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For MFC fighter Sabah “The Persian Warrior” Fadai, the journey has just begun

Many fighters have a story to tell. Some come from nothing and achieve greatness, while others overcome seemingly insurmountable odds just to survive.

Sabah Fadai’s (7-1 MMA) journey is one of both survival and triumph, but in his eyes, the journey has only just begun.

Fadai was born in Iran, but his family fled the country due to religious persecution in the Muslim dominated country, escaping into the mountains of Turkey before eventually finding freedom in Canada in 1996.

“The Persian Warrior” is much more than just a nickname for Fadai– it’s his identity. Fadai’s goal is to become the first Persian to earn a major title in Mixed Martial Arts, and that journey begins in the MFC on October 7th.

“I’m fighting for those who are still struggling in Iran,” Fadai told ProMMAnow.com “People who want out and want to have a better life. People who want change, and people who have been in my position and have gone through what we have, understand what I’m talking about. I Want to see change and happiness in Iran!”

Fadai took some time out of his training to sit down with ProMMAnow.com‘s Denny Hodge to talk about his past, his present, and where he wants to go in MMA.

PRO MMA NOW: Tell us a little bit about your journey from being born in Iran, to teaching Muay Thai in the Phillipines, to fighting in the MFC?

SABAH FADAI: For sure it was the most unforgettable journey I have ever had and will ever have. Even this MMA journey of mine is not as crazy as the escape story! We escaped the country due to religious beliefs and to have a better and safer life in an organized environment– Canada. We escaped through the mountains into Turkey, where at one point we had to hide for a solid hour because there were patrols out with guns and those trigger happy SOBs would shoot anything that moved. It’s scary now that I think about it, but back then I was too young to understand, and I thought of it as a play ground, and actually enjoyed hiding out and climbing the mountains [laughs]. That’s why I have so much respect for my parents– risking their lives, and ours, and for making that move for us to have a better life! Although they don’t like me fighting– I highly doubt that they ever would have expected me to end up as a fighter– I am who I am, and am born to fight, and I have their support. I moved to the Philippines to study dentistry as part of a back up plan in case this MMA thing goes haywire on me. But I couldn’t be away from the sport, so I found myself an awesome gym with a great group of guys with an amazing instructor, where I trained and fought out of for four fights. DEFTAC Cebu is like a  family to me, and instructor Norman Go is my boy,  I love that guy! The MFC deal came about through my management company called Echelon Fighter Management. MFC reviewed my tape and Mr. Pavelich wanted nothing to do with me as part of the undercard so he signed me to a four 4 fight contract. I’ll have my MFC debut on October 7th at the Mayfield trade center live on HDNet, which is un-frikkin-believable!

PRO MMA NOW: With the type of past and trials that you have endured, do you feel any pressure at all when you step into the cage?

SABAH FADAI: The pressure is left behind in the locker/warmup room. I can’t carry excess luggage in the ring/cage. When I’m in there, I’m free… I’m at home. I feel safe, and I’m ready to have some fun, and NO ONE can take that away from me!

PRO MMA NOW: After signing with the MFC this summer, do you feel like the promotion is your chance to really let the North American fans see what you are really about?

SABAH FADAI: Absolutely! The MFC just signed another five year contract with HDNet, and those guys cover fights like it’s no one’s business. So yeah, after October 7th, watch my Twitter account just explode with my loyal fans [laughs]! That’s  @Sabahfadai by the way! I am already getting a lot of publicity because of it. Photo shoots, video shoots, radio/tv interviews,  and articles such as this one you know? I even have a viewing party in Vancouver on Granville street at the forum sports bar live for people who can’t make it to watch it live in person in Edmonton.

PRO MMA NOW: I know you have great ground skills, and your stand up is well documented. How about your wrestling? Is that an area you have worked on in order to be able to better dictate where the fight takes place? And, do you feel that you are one of the better well rounded 155′ers out there?

SABAH FADAI: Yeah, my stand up is my bread and butter. I love throwing punches and kicks and as crazy as it may sound, I love getting hit! But it’s more of a love/hate relationship that we have. I like it but I do everything in my power to avoid it. I completely agree with you about wrestling being very important. Wrestling is key to the MMA world. Wrestling is my weakest point and I need to work on it a lot. Right now I’m here in Montreal training at TriStar gym, which is the home of GSP for those that don’t know. I’ve been working hard on my wrestling and takedown defense. Once all these key tools for MMA have been perfected, (Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling) then that’s when you can comfortably call yourself one of the better well rounded fighters. Right now when I train with Kajan Johnson, he completely outclasses me and I hate him for it {laughs]. I’ve told him this before, and I’ll tell you guys as well, Frankie Edgar is shining and polishing Kajan’s belt every night.

PRO MMA NOW: You seem to have a very good sense of humor. Are you a guy that jokes around outside of the cage/ring, and then turns into a different guy once the door closes in the cage?

SABAH FADAI: This is a must for me! I am who I am, and I love joking around and having fun after training. But yes, being in the cage/ring or even jiu-jitsu competitions, I’m a different person. People always tell me that they don’t know that person, and quite frankly I don’t even know that person that well. But “The Persian Warrior” is a mean person, and very very focused on being the best and defeating anything that’s in front of me in the field of battle [laughs]. That was “The Persian Warrior” talking… I think! I just snapped out of it [laughs]!

PRO MMA NOW: You mentioned that you are still working to become a dentist. Your Twitter profile shows that your ultimate goal would be to knock people and their teeth out, so that you could turn around and become their dentist to fix the damage! That seems like a pretty good business plan right there!

SABAH FADAI: I’m an entrepreneur my friend! I make a business out of anything you give me, and I will make money out of it. But I will for sure give them a discount though… I have some decency in me to at least do that, considering I was the one who removed their tooth in the first place! But that rarely happens so I’m not banking off that happening [laughs].

PRO MMA NOW: With the recent success of Cain Velasquez becoming a champion in the UFC, and with him showing his pride in his heritage, the UFC has proven that marketing to the Latin market is a smart move. Being that you are of Persian descent, how important is your heritage in your everyday life both inside and outside of the ring or cage?

SABAH FADAI: This is a question that I have never been asked, and I love this question! Being Iranian is who I am, and I want to be the first Persian fighter who conquers a major world title in Mixed Martial Arts! The first and only other Persian professional MMA fighter was Reza Nasri who fought Brian Johnson in UFC 11 in 1996, the exact year that I entered Canada. He was defeated in 28 seconds by TKO and never fought again. He opened the door but closed it right behind him. He never fought again? That’s not a true fighter! A loss can only make you stronger if you are willing, and have got the heart to bounce back from it. So now I feel it’s my time and WHEN I open that door, I will put a rock by it to keep it open. I just need the support from the Persian community to help reach this goal and become world champion.

PRO MMA NOW: Mukai Maromo is your next opponent, and he is 5-2. He is listed as a Muay Thai stylist, but has a submission loss. You have finishes in all of your 6 wins. Is this something that you think about during a fight, as far as looking to finish, or are you just as happy winning a decision although that hasn’t happened in your career yet?

SABAH FADAI: Actually I do have a decision that’s not shown on my Sherdog record for some reason. I won a fight by decision. It was 2 ten minute rounds, and I could not drop this guy! But other than that the rest of the six wins were all finishes. I hate leaving my work in someone else’s hands. It’s like writing your thesis and asking someone else to hand it in for you. They might change the name on that paper, and then your hard work counts for nothing. Mukai is for sure a tough opponent, and is good at what he does. I’m sure his loss has made him motivated to train on his ground game a lot and I’m preparing for a better fighter than myself!

PRO MMA NOW: I’ve interviewed many fighters and it seems that most guys’ tend to gameplan in one of two ways. Some seem to custom tailor their training camps for a particular opponent and his style, while others concern themselves more on working on their own games regardless of who the opponent is. What is you strategy in your training camps (without giving away a gameplan for your bout)?

SABAH FADAI: I WING IT!! I’m not concerned with what he is good at, or what he is not good at! I don’t care, I fight my fight and make them play to my tunes.

PRO MMA NOW: Thanks for taking some time out to talk to us here at ProMMAnow.com.  Do you have any shout outs or sponsors you would like to thank?

SABAH FADAI: It’s been my pleasure! I am so glad that you asked the questions that you asked. They were great questions and I had fun answering them! I would like to thank everyone who has made my journey possible. My parents, my brother, and other family members who support me, and the people who have given me all my skills: Norman Go, the head instructor of DEFTAC Cebu in the Philippines, Kultar ‘Black Mamba’ Gill from MambaMMA in Abbotsford BC. My main training partners who help me and motivate me to reach my goals: Gary ‘Saint Lion’ Mangat and ‘Ragin’ Kajan Johnson. Thanks to Livevision, and Echelon Fighter Management for getting me hooked up with the MFC, and thank you Maximum Fighting Championships to have faith in me and my skills to give me the opportunity to showcase my skills on HDNet. Thank you to Elite Organic Nutrition for fueling me up with the best supplements to get the best out of my training and avoid injury. Also, Victor Chan from Perfomax health group for fixing any injuries I do get. Thanks to Eaglegroup for making my TriStar trip happen. StateCyde Music, live vision management, and last but not least a special thank you to Mr. Renault Lao, and Mr. Vijay Vasandani for helping me with whatever I needed in The Philippines to succeed in MMA. I love you guys, and I can’t thank you guys enough for what you have done for me. If any of you guys want to follow my training camp and what I’m doing, and who I’m training with, follow me on twitter @Sabahfadai or add me to Facebook (Sabah Fadai).

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