Most people take things slow in the fight-game. They train for a year or so, then have some amateur fights, maybe change gyms and then maybe…in the rare instance that they can break the monotony and social stigmas around them, they go professional.
I dove head-first into professional combat sports. Training for a few months before my Thai Boxing debut in Phuket,Thailand and that lack of experience and know-how showing in the ring. I fought an Australian , Taizo Hughes, who had several fights at local stadiums and was from a pretty hardcore gym. Taizo battered me for the first three rounds of our fight. Leg kicks, head kicks, hooks…its was a massacre. Both of my eyes were swollen shut and my nose trickling blood down my throat, which I have to say wasn’t the most pleasant of tastes. The fourth round
begins and I notice Taizo is starting to tire and I…being the naïve seventeen year old I was at the time decided to throw a spinning back-fist.
Guess what? It landed.
Taizo was knocked down and got up after an eight count but I knew the fight was over as I chased him to a corner and the referee stopped the bout due to “Technical Knock Out”.
Why was that story necessary? Because at the end of those three rounds of getting my ass beat, I was happier than I’d ever been. Standing half-naked and sweaty infront of a crowd of people I’d never met, all of them judging my poor technique and wondering why I hadn’t gone down yet. Covered in blood and sweat…I had finally found my calling. So why do I fight ? Is it because I have family problems or because I was bullied in school? Is it because I’m too stupid to get a desk job or go to college?
I don’t know to be quite honest. I think its because there’s something inherently wrong with the way I function. My brain works differently. I like getting punched in the fucking face and I like smiling at the guy who’s doing it. I like pushing myself in training to the brink of unconsciousness and then doing it again the next day.
Lots of people I know who are involved with combat sports from boxing to Mixed Martial Arts insist on calling themselves Martial Artists or “students of the game”. As pretentious and crazy as it sounds… I am not a martial artist or a student of any game. I’m a crazy person who learns how to hit people different ways and then goes does it and gets paid.
Why do I like to make my living from getting punched in the face?
I’ll tell you why. Because everyone said I couldn’t do it. They said I was crazy and that one day I’d have to get a real job. I think I don’t fight for the right reasons, or ones that entirely make sense but I do know that nothing has ever made me happier than staring across the ring at someone, blood smeared face and smiling. Letting them know that you’re coming and not done getting your face beat just yet.
While this was supposed to be an informative article for Mixed Martial Arts Pakistan , I think its turned into a confessional.
My name is Haider Qayyum, I’m a professional fighter and I like punching things.