Marlon Vera will have a new look heading into his next fight.
When Vera steps into the octagon with Cory Sandhagen on Feb. 18 to compete in the bantamweight main event of UFC Vegas 69, he’ll sport a back tattoo from famed Los Angeles-based artist Mister Cartoon.
Given Mister Cartoon’s expertise, notoriety, and cost — he reportedly charged hip-hop legend Eminem $50,000 for his work once, according to Variety — “Chito” was blown away that he was able to have a piece done by the artist.
“He tattooed some pretty heavy names back in the day,” Vera said on The MMA Hour. “Not just big names, big names at their prime. Eminem, when he was blowing up in the whole entire world, Mr. Cartoon did his tattoos. Eminem would say in interviews, ‘I only get tattoo’d by Cartoon because you can’t afford it.’ He would say that in a video to the world and I’m like, ‘Holy s***, that guy did my whole entire back.’”
Vera did not mention what he paid for the artwork, but the highly detailed tattoo must have cost him a pretty penny as it includes several important references to his life.
To say that he is thrilled with the piece would be an understatement.
“It’s a big rooster in the middle that represents the fighting and me growing up going to the rooster fights with my grandfather when I was a little kid, and my father,” Vera said. “The crazy environment I got to live in. There’s a sign of the town I was born, which is Chone, it says, ‘Welcome to Chone.’ There’s orange trees because it’s called the ‘City of Orange’ where I was born because there’s orange trees everywhere, and there’s a road that goes around my lower back and then you start seeing buildings, a clown mask — which is Cartoon’s specialty — and a woman behind the clown. The clown part is me doing all the crazy s*** to be where I am. The woman in the back is the lady that pushed me to be the man I am today. It’s little things like that, and there’s a sign up the street of the first house I bought.
“Then he just put clouds and lights around the whole thing, that’s kind of what he’s famous for. Those beautiful f****** lights coming down, clouds and s***. I love it. Ten out of 10 back piece.”
Fortunately for Vera, he’s kept his bank account healthy during his UFC run, fighting no less than two times a year since 2016 and scoring $50,000 fight night bonuses in six of his past eight fights.
It’s no surprise than that Vera isn’t finished inking up his body.
“I have my whole stomach available,” Vera said. “My boy Bert Krak, which is my homie from New York that did both sides of the back of my head, he’s going to do the top of my head the next time I come to New York. Then I’ve got some spots in the leg. My arms are pretty much done. I’m going to get my knuckles at some point. I’ve got some space.”