Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Exmouth mixed martial arts ace Craig White is busy preparing for his next big contest, one that will be televised to a world wide audience, writes Steve Birley.
The 24-year-old has been doing mixed martial arts (MMA) since he was 16. before that he had been doing tae kwon do for some five years during which time he landed the coveted first degree black belt.
In terms of a natural progression from tae kwon do, it was a straightforward step up into the world of MM.
White trains at the Lion’s Den MMA centre in Exeter; the Lion’s Den hosts a session in Exmouth each Thursday evening. Exmouth-based Dave Matthews is the coach responsible for the rise and rise of White in the sport which is also known in some circles as Cage Fighting, though White, like all involved in the sport, prefers to use the heading of MMA.
As with all sportsmen and women at the top of their game White has to follow a strict training regime and diet to keep himself in shape.
He works with Dave Matthews at the Marsh Barton, Exeter home of the Lion’s Den and also spends a good four hours a day each week working on MMA ring skills, general gymnasium work and cardio work.
When he is between fights, White tends to observe an ‘open’ diet. However, when a contest beckons his diet becomes what he describes as ‘clean’!
He explained saying: “I like to make sure the diet is correct so, as a fight looms I switch from the favoured chips to brown pasta! I add extra protein and carbohydrates into the diet which, on the run-up to the fight, changes gradually and also depends on the amount of weight I’m required to cut for the weigh-in.”
In MMA the weigh-in is similar to that in boxing where contestants have to make a certain weight for a day before weigh-in and can then rehydrate and eat fully again before the event to refuel.
The most recent bout for White was on the Ultimate Impact bill in Gloucester at the end of June. That was a title eliminator which he won and that set him up to fight at the same venue again in November when he will get a crack at the middleweight title.
The next engagement for White is on August 16, when he flies to Dublin to compete on the Cage Warriors bill. Cage Warriors as a brand is world renowned and the action is beamed across the world.
The Dublin appearance will be White’s fifth in the format in the past three years and his second of this year. His previous 2014 appearance with Cage Warriors was in Amman, Jordan, where he won on a technical knock-out (TKO).
In terms of sporting ambition with MMA White says: “In an ideal world I would love to reach the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). That is the top organisation in the sport. However, for the time being I am very happy to be on a show such as Cage Warriors which provides a big profile.”
Staying at the top of his sport does not come cheap and so White is indebted to a number of local companies who provide much needed sponsorship.
He would like to thank; SRS Roofing, Savage Ross Tattoos, Bodywise Gym and Chinese Acupuncture and Herbs of Exmouth for their continued support. He would also love to hear from anyone else who can help in any shape or form with sponsorship and, to that end, contact with the Exmouth MMA ace, who fights under the title of Craig ‘The Thundercat’ White, can be made by email to his coach at firstname.lastname@example.org