30 Jul [MMA] 
Ricardo Lamas experienced an ordeal trying to find 'Cilantro,' his African grey parrot that flew away

Ricardo Lamas has plenty to worry about, but things got even more hectic for him this summer.

The long-time UFC featherweight is a father and a husband, owns and runs a UFC gym in Chicago, and teaches wrestling and MMA on top of being a full-time professional fighter. Lamas’ schedule can be quite busy as you might imagine. And last month, things got wild after the disappearance of a close friend.

Lamas (19-8 MMA, 10-6 UFC) saw his good friend ‘Cilantro,’ a Congo African grey parrot, fly away, not knowing if he’d ever see him again.

“During the summer, I have an outside cage for her, and African birds are one-person birds. They answer to one person, so they’re very comfortable with one person only pretty much, and that’s me,” Lamas told MMA Junkie Radio.

“I put her outside in the day, and I bring her in at night. So it was like, June 19, I’m outside and for some stupid reason I had a stick in my hand. I had her on my hand, and if I have her on my hand, she never flies away. So I’m trying to get her to perch on the stick. I don’t know why, just being an idiot because I don’t really do that, and she gets scared of the stick and takes off and flies away.”

Lamas immediately chased ‘Cilantro’ but was unable to catch her. That’s when the three-day Odyssey began, which involved his neighbors, friends, family, and even the fire department.

“She was gone, and I was walking around my neighborhood like an idiot whistling and making all these noises,” Lamas recalled. “I ended up locating her three times, but she was so high up in a tree I couldn’t get to her.

“The second time I located her, my brother tried to help me, and we called the fire department. The fire department came out with a truck, put me on the truck with a helmet on and everything. I had the whole neighborhood out there watching me, and it was too loud, and when we caught up to her she got spooked and flew out again.

“The last time I ended up finding her she was like 40 feet up in a tree, so I went home and read that if you put the cage down by the tree she might see it and go down. If she’s able to recognize it, she comes down and gets in the cage on her own. So my brother is watching her, and she was nearby my house, not far at all. I went to my house to grab her cage, and while I was gone she decided to fly away.”

Things looked grim for Lamas’ chances of retrieving ‘Cilantro,’ but strangers and the beauty of Facebook turned his luck around.

“So she flew four miles away after that and I guess got so tired she landed in someone’s back patio,” Lamas explained. ‘They knew she wasn’t a regular bird, so they called some friends, and they managed to get her in a cage, and they set it on a neighborhood app. I had already posted about it on Facebook, so they actually got back to me through my sister-in-law and got her back. If you lose a bird, it’s very rare to get them back. So she went around the hood, experienced life out there for a while, and now she’s back.”

Lamas’ experience turned out to be quite a story for the local fire department and his neighborhood. ‘Cilantro’ now has street cred.

“I didn’t even think they were going to come, and one firefighter pulled up in a pick-up truck, he got on the radio, and the the big fire truck came,” Lamas said. “I was like, ‘Holy sh*t.’ And the guys were actually super cool about it. They were joking around saying, ‘This is call of the year,’ and I was embarrassed as hell because my whole neighborhood was out.

“My whole neighborhood knew I lost my bird, so everyone was always walking around looking in the trees for me and asking me if I had found the bird because at night I had a miner flashlight that you put on your head, and I’m like looking through the trees and everything. I’m just glad I got my bird back, because I love that bird.”

Lamas can now rest easy and direct his focus to Aug. 29. The 38-year-old is scheduled to take on Ryan Hall in a 145-pound contest at UFC on ESPN+ 34 in Las Vegas.