Channel 4 KFOR pays it FORward to El Punisher

For his work with The Come Up Kids, KFOR’s anchor Kevin Ogle, Channel 4 surprised Emmanuel “El Punisher” Rivera at OKC City Center on Wednesday.

Rivera was nominated by Lacey Larkin, whose late husband used to be Rivera’s training partner when he fought professionally. Rivera was presented a check by First Fidelity Bank, and The Come Up was featured on the Pay It FORward segment.

Rivera formerly trained the late and legendary sportscaster Bob Berry, Jr. of Channel 4 and The Sports Animal. Rivera was a behind-the-scenes technician for Berry and other Sports Animal personalities.

The Come Up Expands Board of Directors

A new board was formed August 7 expanding its membership to seven.

“These outstanding community citizens bring a broad range of experience, from media to martial arts, business, non-profit experts and politics,” said Carl Belford, a founder of The Come Up and now a senior coach and program director.

“We expanded the board because The Come Up is not about a person, it’s about a community mentoring kids.”

The new members are: Rebecca Guerra, Cord West, Fount Holland, Matt Parker, Tami Bramel, Robert Mueller and Chairman Geoff Long.

Mayor Holt featured at first Come Up fundraiser

OKC Mayor David Holt welcomed 180 guests to The Come Up Foundation’s first fundraiser held July 31st at the Will Rogers Theatre on Western Avenue.

Special guests included state leaders such as Speaker Charles McCall, state Senator Michael Brooks, former Reps. Joe Dorman from the Institute for Child Advocacy and numerous current and past Oklahoma legislators. The event was a 60th birthday party roast of Come Up board member Fount Holland.

Executive Director Emmanuel Rivera led off the night roasting Holland, whom he previously trained in his weight loss journey.

Other roasters included Corporation Commissioner Todd Hiett, Representative Bob Ed Culver, Chickasaw Nation legislator Lisa Billy and former Rep. Trebor Worthen, now Chief of Staff to Attorney General Gentner Drummond. Board member Matt Parker was master of ceremonies.

FOP sponsors The Come Up Kids

The Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police donated $5,000 to the The Come Up Foundation. The check was presented to Emmanuel “El Punisher” Rivera by FOP president Mark Nelson.

Rivera said the police make “tremendous role models” in underserved neighborhoods.

“We want kids to trust and respect the police and see all the great things they do,” Rivera said.

WWLS The Sports Animal Airs One Hour MMA Shows With “El Punisher”

Already featured as the MMA analyst on the Matt Meyers show on Saturdays, Rivera now has a one-hour show on WWLS-FM at 6 p.m. twice a month on Saturdays.

The Sports Animal also promotes The Come Up in a series of PSAs.

Rivera has a long history with The Sports Animal. He started working there 13 years ago as a behind-the-scenes technician for the late Bob Berry, Jr. and others. Berry first featured Rivera on-air to talk about mixed martial arts.

OKC Firefighters Local 157 Buys Gloves for The Come Up Kids

The Oklahoma City Firefighters Local 157 donated $2500 to purchase gloves for The Come Up Kids.

“One of our biggest challenges is keeping gloves and shin guards,” program director and founder Carl Belford said.

KWTV Channel 9 Features The Come Up with Homeless Students

Channel 9 News featured The Come Up Foundation and staff teaching martial arts weekly in a school for homeless kids, Positive Tomorrows.

Positive Tomorrows CEO and President Margaret Creighton said structured classes where kids learn new skills are important, and martial arts in particular preaches values of self-control and confidence while learning self-defense.

“We’re making sure they get these normal childhood experiences,” Creighton said.

The Come Up Executive Director Emmanuel Rivera said life brings tough challenges, and when you “train something like this, you realize you can do tough things and get through them.”