I fell in love with the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) at the age of 14, after a couple of years training in kickboxing and karate at nearly all of the academies in my home town of Ashford. I initially started because, from the age of 12, I was trying to suppress some anger and depression issues, following the passing of my father. One day I downloaded a UFC video game and saw one of the skills called, “BJJ”. I didn’t know what it meant but after a friend Googled it for me, I began to search on YouTube instantly. Before I knew it, I was teaching myself the moves from the internet. I did this for almost two years, grappling my friends in random fields, as well still doing my kickboxing.
I finally discovered a local MMA gym where I could train all of the time with a coach who just so happened to be one of the most respected competitors in the country at Brown Belt -now a Black Belt. I trained at a couple of different gyms under some of the best coaches and fighters in the country and Europe, who hold National and European championships. I then captured my first English Championship in No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well as medalling in other competitions like Brighton International Open.
I won this title and medalled at other comps while training at my current gym of Silverbacks MMA, based right on my doorstep in Canterbury. They are like family now. I like to consider myself Mowgli as I grew from teenager to man under their tutelage and guidance. I owe a lot to them all and they literally are like my brothers, uncles, sisters and aunties. It’s a very unique relationship to have and is a big part of my success.
Since training under them I have expanded myself to fortunately being helped/sponsored by businesses like Supplement Centre where I am a member of their Elite Athlete Programme. They hook me up with discounted supplements and I also receive clothing and other apparel by Ceres lifestyle clothing.
As well competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, since the age of 16 I have been fighting in amateur/semi professional contests in MMA all over the country on some of the countries biggest shows. I hope to attain my first amateur MMA title or two before the end of my 2nd year at University and compete and medal in Europe, hopefully in an IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) ranked competition.
Training doesn’t particularly affect my life, it IS my life and always has been. Everything I do revolves around training, not the other way round, which makes it particularly difficult in terms of socialising and maintaining social relationships – but it’s a sacrifice. I often have to worry about what I eat but I always make time to rest as I feel it is a vital requirement in being a successful athlete that many disregard.
I feel my Sport Scholarship at CCCU really benefits me in terms of the support I receive. Not only do I have my team of coaches and training partners/friends, I now have an extra team there to focus specifically on me. I get help and advice in areas like psychology, strength and conditioning and nutrition, as well as FREE gym membership, which I always take advantage of. The scientific knowledge I am surrounded by is unbelievable.
The Sport Scholarship is super important to myself and my career but also the future of Mixed Martial Artists. I have put a huge foot in the door to getting our sport in an academic environment. I believe I could be the first in the UK to do so and am incredibly proud of this. I could not have done this without CCCU making the choice to accept me onto the Sport Scholarship Programme, adding to the diversity of sports at the University. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity, which adds to my motivation.