If you have only men – who will only come – if they know there is a good road – I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all”
– Dr. David Livingstone
Allow me to set the scene a little. A smidgen of stage direction once again. It’s May 2017. We’re on the doorstep of a season of big fight cards across many promotions and the promise of BAMMA29 in Birmingham is a pleasant aroma in the warming summer air.
So there’s a Kid. A kid with a big name making his debut in the Lightweight division. Big reputation from a big gym. Lights, Camera, Action. He’s expected to announce himself in no uncertain terms to the professional ranks.
Only trouble is this Kid’s name ain’t David Khalsa and David ‘Demolition man’ Khalsa wasn’t of a mind to read from the auto-cue on the 12th of May 2017.
A poet might describe how events unfolded thus – two fighters were left with two very different fragrances of the same summer air.
” It was mental. Cian Cowley rocked up with about 10 people and like a camera crew. I was across from him during the press and weigh in with just me and my coach”
Khalsa was also making his BAMMA debut in that fight, so what he did subsequently is even more remarkable. 2 1/2 minutes into round 1 he submitted Cian Cowley in a well executed rear naked choke. No fuss. No drama. No Hype. A career was on it’s merry way.
The win brought more to him than the pay check i suspect though. To win so early in one’s pro career in such circumstances brings additional benefits with increased levels of confidence being the biggest. Confidence with a Capital C.
To come through a fight that had more than a little heat against a hyped opponent is huge especially on a debut. Calmness and clinical execution under the gun. A not insignificant weapon to have in your arsenal. One to be used and returned to well into the future.
” There was a lot of hype on that fight. I just tried to keep calm and not get drawn into it and focus on my game plan”
David fights out of the Russell Perks Martial Arts Academy in Kidderminster and Russell acts as his head coach. David has been involved with MMA for about 6 years and he also has the benefits of his twin brother Michael in his corner. It’s an up and coming gym but probably small in comparison to the SBG in Ireland which was what was in the opposite corner that night. The win gave everyone a boost I imagine in terms of what they are doing and how they are preparing for Big fights on big Cards.
You often hear Conor Mcgregor saying celebrate your surroundings and David Khalsa certainly celebrates his.
David’s next opponent is Charlie Howard who himself is making his BAMMA debut. It takes place this Friday in London on the BAMMA31 card. Khalsa will be facing a different kind of pressure in this fight. The pressure of favoritism. However if he manages to justify it the rewards could well be great in terms of catapulting himself up the rankings and closer to a main event slot.
” I think Charlie is 13 -3 as an amateur and a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu. From what I’ve seen he has quite a cocky style”
David himself had a 6-1 record from his amateur career in the Battle Arena. It was from here his coach Russell and joint managers Chris Emmanuel and James Price encouraged him to pursue a crack at the pro ranks. I have to say that in my dealings with Chris he is realistic in his ambitions for his fighters and promotes theirs best interests. And to secure a 5 fight contract was not an insignificant achievement for all involved i’m sure.
David isn’t a trash talker in the face of opponents and says if he can avoid it he will. He goes about his business in a hard working and straightforward manner. But if some opponent were to start shooting his mouth off in the future he’d
”Fire shots back’
As stated earlier David is on a 5 fight deal with BAMMA and i have to say i like that BAMMA seem willing and able to hand out long term contracts like this to nascent professionals entering the paid ranks. As Cian Cowley found out anything and everything can happen on a debut and indeed I still feel Cian will come back stronger in his next fight. The security of a substantial fight deal allows the fighter time to recover.
David has about 10 individual sponsors that offer a range of services, products and Fight gear that any professional athlete would require. This along with his BAMMA contract allows him to concentrate 100% of his attention on preparing for his fights.
What I like about talking to Khalsa is that his goal settings are both Long term ambitious but short term Practical. For instance when i asked him about what his goals were for the reminder of the 4 fights in BAMMA he said
” I want to first make it on to a main event card and then hopefully by fight 5 be fighting for the Featherweight title but i know that i have to work hard and earn it”
David has decided to drop to featherweight from lightweight as he feels with the 24 hour weigh in rule and now almost scientific re-hydration process this division will actually suit his body type better. His walking around weight during fight camp is normally only 3/4 kgs above the featherweight limit anyway.
”’I wouldn’t be one to subscribe to 20 and 25 lb weight drops. I’m comfortable that the drop to Featherweight will suit me better with out risk”
Khalsa has the wider support of his Fiancee Tashy Jackson and sons Emerson, Kye and Riley. Indeed he credits Tashy as being an integral part of his team helping with the nutrition and she handles most of, if not all of, the all important social media element of his fight game.
” If it was left to me nothing would get posted on social media. But if your not active on social media as a fighter your doing yourself a huge disservice….Tashy’s ace at that stuff…..She’s just ace, ace..she helps me a lot..”
Roughly translated ‘Ace’ is also fighter speak for I love you i think 😉
Enjoyed the Action Folks.