By Nate Sanchez
The NFL is getting softer by the day. Baseball’s not really a contact sport, and flopping in basketball is almost as bad as it is in soccer. In today’s sports culture, tough has a new name: mixed martial arts.
CSUB senior Amandeep Singh has adopted MMA as a hobby, while maintaining the responsibilities of school and work at the same time. When he’s not at school, Singh is helping his father manage the family’s gas stations.
“I pretty much manage the stores,” Singh said. “I still have to check in at least once a day.”
Having started training in September of 2012, Singh was active in a few Jiu-Jitsu fights in amateur tournaments, after which he said he was told by his trainers that he should enter the ring as a mixed martial artist. Singh was all in.
Singh’s dedication paid off. In his first three fights, Singh walked away with three victories, all of which came by submission. Despite his prowess in the art of submission, Singh doesn’t consider himself a submission specialist.
“I’m not really a specialist,” Singh said. “I like to control the fight and look for opportunities. That’s my style. As long as I’m in control, I feel good.”
The physical and mental strain that comes with training for a mixed martial arts fight can take a major toll on those who aren’t prepared. Fortunately for Singh, his background in wrestling is a great help.
“I was going to wrestle here, but I got hurt and decided I didn’t want to wrestle anymore,” Singh said. “I started Jiu-Jitsu and I started beating legit people. I thought ‘Hey, why not make some money out of this?'”
Among other physical strains that comes with MMA is the intensity of being in the fight itself. Singh relies heavily on his cardio training, which gives him the stamina to outlast opponents. The ability to outlast an opponent in the ring is vital for a fighter, especially if there is a size disadvantage.
“After one round, you’re dead,” Singh said. “Going 100 percent in a fight takes a lot out of you. If you do great cardio, you’ll do fine. If you have bad cardio, your guy is just going to lay on top of you.”
For some, the allure of the brutal world of MMA is nonexistent. Some find it entertaining, while the rest find organized fights inhumane. Some shutter at the thought of two people put into an enclosed space with the sole purpose of hurting one another for sport. For Singh, being in the ring is a feeling unlike any other.
“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Singh said. “The first fight, you feel the most nervous, but the second and third fights, you don’t think about it, you just jump in.”
With every fighter comes his or her own warm up and preparation techniques. Some play video games, but Singh keeps it simple, sleeping most of the day and avoiding his phone, which may serve as a distraction.
“After the weigh-in, you have about ten hours before the fight,” Singh said. “Mostly I just sleep. When you sleep, your body is relaxed. I’ll warm up an hour before the fight to get a little bit of sweat going.”
With graduation on the horizon, Singh has chosen to focus on his schoolwork in the final stretch of his college career. He turned down a title fight recently in order to fully devote his attention to school. However, approximately two weeks after graduation, Singh will be in Las Vegas for a shot at a contending spot.
This should come as no surprise to Singh. As of next month’s rankings, he is projected to be one of the top ten amateur fighters in California, according to CAMO (California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization). Singh’s secret: taking it one fight at a time.
“I don’t want to think too far ahead,” Singh said. “I want to just focus on the next fight. I’m doing it as a hobby. If it takes me somewhere, good. If it doesn’t, I have a degree and a family business.”
The senior is scheduled to graduate from CSUB in June with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and will continue working toward his master’s degree in public administration.