Meet the young men in Cardiff fighting homelessness and addiction through mixed martial arts

  • ITV Wales journalist Issa Farfour reports

A young man from Cardiff wants to show other people like him that they can break the cycle of addiction and build a better future.

Mason Rodericks had a difficult start in life. He lost his mother to drug addiction, something many of his family have struggled with.

He bounced around foster homes as a child, eventually graduating to hostels when he came out of the care system as a young adult.

He began to use drugs himself, before a youth worker referred him to the fighting homelessness service, which uses boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) to help vulnerable people.

Since then Mason hasn't missed a session, getting a bronze medal in jujitsu last year, and has now made his MMA debut.

He said: "I can't believe it's happening really.

"I've never felt better, I feel healthier than I've ever been in my life."

Mason says that he was bullied as a child and never had a stable home, which could have left him choosing a very different path in life.

"I lived my life very on the edge," he said. "I was doing what I wanted, not caring for anything but myself, and then when I got into martial arts it showed me that you've got to show a certain amount of discipline to get where you want to be."

Robert Green, who runs the fighting homelessness service, says Mason can be an inspiration to other young people in his situation.

He said: "He's the first one to break the mould, so other young people will see him and now know that it's realistic to achieve these kind of goals."

Mason's come away from his experiences with one overwhelming feeling "The grass ain't greener on the other side, it's greener where you grow it."

Need help with substance misuse?

If you or someone you know is affected by the issues raised in this article, the following charities offer support:

  • Action of Addiction works across all areas of treatment, research, family support and professional education - 0300 330 0659

  • Frank offers confidential advice and information about drugs, their effects and the law - 0300 123 6600

  • Narcotics Anonymous offers support for anyone who wants to stop using drugs - 0300 999 1212

  • Release offers free and confidential advice about drugs and the law on its helpline on 020 7324 2989 or email:

  • We Are With You supports people with drug, alcohol or mental health problems, and their friends and family

  • The UK Addiction Treatment Group offers free online information and guidance for prescription drug addiction as well as a 24/7 confidential helpline on 0808 274 8029.

  • You can also discuss addiction issues with your GP or call 999 in an emergency

Back to top

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…