MMA champ hopes to host fights

By Lorraine Forster, August 2, 2011
Port Alberni — 

A Tseshaht mixed martial arts fighter is blasting his way through the ranks as he sets his sights on bringing MMA to Maht Mahs gym.

Sampson Barney, 28, easily downed three opponents in a battle for the welter weight title at Sagebrush Downs in Kamloops on July 23. It took a knock-out, a "guillotine" and a "school yard headlock" to clear the way to the title.

Barney got started in MMA in February 2010.

"I've been involved in fighting for a long time now," said Barney. "Now that we can do it without the drama and the courthouses, I found myself in the ring."

While training for his recent fights he set his own goals and schedule and hit the gym solo.

"I've got a gym out my front door. I went to the reserve to do extra gym time and I go to Echo Centre to help lose weight."

Barney thought he would be lost without a formal school or place to practise a martial art but he said he didn't look back as he knew what was expected and required to succeed.

"I just did it all on my own."

Though Barney works six days a week packing steel building the new high school, he is still able to fit in 2.5 hours of training four to five days per week.

He recommends starting to train in jujitsu or karate around the age of 10 or 11 if kids are interested in getting involved in martial arts.

"It's something I wish I could have in my background."

"On my 10th birthday my (Dad) bought me a heavy bag, a speed bag, and wrestling masks. So I kind of just took the hint from there," said Barney. "Ever since, I can kick and I can swing."

Barney will be keeping off the canvas for the next couple of months as he recovers from a thumb injury suffered during his last bout in the ring. But he will be working on his next goal of hosting fights at Maht Mahs, his home gym.

He said he wants to bring exciting quality fights to Maht Mahs.

"(Fight promotor) Don Arnott would be pleased to have his new champ host the fights."