Everyone remembers the horrific Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest festival event in 2017. To date, it is the deadliest mass shooting incident in the United States, killing more than 55 people and injuring hundreds more. For Las Vegas resident Ulysses Gomez, the tragedy was life-changing. No, he wasn’t in attendance at the outdoor concert; nor was he among the first responders who raced to the scene. At the time, Gomez worked as a security supervisor at a casino off the Strip and had competed professionally as a mixed martial arts athlete (MMA) in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) league. Rather, the traumatic event inspired Gomez.
He recently recalled to the Las Vegas Sun the emotions he experienced in the wake of learning of the shooting via text message: “I love Vegas. I should do more for my community for how much it has given me.”
The only way we’re going to make our community safer for everybody in the long run is if we have a better relationship.
Gomez wasted no time to act on this sentiment. Two days later, he initiated the process to become a police officer. A year later, he began his career with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, where he has been serving since 2018, most recently at the department’s South Central Area Command.
Both Gomez and his supervisor, Sergeant Kyle Frett, credit his MMA training and athletic background for how well he’s performed as a cop. Gomez wrestled in high school, began studying jiu-jitsu at 18 and fought professionally for six years, retiring with a record of 9–5, mostly on undercard fights, all of which helped him qualify as a squad defensive tactics instructor for the department.
But it’s the mental training required to compete in the octagon that most benefits Gomez on the job.
“His patience and his cool under pressure is pretty extraordinary,” Frett told the newspaper. “He doesn’t overreact or panic in most situations [and] helps calm down all the other newer officers [to make] level-headed decisions.”
“The only way we’re going to make our community safer for everybody in the long run is if we have a better relationship,” added Gomez, who told reporters that he remains purposely cognizant of how he treats the people he encounters on calls.
“For a guy who’s been punched so much in the face, he’s a very intelligent guy,” Frett joked.