Hearing difficulties are not stopping Evans living the fighting dream
5:30am Thursday 24th July 2014 in By Andy Warren, Deputy sports editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AndyWarren_
SWINDON fighter Adam Evans has faced plenty of battles during his life, but the biggest could be yet to come after signing a contract with one of the country’s leading Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) companies.
The 42-year-old has been deaf since he was 18 months old and experienced bullying during the early years of his life, as a result. This pushed Evans into taking up self-defence and martial arts at a young age.
Spells involved with judo and boxing eventually saw him switch MMA a little over three years ago, and he’s been unstoppable ever since.
The former courier gave up his job to chase his dream, putting in three-hour training sessions six times a week in a bid to get into shape to compete in the professional ranks, and his commitment has been justly reward with impressive victories in all four of his pro bouts to date.
His form saw Fusion Fighting Championships come calling with a 12-month, four-fight, contract which will allow the lightweight to compete against some of the best fighters the country has to offer, starting with his debut in Surrey on September 6.
While life has been hard at times for Evans, the problems he has faced have only pushed him to work harder to achieve his goals and he’s proud to have been offered his deal with Fusion.
“Communication has been hard for me and there has been some discrimination too, I was bullied at school and that was part of the reason I got involved in self-defence,” he said.
“I’ve been into martial arts and self-defence for a very long time but a friend of mine took me to a cage fight three years ago and it really tempted me because it had everything involved, I have a bit of background in each of those so why not train for all of them and use all my skills that way?
“I needed to sort out my weight so I did a lot of cardio to get lighter and then got involved in an amateur MMA league where I kept on learning and developing. Given my age I needed to hurry up to try and achieve my dream so I left my job and focused on fighting.
“Since I started fighting I’ve done well and I think my commitment has been a big part of it. I train three hours a day, six days a week and I make sure I eat right and eat clean.
“You have to be super fit in the cage because if you’re not you will be knocked to the floor, and I become a different person when I’m in there, you have to smash the person down to win.
“Getting this deal with Fusion is brilliant for me because it means I can fight four times a year and be really regular, they are a big company and it’s a great opportunity.”
While being deaf has presented its challenges throughout Evans’ life, he doesn’t believe it causes him too many issues when he steps into the ring.
“In the cage I don’t think it really affects me because I’m so focused, the only thing is I can’t hear the corner men shouting at me,” he said.
“When you have 10 seconds left at the end of the round I can’t hear the bell but they just bang on the floor for me.
“I don’t know what the opponents thinks of me being deaf really, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t change anything for me because I’m so focussed.”
Evans’ coach at Swindon Martial Arts Centre, Jason O’Grady, has more than 20 years’ experience in the ring himself, and was quick to heap the praise on his pupil.
“When Adam came to me he was okay technique-wise in every area but nothing special, but his commitment, determination and big heart sees him through each fight,” he said.
“Adam only knows being deaf but he doesn’t see it as a problem that he can’t hear anyone when he’s in the ring. When I fought I always liked to hear the coaches telling me what to do because being in the ring is a very lonely place.
“Adam is really alone, so he has a true heart to go in there and not be able to hear, so he deserves a lot of credit.
“I’m really glad Adam has come to me here and it’s really broadened my horizons in working with the deaf fighters, it’s a lot of fun.”
Anyone interested in getting involved with MMA can contact O’Grady by phone on 07793 321197 or email info.smaf@icloud.