The captain of the national Mixed Martial Arts team, Theophilus Nelson has opened up on why he chose the sport and also what it takes to be a mixed-martial-artist
In an exclusive interview with Kobby Stone, the well-built athlete spoke of his impressions of the Ghanaian media and also called for support for the sport which he leads.
On why he chose MMA:
I chose MMA because I’m free to express myself than I am in a one dimensional combat sport like boxing and Taekwondo where you are restricted to using only one part of your body to fight.
MMA is as close to real fighting as you are ever going to get in any Combat sport. In the cage, it feels like a chess battle and that excites me
I love the challenge of learning multiple disciplines and adapting and learning differing styles to create my own style. Mixed Martial Arts is the True Warrior sport.
On adequate preparations ahead of the competition, he said :
The team is very prepared. The fighters based in Ghana have been training hard and rigorously.
Festus is travelling from London to Liverpool in 2 weeks to do a training camp with me and head coaches of the Ghanaian national team, Dean Garnett amd Phill Turner , at Aspire Combat Sports Academy, which is the International training base for the Ghana National Team.
Does the competition needs qualification to participate in?
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) host continental tournaments every few months. These continental tournaments are Open Championships. Meaning that teams from all over the World are allowed to complete in these championships. For example, Sweden and India being outside of Africa competed in these tournaments last year, with Sweden numerous medals.
These continental championships lead up to the World Championships at the end of the year in Bahrain. Teams who do well in the continental championships qualify the World’s
To compete in the continental championships you don’t need to qualify.
IMMAF hand out invitations to all nations registered with IMMAF and then we pay very expensive fees for flights, accommodation and registration to compete at these championships, which is why we need some sponsorship and financial support because we amateur MMA athletes don’t make money to fight until we go Professional. Therefore everything is funded by ourselves
On what government must do to help the sport
W don’t have any sponsorships or support from the government.
Most of the funding for sports in Ghana goes to the Ghana Black Stars and other well-known sports, so there is little funding given to lesser known sports like MMA which is a shame because we MMA athletes are amongst the most elite athletes of the World. If not the most elite.
Not many athletes can do what we do and absorb the pain we put our bodies through on a daily basis.
Living life as a Martial Artist is hard, so it will be good if we had some support for representing our people.
As previously mentioned, I and the federation are very aware that the government will not fund or support us.
We need Ghanaians to get behind us and donate. So those who can afford it, please visit www.gofundme.com/teamghanamma and donate to create history by establishing the first ever Ghanaian Mixed Martial Arts National Team.
If team Ghana excels it will qualify them for World Championships in Bahrain this coming November. I know my team are capable of winning gold, and when we do we’ll make the people of Ghana and Africa proud.
Source: Alex Kobina Stonne