Words by Stewart Norriss http://bigstewbjj.wordpress.com
Special thanks to Gul Nawaz Hussain
After a training session I got the chance to sit down with the man formally known as Ross ‘Angry’ Pettifer to have a chat with the former enfant terrible of British MMA, who talks for the first time in over 5 years, to see where he has been and what he is up to now.
So Ross a lot of people just know about the leg break video, however you did a lot more than that didn’t you?
RP: Between the ages of 15 and 19 I had 18 of my 19 fights breaking into the UK top ten having suffered only two losses. I am also a blue belt in BJJ which when I received it made me at the time the youngest Blue Belt. The real high point of my MMA career was winning the Total Fight UK Pro Title against a tough opponent and current paratrooper physical training instructor Sandy Geddes. Of course there was the Rob Evans fight which many people have seen (LEG BREAK VID) and has become a bit of an internet hit.
Why did you stop fighting
RP: My relationship with the gym I was with at the time began to break down. This coupled with the fact I’d started studying at university made training so that I was fight fit very difficult. I’d also had a less than great time at the American show Hook and Shoot, which was no fault of theirs; my manager just dropped the ball. Let’s just say being at the Hook and Shoot weigh in with my corner men and another fighter only to find out at this point that I was not old enough to fight was an experience and he will never manage me again (laughs). I then started to travel to Quannum to train with Ian, Andy and Dave Butlin but the distance and lack of transport meant it was sadly unworkable. By now I had started working on the doors and was enjoying all that a steady income brought. I tried teaching at another martial arts school to supplement my income and keep my hand in but soon realised whilst I enjoyed teaching I couldn’t stand to be in a McDojo as opposed to a real school which is what I thought and believed I had joined. All of the promises that had been made to me were not followed through on and it was not a place for fighters who love the sport like me so I took me leave. In the end the toll of living and breathing MMA through my teenage years hit home and I just needed a break. So I just totally left fighting dropped off training and began to live the high life a bit.
Did you still watch and keep in touch with the scene?
RP: No I literally cut myself off from all fighting, did not watch it, talk about it or refer to it, that part of my life was in the past. I was just trying to live what I suppose everyone would describe as a “normal” life.
RP: Well in short “I am a fighter” and I had a moment where I realised that drinking, late nights and lost days were not making me happy. I guess you could say I had an epiphany and realised that all I wanted to do and had have ever wanted to do was fight. I thought about watching UFC1 and 11 and one of the first films I watched when I was 13 years old - Choke - and how I was hooked from that point. Realizing what I wanted pushed me to go out and realise my dream. The first step was to find a gym which I did; The Forge in Sheffield. The gym is run by John Goldson who recently opened with a new cage and MMA program. Walking in there was like coming home. The atmosphere of the gym, the smell, and the memories as I had previously trained with John made it feel like coming home. I was hooked again and it was as if everything fell into place. Since being back here training, team mates are always asking me about fighting just made me realise what I wanted.
Does that mean you are coming back?
RP: There is no doubt about it I am not coming back, I am back! I once got to number 8 in the UK and I have that hunger and desire to get back there and even higher. I am having a new website setup for me which is under development and due to launch before the end of the year, looking actively for sponsors, training harder than ever and am actually the fittest I have ever been. My experience of fighting as a young man, being at a full time MMA gym at the Forge with a qualified coach and as well as getting back in touch with the fight scene has really energised me. In early 2011 I hope to have my first fight and then as many as possible after that.
So are you still angry?
RP: That nickname came from a few posts on an old school and well respected MMA forum and as I can be a little intense at times so it stuck, it’s quite funny really. However I am just happy being Ross Pettifer at the moment.
From what I could tell talking to Ross he is far more focussed, centred and determined than angry and is sure to make waves in the coming months.
Ross Pettifer is available for sponsorship