IN MORE than three decades full-time carer Nigel Golding has never been in a fight.
But in five weeks that is set to change – when he steps into the octagon to endure a gruelling mixed martial arts match-up in aid of Cancer Research.
The 35-year-old Waterlooville dad is embarking on an eight-week training programme in a bid to transition from fat-fighter to fist-fighter ahead of his MMA debut on March 23.
Since joining Slimming World a year ago he has shed three stone and this physical feat, set to unfold at the Mountbatten Centre, is part and parcel of his mission to change his life.
He said: ‘I joined Slimming World because me and my ex-wife had just got divorced and I was going through a very difficult time personally.
‘I wanted to get fit and lose extra weight so I turned to exercise as a pick-me-up.’
He added: ‘I’ve never thought about hitting somebody, let alone fighting them, so doing this is completely out of my comfort zone.'
Since his circumstances changed a year ago Mr Golding, who lives in Lovedean and cares for his 80-year-old mum, has packed his weekly schedule with a host of healthy activities.
Mondays and Wednesdays are dedicated to MMA, he swims on Thursdays, goes to Slimming World boot camp on Saturdays and runs at least five kilometres on Sundays.
‘Before, if somebody suggested something to me, I would deliberately take ages to think about it and probably would end up turning away,’ he said.
‘But now I’ll sign up to things straight away. I’ve turned into a bit of a yes man and that’s why I’m doing this. I’m absolutely looking forward to it.’
The former pub worker and his friends and family have never been affected by cancer, but he has described Cancer Research as ‘a very worthwhile cause’ for all it does for others.
As anticipation builds for his first foray in hand-to-hand combat next month, he is now aiming to raise £500 for the charity.
He said: ‘At the moment I’ve got just over £300, but my consultant and the area manager at Slimming World have approached me and want to help me raise more funds.
‘If I keep pushing I think it’s possible I could raise between £500 and £1,000.’
As part of the event in March, organised by Ultra MMA, Mr Golding will be matched up with another novice fighter of his skill level.
The sport has shot to fame in recent years thanks to the popularity the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and its competitors, such as Irishman Conor McGregor.
You can donate to his Just Giving page by copying and pasting tinyurl.com/yy3hw255 into a new window in your web browser.
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