I first started reading the “Diary of a Fighter” series on MMASucka.com last summer while in preparation for my first amateur fight. The fighter I was reading up on was Nathan Swayze. A well established amateur fighter whom I had met, and faced at the Tiger Balm Pankration Tournament. At the time, Nathan was on the verge of turning pro and headlining the event for which I was training. At the last minute his opponent, Jer Kornelson dropped out of the fight due to an unfortunate training injury. After searching for a replacement I was contacted by the promoter about stepping up for the main event. On short notice, this turn of events catapulted me in both weight class and competition. Young and green, I didn’t really take my training seriously. A few sessions on the mats and a camping trip later I felt ready to fight, or so I thought. Although I was a relative unknown, I couldn’t understand why I was labelled the underdog; I had beaten him in pankration and obviously full punching couldn’t get in the way of me taking it to the ground. How wrong I was. The fight started and before I knew it Nathan was introducing his hand to my temple, dropping me like a sack of potatoes. He continued to pummel me until an unsuccessful choke allowed me to struggle to my feet, where I was quickly dropped again. Somehow, this all happened in the first 3 minutes. The second round started and I remembered that as a wrestler, I should wrestle. I took him down and managed to secure an arm bar to finish the fight. I learned a few good lessons from the fight: I can take a punch, and I needed to learn how to fight.
Since then, I’ve been climbing the ranks in Battlefield Fight league. In October I had a first round victory over Andre DaSilva, a monster 185 pound Capoera fighter from Brazil, and a recent loss at a 175 pound catch-weight fight in the main event of BFL 6 against the seasoned Matt Dwyer. The weight cut was brutal, but wasn’t the reason for me losing. Matt showed me that my game has a lot of room for improvement, both standing and on the ground. Improvements I plan to make on my road to the pros.
Joining West Coast BJJ has made all the difference in making the transition from a very unconventional wrestler with a few submissions learned on youtube, to a developing young fighter. I’m not saying I’m ready to have a stand up battle, but I am getting there with the help of all the great guys at West Coast. We now have a MMA program under the tutelage of pro fighter Shawn Albrecht, with training sessions every morning at 6am and every afternoon. Commitment to full-time training forces young fighters to make many sacrifices in their pursuits. For instance I live in a tiny one bedroom basement suite, and when I say tiny I mean tiny. My bedroom just fits my bed, my living-room is a hallway, and the ceiling in isn’t tall enough for me to stand upright in some places. Now add to this that I have TWO people living on my couch, both of them fighters and fellow Burnaby mountain wrestlers: Daniel Swain (3-0) pro and Jake Lindell (3-0) amateur. Welcome to my mini Ultimate Fighter house, all the bang with none of the space. Regardless, we are all willing to give up a lot so we can dedicate ourselves to our training.
So that’s it. That’s the background to the beginning of my journey on becoming a professional in the sport of mixed martial arts. I will be updating this blog every couple of weeks, giving you guys a heads up on my progress and on the inevitable setbacks that come with a sport like MMA. As it stands, my next fight is coming up on May 28th at BFL8 in Nanaimo against the fighter I replaced in my first fight against Nathan, Jer “The Jerk” Kornelson. The winner fights for the vacant amateur 185lbs title against Justin Lansing. I plan on winning this title and defending it once before making the jump to the professional ranks. First step: Beat Kornelson.
Thank you to all my friends, coaches and teammates who make all of this possible. And also a big thanks to my sponsors. Tapout Canada, Dominant Ground, Klench kustom mouthguards, Passion Sports, Fine Art Bartending and Reflex on Kingsway. Also, check out www.kombatnation.com.