By Maj. Tony MayneAugust 28, 2016
Former 2d Ranger Battalion veteran Mikhail Venikov continue to live a life devoted to the principles of the Ranger Creed following his passion in mixed martial arts and establishing Ranger Road, an active duty and transition not for profit designed to bringing veterans and civilians together through extraordinary sports adventure experiences to assist in the transition process to civilian life.
A native of Kazakhstan, Venikov's service in the 75th Ranger Regiment was defined by stellar accomplishment rooted in small unit leadership that included three combat tours. He was named Honor Graduate and Sgt Maj. Robert Spencer Enlisted Leadership Award recipient of his U.S. Army Ranger School class. In 2006, Mikhail and his partner Sgt. 1st Class John Sheaffer won the prestigious and physically demanding Army Best Ranger Competition.
After completing his Army enlistment, Venikov graduated from the Sacramento Sheriff's Academy and was hired by the San Mateo Police Department where he eventually joined the city's SWAT team. After jointing the SWAT team, a chance engagement with MMA legend Urijah Faber led to Venikov's dedication to become a professional MMA fighter with Team Alpha Male.
The popularity of MMA within the military community provided Venikov a platform to launch Ranger Road. Since its inception Ranger Road has provided opportunities for active duty and veterans to participate in a variety of high adrenaline activities such as skydiving, wake boarding, and MMA training. The events are provided at low and no cost.
"We believe that the brotherhood and camaraderie found in the military is unparalleled in the civilian world," Venikov said. "We've learned that being amongst our brothers and sisters is better than any therapy and brings out the best in us and everything we do. We are here to lead the way."
Venikov is actively pursuing a partnership with the United States Special Operations Command Care Coalition. The Care Coalition servesspecial operations forces wounded, ill, or injured service members and their families by, through, and with government and non-government organizations such as Ranger Road. Venikov is excited for the opportunity to continue to serve the special operations community.
"We are all stronger together," Venikov said.
Read more about Venikov and Ranger Road at http://www.rangerroad.org/.
Disclaimer: This article is not a Department of Defense or 75th Ranger Regiment endorsement of Ranger Road, NFP.