The son of French-born former matador Michel Lagravere and Mexican Diana Peniche Marenco, Michelito claims to have started bullfighting at the age of five, and credits his love for the sport to being surrounded by bullfighters from an early age. His father runs a bullfighting academy in Mexico and his mother operates a string of bullrings in the Yucatán region. Being in close proximity to bullfighting from an early age helped him grow into the sport. However, not everyone in the Michelito household wanted him to become a bullfighter. His grandmother showed him gruesome bullfights on television in order to deter him from the sport when he was just four, but by then he had already joined his father's academy.
Since he first started bullfighting, he is credited to have fought 56 bulls weighing up to 500 lbs. He has been plying his trade mostly in Mexico and other Latin American countries due to the age restrictions which prevent him from fighting in Spain and also because a child bullfighter in Latin countries can earn around a hundred thousand dollars a year. The minimum age for bullfighters in Spain is 16 years.
Michelito was embroiled in a controversy recently for fighting six young bulls in a single fight in the bullring of Mérida, Mexico in a bid to get his name in the Guinness Book of World Records (24 Jan 2009). Animal right activists and child protection groups in the region had objected to such an event but a local judge ruled in its favor after reviewing licenses submitted by Michelito's father. Michelito, who was eleven at the time, fought six calves aged from one to two years old. However, the Guinness World Records said that it was not aware of such an event taking place and as such did not recognize the result. They also made it clear that the organization was against records based on killing or harming of animals.
He has also been banned from performing in many French towns after protests by the Anti-Corrida Alliance, who has been campaigning to ban children from the ring in France. They have actively targeted Michelito, who they think, always seeks to end a fight with a kill unlike other child toreros.
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- Mackey, Jeff (2009-01-27). "The PETA Files: Michelito Lagravere Peniche; World Record for Cruelty?". PETA. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- Allen, Peter (2009-01-25). "Young matador, 11, slaughters six bulls to claim a controversial place in history". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "Michelito Lagravere: Child Matador". Daily Contributor. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "Matador aged 11 kills six bulls". BBC News Online. 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- "Bullfighter, 11, Kills Six Calves". Sky News. 2009-01-25. Retrieved 2009-03-03.