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Finding his way through MMA

INTENSE: The 30-year-old Londoner in action

HAVING NOT yet completed a full three rounds in his seven mixed martial arts (MMA) contests, Bola Omoyele brings an air of excitement whenever he steps into the octagon.

The 30-year-old welterweight – who has an MMA record of six wins (five KOs, one submission) and one loss to his name – is scheduled to compete on the main card of the BAMMA (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) 12 bill against Wayne Murrie at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on March 9.

But life was not always so auspicious for the Londoner. Admittedly on the wrong path, Omoyele had spent time in prison but an advertisement was the catalyst for his upwards trajectory.

Recollecting on how he began MMA, Omoyele told the Voice of Sport: “MMA came around by accident. It’s a weird story. I was on holiday in Atlanta and I was oblivious to MMA. It was September 2008 and I was at a shopping mall and I saw an advertisement of now I know to be Rashad Evans and Chuck Liddell. It was an advertisement showing UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) 88 and I wasn’t aware of what it was. I thought it was a street fight or WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).

“I went that night and that was it, I fell in love with it from then.”

Combat sports have a well-documented history of changing lives for the better, and Omoyele was grateful that he found his calling and wants to inspire the next generation of youngsters.

“I want to show people that no matter what you’ve been through or what you’ve done, there’s always something out there for you to do,” he said. “My goal is to get as far in MMA as possible and inspire a lot of the youths out there. It might not inspire them to do what I’m doing but could inspire them to do what they want to do.”


GRATEFUL: Omoyele

Omoyele is perhaps best known for appearing on the UFC’s reality television programme that aired on ESPN in September; The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, which pitted Australian and British lightweights and welterweights against each other with the winners of each weight category earning a contract with MMA’s premier organisation.

However, he was eliminated from the show after being submitted in the first round of his first contest against Manny Rodriguez.

Nevertheless, as Omoyele explains, that defeat has reignited his hunger.

“Now I feel like I’m back to square one. I feel like I’ve got a point to prove,” said the fighter of Nigerian heritage.

“Me and the contestants were apart of a once in a lifetime opportunity and everybody took it. Really and truly it takes eight to 10 weeks to get ready to face a proper fighter. And the show was way different. The preparation was not the same. Now I’m on BAMMA I can prepare myself and do what I need to do.”

Omoyele trains Stateside with the American Top Team in Miami, Florida, whose roaster boasts a who’s who of MMA, and he believes that training at the facility already gives him an advantage over his opponents.

“It’s just a different level. The sparring is more intense, everything is more intense and the reason being is because you’re training against people that are world-class in the individual aspects of the game and as a whole.

“That means you’re going to go in deep waters and pushed harder in training.

“Mentally, once I’ve finished my training camp here, it makes me go into any fight thinking ‘what can my opponent possibly bring that I haven’t seen already?’ which I know for a fact is nothing.”

*BAMMA 12 comes to Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena on March 9 and will be broadcast live on Channel 5*. BAMMA is brought to you in association with Lonsdale, Ladbrokes and Safe MMA.

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