by Jayson du Toit
Here is a insight into the world of Mark Hulme who is a up and coming fighter that has dedicated his life to MMA…
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KNUXX SA: What led you into MMA?
MARK: As a rowdy 15 year old teenager with only plans to party and make trouble my Father put me up for a choice between hostel and joining the Muay Thai gym down the street. I opted to join the gym and after my first lesson arrogantly decided that I will make a living out of this and be the greatest. It was there where I met a great mentor and the current undisputed feather weight champion of EFC Africa, Demarte Pena. He taught me the basics of how to survive on the ground and turned my very one dimensional fighting style to somewhat of an MMA game. Needless to say, being at 16yrs of age and still wet behind the ears, I jumped at the first opportunity I got for a fight. It was at light heavy weight (yes I was quite big boned) in the adult division and I won it the first round. That was the first step of a journey of a thousand miles.
KNUXX SA: FFM has a close brotherhood, tell us what it is like to train in the shark tank.
MARK: Every day is a fight for survival, from waking up with a sore body and going to bed even more broken. The next day only to find guys like Garreth Mclellan, Martin van Staden, Demarte Pena, Boyd Allen, Rich Quan and Normal Wessels staring into your soul, waiting for that one moment of weakness to exploit it and take full advantage because on the mat every moment is like a fight. Thus I have learned – If you are the weakest link in the gym, you will get preyed on. So I work extra hard every session to catch up and constantly improving to ensure that I am not the prey. That being said when we get off the mat, they are truly my brothers and we’ll do anything to help each other. So, when fight night comes we are the one’s doing the hunting and all our opponent can do is to try and survive.
KNUXX SA: Sources tell me that leading up to a fight you go into more than a zone, you go to a dark place, an angry place. When everybody de loads in fight week you push harder and stay longer. Where so you go in your mind and how does that help you?
MARK: Fighting is my life, it is what I have chosen to do and I will do anything to protect that. Nobody will take it from me. So leading up to a fight I prepare myself mentally as I have been preparing myself physically. I come to a point where I have to make a choice. When someone decides to stand opposite me in the cage they have made a choice to try and take my manhood, my life and everything that I stand for. So in my mind I’m preparing myself to do whatever it takes to win. I’m willing to go over the edge and I don’t care if I come back. This person has challenged me and in that moment my sole purpose in life is to beat him, make him submit to me and ultimately letting him make that choice not to be there anymore. I don’t go into a zone or a dark place I just make my intentions clear and whoever steps over that line better be ready because I’m willing to do anything to win. How far will they go?
KNUXX SA: You have committed intensely to MMA so much so that you have made a home in the gym. Has living in the gym sharpened your focus and was it a necessary accommodation or has it contributed to your dedication?
MARK: It was a necessary move because anyone in the right mind who wants to take this sport to the next level must train with the best even if that means living in the gym, training six days a week. It’s not easy living in the gym with people coming in at 5am in the morning and only leaving around 8pm in the evening. Making almost all my food in a microwave oven, and barely seeing my family but it’s a choice that I made and I will live with it. This is the reason why I fight – to make a living and if you get in that cage you are trying to take this from me. To you this might be a game, hobby or something fun that you do, to me it’s my life and I will protect it at all cost.
KNUXX SA: How has moving to Fight Fit Militia changed you as a fighter?
MARK: I was only turned into a fighter since I have been at FFM. Before I was just someone with a lot of heart and a strong will to win. I owe my life to FFM who has turned me from a boy into a man. They have taught me to stand for what I believe in. They have changed my mentality towards fighting completely and they have given me a whole arsenal of weapons to choose from in my fights. Before I used to climb in there and just took it as it came making a lot of dumb mistakes and risking a lot. Now I know what I want to do, when I go in there I go in with clear goals and intentions.
KNUXX SA: I have heard that you have a close bond with Norman Wessels…tell us more about that.
MARK: Moving there when I was still a boy Chef mentored and guided me into the right direction. He and Rich taught me how I could make a living for myself and become a man who provides for himself. They are the two best mentors that I could ask for someone to really look up to. When things get tuff in my personal life or at the gym they are there to lend an ear and give me sound advice as they are experienced in life and wise beyond their years.
KNUXX SA: What are your future plans and when do you plan on moving to EFC Africa?
MARK: I have set a goal to reach 20 amateur fights before I go pro and turn 19. I’m currently on 16 fights with 14 wins and 2 losses. I have 4 more to go before the end of the year and then I will most probably be going pro next year. A big up to all my followers on Twitter (@7markie_mark) and Facebook and especially my parents for all the support and hours of drama. Ps. I’m always up for a chat after fights or at promotions so don’t be shy come say Hi.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Lord for guiding protecting me on my journey.
I would further like to thank Full Contact Nutrition for sponsoring me with great supplements that keeps me going.
Lastly I want to thank my gym FFM, my lead coach Rich Quan (best in the business), Chef and all my team mates.
Any new sponsors interested in contributing to my future can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.