Ray Cooper III’s season in the Professional Fighters League provided plenty of material for the highlight reel. With technical knockouts in all four of his bouts, he has emerged as the favorite to win the promotion’s 2018 welterweight tournament and the $1 million prize that comes along with it. His has been a tale of gains, inside and outside of the cage.

“I’m just happy to take care of my mom and my dad,” Cooper told Sherdog.com. “I was supposed to go to college and wrestle, and they invested in me and I ended up not going. I cost them a lot of money, [along with] sacrifices that they made for me. I’m just happy I can take care of them now and repay them for everything they did for me because they are the best parents in the world.”

Cooper’s life and his family situation have improved much in six months. Entering the PFL season, the Hawaiian was working at a local gym, making less than minimum wage and attempting to forge a successful career as a professional fighter. An active PFL schedule coupled with extraordinary success has allowed Cooper to enjoy the most lucrative year of his career.

“To fight in the PFL and having them give us five fights and making well over $100,000, it’s awesome,” he said. “It changed my life dramatically.”