Westcott enters TUF octagon
St. Albert mixed martial arts fighter ready for ultimate test
Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 06:00 am
Ready to rumble
St. Albert mixed martial arts fighter Sheldon Westcott will show how TUF he really is Wednesday night on The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia.
The showdown between Westcott and Daniel Kelly, a four-time judo Olympian, on the TUF Nations reality television series produced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be aired at 8 p.m. on Sportsnet 360.
Westcott, 29, will join family and friends at The Beer Hunter in St. Albert to watch the fight unfold in episode six.
A confidentiality agreement Westcott signed with the UFC prohibits the Paul Kane High School alumnus from spilling the beans on the outcome.
Westcott, 29, is also not a huge fan of watching himself in the octagon.
“The best way to describe it is like listening to yourself on the answering machine,” said the co-owner of the Complete Fitness and Martial Arts gym in Campbell Business Park. “I absolutely hate to watch myself on TV but it would be nice to watch to see what happened in the fight because when you fight everything is going a million miles an hour. You don’t have the chance to really grasp what’s going on and what happened. I’m watching the commercials right now (for the episode) and I’m like I don’t remember that, even the good stuff, so it will be exciting to watch it for the first time fully.”
Westcott’s pro record is 8-1-1. The six-foot-one Kelly, 36, is 6-0.
“I lost my first fight by a split decision and I haven’t lost since and that was seven years ago,” said Westcott, who needed only 13 seconds to knock out Aaron Shymr in his last fight at Fivestar Fight League 5 on April 13 of 2013 in Yellowknife.
The six-foot-one, 185-pound Westcott is a welterweight who moved up one class to middleweight for TUF Nations, which matches Canadians against Australians in an elimination format, culminating with an appearance on the April 16 pay-per-view final between Canada and Australia in Quebec City.
There are four middleweights (185 pounds) and four welterweights (170 pounds) on each team.
Wednesday’s winner moves on to the semifinals.
After three wins by the Canadians the Aussies have won two fights in a row.
The winning team picks the matchup for the next fight.
Luke Harris, a six-foot-two middleweight from St. Albert who owns the Hayabusa Training Centre in Campbell Business Park, is also on Team Canada and has yet to fight. Harris, 36, is 10-2 as a pro.
Tryouts were staged in Toronto to determine the Canadian combatants.
“Normally I have to cut a lot of weight to make 170 pounds and I didn't know if there was going to be a fight to get into the house (where the Canadians and Aussies were based) and I didn’t think that I could make the weight three times in a row in the eight weeks so I moved up weight classes for the show,” Westcott said.
“There was 150 guys in the weight class and the first thing you do is grapple and do ground work. They gave us 90 seconds and they took 50 people at a time and your group went from 50 to 25 people after 90 seconds. You literally had 90 seconds to show what you had on the ground and then after that we did striking.”
The successful Canadians joined the Aussies in a log cabin in the Montreal area, about a 30-minute drive from the gym. They were cut off from the outside world for 49 days, from late October until mid-December. The series debuted in January.
“We had no TV. No phone. No Internet. No anything. When we got out of the house we found out Nelson Mandela had died,” Westcott said. “Honestly, it was quite the experience. When we’re interacting with each other, it’s on a very personal basis because you have to sit there and talk to them. You have to learn the meat and potatoes of guys and you actually get see who you’re going to be friends with and who you’re not going to be friends with right away.”
Westcott’s journey into the MMA world started as a high jumper with the St. Albert Track and Field Club before switching to the decathlon. After taking a year off from the decathlon following an injury at nationals, he was introduced to mixed martial arts by one of the personal trainers at a St. Albert gym where he worked.
“I lost six pounds my first training session and I was absolutely hooked,” Westcott said. “A lot of people associate fighting with big burly guys with tattoos. I don’t have a tattoo. I don’t have a Mohawk. I’m the most reserved person on the planet. I do it because it’s a sport and I love it. In all honesty the guy who wins the decathlon is the best athlete in the world and it has nothing on MMA. That’s how physically taxing and how hard MMA is as a sport.”
Westcott averages 11 to 13 training sessions a week, lasting 90 to 120 minutes per workout.
“It’s a full-time job.”