MMA trainer’s son opens up about their strained relationship on Ru Paul’s Drag race

In a recent episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, contestant Sapphira Cristál opened up about his life. He talked about his strained relationship with his late father, Saul Soliz.

Saul Soliz was an American mixed martial arts trainer who lived from 1965 until August 2021. After arranging unofficial cage matches for a while, Soliz contributed to the creation of the MMA regulations in Texas.

Talking about his father, Sapphira Cristál said: “My dad was a trainer for the UFC. My dad is also Saul Soliz. He is known as the Godfather of Texas MMA.”

Yet, his journey to self-discovery and acceptance wasn’t met with immediate enthusiasm from him. He said: “When he found out I was gay, he was very not happy. We didn’t talk for a while because he had like so many things to say, and they weren’t ‘I support you.'”

Sapphira bravely confronted his father, illustrating the emotional turmoil of that moment. She said: “He did not like that I did drag and told my mom that the worst thing that a father could hear about their child is that their son is gay. And my mom said, ‘Well, you need to get your priorities straight because the worst thing I could hear about my son is that he’s dead.'”

This heart-wrenching exchange led Sapphira to make a tough decision – to distance himself from his family. “You have a problem with me; I will give you the opportunity to see how it is to not be around me. I won’t talk to you. I won’t call you. I won’t come around for a good long time.”

This emotional stand proved pivotal in their relationship. After a period of estrangement, Saul Soliz attended one of Sapphira’s shows in May. The joy in his eyes was unmistakable.

“You couldn’t take the smile off his face. And it was just so frickin amazing to see him so excited about what I was doing.” The acceptance and pride emanating from her father were beyond words.

Even more heartwarming was Saul’s question to his son, “Why aren’t you on that Drag Race show?”

Sapphira’s connection with her father was profound, even though they were not biologically related. His father loved him, nevertheless.

He said: “I am not my dad’s biological son, but he chose to raise me that way. He never said, ‘This is my step son, he said this is my son. And that love stays with me everyday.'”

However, fate dealt a cruel hand. Saul Soliz passed away in 2021. Sapphira reflects on the missed opportunity to express his feelings.

“He died of COVID. He called me before he went on the ventilator, and I was asleep. I missed the call.”

“And there’s like one thing that I’m really like sad about is because I didn’t get to hear like talk to him and tell him, like, how much I really, like, love him. He was, like, my best friend when I was a baby.”

“The one thing that makes me so sad is that I never got that much time with my dad after we made up. And he saw what drag could be.”

The late Saul Soliz also coached UFC and Pride FC champions, including as Tito Ortiz, Ricco Rodriguez, and Cris Cyborg. He was known as the “Godfather of Texas MMA.”