© Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Brad Campbell (left) spars with teammate Ryan Rohovich during a recent training session at LDP Martial Arts in Prince Albert.
Some people have famously referred to mixed martial arts as “human cockfighting” but Brad Campbell sees it a little differently.
The 19-year-old fighter will be making his MMA debut next week at the Hard Knocks Fighting Championship card at the Art Hauser Centre on July 19.
He looks at fighting in an almost mystical way.
“It’s an art form, a form of expression, an exchange between two energies, one person and another,” he says. “You don’t really know what it feels like until you’ve actually been in there.
“You get to this place where you stop thinking and your body takes over. It’s something else.”
Campbell started training in the martial arts when he was in elementary school but began to take the sport seriously about a year ago.
The incremental increases in his ability quickly got him hooked.
“It was self-improvement more than anything,” he says. “Inch by inch I could feel myself getting better. I used that as momentum and it kept drawing me back.”
And what changed the most?
“I don’t feel like a sitting duck any more; I move like water now,” he says with a laugh.
Campbell’s instructor at LDP Martial Arts, Lucian Phillips, likes his student’s chances.
“He’s really intelligent in his movement and his striking,” Phillips says. “He picks his spots; he doesn’t swing blindly. He’s more of a thinking fighter rather than an aggressive just go out fighter.”
Campbell considers himself a striker, specifically with his legs.
You won’t hear him complaining about the School of Hard Knocks 26 show being in Prince Albert in front of a large group of friends and family.
“I love it,” he says. “This will be my first cage fight but it’s my hometown so I figure I might as well have a good show.”
Campbell is slated to face Jordan Cooke (0-1) of Saskatoon in a 145-pound amateur bout.
“I think that I’ve pretty well killed the nerves,” he says. “I don’t feel nervous about it; I have a different mindset on it. I don’t treat it as a fight, it’s just going to be another person that I’m sparring with.”
The event starts at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 for children, $46.50 for general admission and $155 for an advance VIP reserved seat.
The 17 scheduled bouts include three rounds of three minutes each.