REGINA – Following a disappointing loss at Saturday Night Fights Round 10, Sam King is looking to get his first professional win on May 28, at Saturday Night Fights Round 11.
When King steps in the ring at the Turvey Centre he’ll be competing by himself, but mixed martial arts (MMA) is a team sport. King’s team extends beyond the gym, and there are many people that help get him ready for fight day.
“One thing we always say down at Complete [MMA] is when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good you fight good, so that’s where this comes in,” King said in the barber’s chair at The Hair House on 13th.
King and his teammates from Complete regularly visit The Hair House where their barber, Tak, helps fulfill the “look good, feel good, fight good” mantra.
After his hair cut, King went to meet up with his friend and Saskatchewan Roughrider Plaza of Honour inductee, Scott Schultz.
“It’s good to have friends that have been [on the big stage], so if you ever have questions they’re there and they can answer it,” King explained.
“So you can go into your situation with more confidence.”
In addition to advice Schultz supplied King with some equipment that came in handy during his football days; an icing machine that takes the recovery benefits of an ice bath, and localizes it to a specific joint.
Supports like this can benefit any fighter, but one of the most important members of the team are the sponsors.
“It’s a cost in itself to be a fighter and as much help as you can get definitely benefits you,” King said.
Professional fighters are paid win or lose, but at King’s level the purse doesn’t pay the bills.
King has a number of sponsors, and in the case of his Popeye’s sponsorship, it also helps with his training and cutting weight down to 150 pounds.
“With dieting and really depleting your body it’s crucial to have supplements, so you’re getting the right amount of protein,” he explained.
Once the fight prep is complete outside the gym, it’s back to the physical work on cardio, technique, and sparring sessions.
On Saturday, King will be fighting an opponent his coach says mirrors him well, when he steps into the ring against Winnpeg’s Ryan Pang.
“He’s a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, like Sam. Their ground game is at a very high level, so it’s going to be a very competitive fight I believe,” AJ Scales said.
Pang enters the fight with a 1-0 pro record, and despite an undefeated amateur career King is 0-1 professionally.
He feels he beat himself back in November, gassing himself out trying to get a quick, highlight reel worthy knockout.
Learning from the loss, King says the audience will see a much more methodical tactician.
“Instead of searching for it, just wait for it and put myself in the position where the opportunity to finish him will appear.”