Tyson Nam: “I would rather be lucky than good”


When Tyson Nam knocked out Eduardo Dantas in late August, many pundits called it a lucky punch. Nam was a considerable underdog to the world-ranked Dantas and was not supposed to put up a competitive fight. This was merely a money fight, something to tide the champion over. Bellator had already booked the champion for a November tilt and had full confidence their champion would impress.

Dantas was supposed to pick up a big victory in front of his home town fans, maybe even a highlight reel knockout. But one punch, lucky or otherwise, changed the narrative entirely.

The Hawaii native laughs at the idea of a lucky punch. Nam is not new to the sport, and has been training striking for 8 years. He insists the punch was anything but lucky.

“I would rather be lucky than good” laughed Name. “I’ve watched the fight 10 to 20 times. I don’t think it was lucky. I put myself in the perfect place at the perfect time to land that shot. My eyes were wide open when I threw the punch.”

It was a win Nam’s not likely to forget. Dantas is unquestionable the most recognizable talent on Nam’s win list and the win was the most exciting of his career.

“Imagine the Fourth of July fireworks setting off in your body, that’s how excited I was,” said Nam. “That’s why I had to run out of the ring.”

The 29-year-old mixed martial artist has been fighting on the American scene since 2006. Beginning his career with Icon Sport, Nam has also fought for Elite XC, Sportfight, King of the Cage, and most recently, Shooto Brazil.

With the win over Dantas, many promotions were calling for Nam’s services. Unfortunately, a previous contract with Bellator kept Nam from signing with any promotion directly following the win.

“Back 4 or 5 months ago when we signed with Bellator, we were ecstatic,” proclaimed Nam. “They wanted to sign me as an alternate in their season six bantamweight tournament. There was literally nothing for me to lose by signing with them. I was really happy when I signed with them.”

“They gave me a week’s notice. They asked me if I would step in for one of the fighters up in Canada for one of the fighters who wasn’t getting their Visa. They gave me two days to get blood work, CAT scan, all this and that, which I did. I turned it in, got it in before the deadline. The very next day they called my manager and said they were giving it back to the original fighter, which sucked because I spent over $500 out of pocket with good faith that I had this deadline to make.”

Promised a spot in season 7, Nam was released in June when the promotion opted against a bantamweight tournament. As part of his contract with the company, Bellator had the right to match any offer for an extended period of time following his release.

“Honestly when they released me, I believe it was the middle of June, I thought we were pretty much done with them,” said Nam. “They didn’t even contact me; it was basically hearsay from my manager. Bellator didn’t want anything to do with me. That’s how we took it and that’s what we thought.”

Fortunately for Nam, up-start promotion World Series of Fighting offered him a contract Bellator could not match. He will make his promotional debut in January, facing the winner of November’s Miguel Torres versus Marlon Moraes bout.

Nam holds no ill-will toward Bellator and even further, suggests that he and Dantas will have a rematch at some point.

“I’m sure down the road we probably will. It would interest me,” said Nam. “To me I feel like I’m the Bellator champion right now. He has to prove himself that he deserves a rematch with me and he has to walk that road for a few miles.”

(Photo courtesy of

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