’s day. He could have never imagined that he would become a MMA fighter at age 40.
In the meanwhile, he got a job as a carpenter and was finally able to financially support himself again after two harsh years of unemployment. He’s glad to be back in business, but most of his money goes to child support and he’s still plagued with legal problems.
“I still have nothing. I spent six weeks in county jail this summer, I have a court date for felony support on 19th. There is no help for someone like me, I just can’t get back on my feet. I don’t have drug or alcohol problem, I just have life problem.”
Although he keeps in touch with his two teenage boys, Keith hasn’t spoken to his youngest children, aged 11 and 8, since 2013. After successfully overcoming almost all of his troubles, this painful fact is the only thing that still breaks his heart, but also provides him with a stronger motivation to improve his life as much as he can in the hope of reuniting with his children as soon as possible.
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“I am emotionally 200 per cent better. My spirit is in a good place, it’s just not the same without my kids to share it with.“