Sunday, 11 September 2022

Fitness For Autism - a journey through the Womens European Championship. Written by Matthew Greany

Matthew is 16 years old, and received an autism diagnosis at quite a young age, like many on the autistic spectrum, Matthew's Autism is often described as quite complex owing to various diagnosis he has that go alongside it (Anxiety Disorder, Dyspraxia, Hyperacusia, Learning Difficulties to name but a few, there are many more)  So sometimes the world can be a challenging place to be for Matthew. Matthew is reliant on routine and regime, so changes in timetables, or an unexpected change to his routine can have a real detrimental impact and as Matthew has problems sensory processing and explaining his feelings it also becomes a frustrating and upsetting experience for him.     

 As Autism does not have a look it can be deceiving to someone who is not familiar with Matthew or his needs, get to know him and speak about something he is passionate about and you gain a lifetime friend, get to see him overcoming adversity and he becomes an inspiration. In Matthews case  he his highly reliant on supervision and assistance and a lot of the things we take for granted Matthew needs a considerable amount of help with throughout his journey.                                    

Over the years we have found that Matthew learns through things he is passionate about and as parents we have always encouraged the learning process through Matthews passions whatever they may have been over the years, Matthews passion over the past 4 years is Football, in fact everything for Matthew revolves around Football, to say he is passionate about it would be an understatement.

I am so very proud to introduce Matthew Greany as a Fitness For Autism Ambassador, who will be helping us raise awareness but also assist in highlighting how important acceptance and inclusion is and showing what can be achieved if we open our hearts, minds and clubs so that everyone can enjoy taking part.


This summer saw The UEFA Women's European Championship (The Euros) was played with England being the host nation,  the tournament comprised of the finest national teams in Europe who competed for the coveted trophy.

Below is Matthew's write up of the tournament, that's been written by Matthew.

"The UEFA Women's European Championship for the England Lionesses was a huge competition and we had to play against Northern Ireland, Norway and Austria which was a massive achievement.        Goalkeeper Mary Earps pulled off some awesome and wicked saves in the games against Northern Ireland, Norway and Austria, she was just one of the players that got stuck right in with the saves she had to make, especially the saves she made in the quarter finals and semi-finals and the final at Wembley Stadium against Germany.

Chloe Kelly pulled scored a last-minute winner against Germany at Wembley Stadium, which saw England won the trophy for the first time.                  

My favourite player from the Womens European Championships was Millie Bright, she just put a big smile on my face, when she made them tackles and clearances out of the England penalty area , she was my favourite player throughout the whole of the tournament for the lionesses, followed by Beth Mead who was just on fire when she played, she made some top spot tackles and scored an awesome hat trick against Norway which saw the mighty "Lionesses" win 8-0 at the Amex Stadium which is in Brighton. 

Leah Williamson was just like a brick wall with no one was getting past her, when she runs, she is like a rocket. She is a player that I admire as she makes important tackles and her talking and communicating with her players was brilliant, she is the first England captain in 56 years to win a major trophy.

 I watched the final with my friends at my football team clubhouse, and the atmosphere was amazing, I joined in singing songs that were being sung like "Sweet Caroline" and " Footballs Coming Home" it was just the best day of my life and made me so happy when the Lionesses lifted the beautiful trophy and were named the 2022 European Champions".     


Since COVID restrictions were lifted Matthew has been on a mission to get to see as many football matches as possible, regardless of leagues, if there is a football match being played and if Matthew can get to where it is, he will be there.

Below are just some of the adventures he has had recently, and as it's a team sport Matthew also invites his team mates from the team he plays with to join in the fun.

      

Matthew and Watford Women's FC player            Bianca Baptiste.
       Matthew pictured with Brentford FC player 
                              Sergi Canós
Matthew and other players from the inclusive football team he plays for along with internet sensation and all round good person Gordon Hill aka The Wealdstone Raider.

Matthew and his team mates with Borehamwood FC goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore.
Matthew and his team mates having their picture taken with Brentford FC player Josh DaSilva
           Matthew with Arsenal FC & England                     International player Emile Smith - Rowe

Fitness For Autism which is a division of Fighting For Autism is on a mission to boost not only awareness but drive for acceptance and inclusion for autistic kids/teens/adults or those with an additional need and enable them to find clubs and activities that help them to not only stay healthy but also have fun and make new friends in the process.                                                    

We are on a mission to find businesses, people, associations, sports, venues, locations and clubs that recognise as well as embrace the values of awareness, acceptance and inclusion. Not just saying they do, but actually showing they go the extra mile to raise a smile.                                          

Our friends that have become more like a family from the martial arts, boxing, health and fitness world have helped us lead the charge in our bid to make the globe a bit more more of a welcoming place to be, one that offers safe spaces and places for people to blossom at their own pace, the kindness shown so far has been beyond amazing, so we thought we would see if any other activities were on offer that could provide the opportunity of learning new skills, developing confidence, aiming towards a healthy lifestyle and making lasting friendships.       

Again Pete, Beth, Karl and everyone from Immortal 365 Martial Arts Academy in Peterborough, we cannot thank you enough the young lad who came to take part in a lightsabre workshop, and went onto a stage with your club, left with a sense of confidence that has grown and grown.                                 

Fitness for Autism prides itself in not only working alongside autistic people or those with an additional need, but also give them a say in which way the our aims as a charitable organisation are achieved, being able to provide a platform for them to get their voice, experiences and positive stories heard and importantly create a future where opportunities are within reach.

                             


Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Strong Autistic Female Empowered. An interview With Molly Price, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner and competitor

This weeks blog interview features Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner and competitor from the USA    Molly Price.

Fighting For Autism strives to bring positive stories from around the globe, and highlight inspiring role models from within the autistic community and beyond in hope that we can make the world a more aware, accepting and inclusive place to be.

Fighting For Autism's S.A.F.E (Strong Autistic Female Empowered) Initiative aims to highlight positive female role models from within the autistic community, whose inspiring stories we hope will have the potential of being the catalyst that catapults autistic females onto the path of creating positive stories of their very own, one thing is for sure we cannot do it on our own, hence why its so important for amazing people like Molly to step forward and share their experiences.


Molly pictured in white competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

1. What prompted you to explore Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and have you trained in any other martial art or sport.

"I was sexually assaulted  in the Army & thought this would be a good way to help me cope with my fear of men. Before walking into the gym I haven't left the house in 2 years except to go get groceries or go to the Veterans Affairs office , actually. It worked! I'm not scared of them anymore".

Molly proudly showing some of the medals and awards she has won whilst competing 

2. What Autism myths would you like to dispel?

"That men are the only ones that have Autism. Women can have Autism & are commonly misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or something else.

The myth that vaccines cause autism

That you can "overcome" it & be normal. I don't want to be neurotypical.

Just because someone is autistic doesn't mean they're going to have "all these symptoms". It could be as simple as a few major things. It could be a bunch of small things. No 2 autistic people have the same support needs".

3.How often do you train, and what would a typical days training schedule consist of ?

"As with most autistic people, my schedule is very very strict.

1 Hour studying previous days notes

1-hour focused BJJ in the morning

1-hour watching an instructional related to the AM class

lunch class then drilling(usually 1 hour on top of the lunch class)

3-hour nap

I play Elden ring for a little bit to clear my head. Usually about an hour

Back to the instructional from the AM class to go back over it along with my ankicards/flashcards refresher for this month's moves

Afternoon class. This is usually 5PM-7/8PM.

Log all my training for the day. Go over any rolling  footage I have. Study one last time what I did throughout the day

I train like this 5x a week usually and on Saturdays is Open Mat. We have Sunday Open Mat here too! At Akagi BJJ. It's a very nice gym & the owner is very very nice. I like it here because they're very understanding & they make sure I feel safe & comfortable. It's the best!

4.What accomplishment to date are you proudest of ?

"Getting my Blue Belt in 8 months with 1 month off due to an injury".


Molly proudly showing her achievement of gaining a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

5. What does Autism mean to you ?

"Studies show my brain processes sensory input(what we see, hear, feel, etc) 400% faster than an allistic person. What does that mean? If I can overcome the problems that come with Autism, I have a massive advantage on the mats.

It also means I have to do my best to be aware of how allistic people will take what I say. Autistic people tend to say what we mean directly. I can get frustrated when I ask a simple yes/no question & get a very long-winded answer".

6.What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of taking up a martial art, boxing or joining a gym?

"Make sure your gym is very aware of how it affects your life. Be more blunt than usual. Be upfront. You have to be careful because not every gym is going to be safe. Sometimes if I get a bad crossface (technique), I'll need to take 15-20 minutes to gather myself because it can be very overstimulating. Because of this I always make a gym aware I have Autism before visiting. I've done things to minimize the conversation & to make it known, but it's important they always know! I have had one gym,  straight up tell me on Instagram to not come because they didn't want to "deal with the problems I'd be bringing".

It's crucial you find a gym that can accommodate. What does that mean? Your coach needs to understand that you may need to take breaks, at any time, for what may appear to be no reason at all. They need to know that you may get emotional if you're doing striking. That you likely aren't very social. I didn't know this, but it seems most people do BJJ for the social aspect. Go figure!  So yeah! Just make sure they're aware of everything.



Fighting For Autism would like to say a massive Thank you to Molly Price for taking part in this weeks blog, her answers could pave the way to someone becoming more aware or accepting as a person right through to inspiring someone to start the adventure of trying something new, making new friends, learning new skills and developing confidence. 

#DareToBeDifferent  #ShiningThroughTheSpectrum  #FightingForAutism  #AutismAwarenessAndAcceptance #BrazilianJiuJitsu


Monday, 9 May 2022

Richie Jewell- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Autism

Fighting For Autism is on a global search to bring inspiring stories from the autistic spectrum and world of additional needs in our bid to make planet earth a more aware, acceptive and inclusive place to be.
We have enlisted the help from ambassadors around the world that includes elite athletes along with clubs, coach's and the future generation of champions in their own right to help us achieve the aim of encouraging, inspiring and including people and celebrating our differences, through various activities, sports and martial arts.

If you would like to get involved or would like to know more about us and what we do please get in touch.
We can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or our website.
www.fightingforautismeurope.org

Today's blog features Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner Richie Jewell from the USA, Richie kindly took time out of his schedule to talk about his experiences with Autism and his passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 

Richie Newell is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Practitioner who trains out of Evolution Grappling Academy.

1. Describe your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey so far, and have you trained in any other art or sport.
I'm Richie Jewell. I'm 29 years old and I have high functional autism. Just like everyone else in the world. I went through some stuff that has been very difficult, challenging and emotional for me to endure life difficulties while living with autism. I have endured teasing, depression, complications from the disability such as lack of social skills, bad speech and improper eye contact. It's very difficult to live through these quirks. I have been through a lot in my life time. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, getting bullied, witnessed a brutal divorce from my parents. Growing up, As a kid wanted to be a professional wrestler but that was a kid being a dreamer and I never played sports. Before jujitsu, I did Muay Thai kickboxing/striking, it was great a foreshadowing for what it was to come. My jiujitsu journey has been a crazy one: I started training in August 2019. I'm trying my best to learn the moves to make progress, make new friends along the way, use it as a mental discipline for mental health and hopefully to compete in tournaments some day. However, a few months into training, I suffered a series of seizures that kept me out of action for a while. It depressed me that I couldn't train on the mat for a while. I went to doctors and they diagnosed my seizures as autism related. I was told I wouldn't be able to compete in tournaments for BJJ. Despite that, i was put on medication and was able to come back to training while dealing with health issues. As time went on, I started to go to tournaments to watch my teammates compete. I started to think about competing. So for many months, i was able to be seizure free and I decided to get cleared by medical experts for competition. However they wouldn't let me".

2.What prompted you to explore martial arts.
" I was a huge pro wrestling fan. One of my best friends was a black belt of the gym and his name is Mike Palladino. He’s an amazing mentor to me. He saw that I was a pro wrestling fanatic and an autism awareness advocate. He noticed me and we hung out one day, the rest was history. I was very nervous to take jujitsu at first because of the unknown and anxious about injuries but it turned out to be the best thing for me".

Richie trains 4-5 times a week at Evolution Grappling Academy.

3. What Autism myths would you like to dispel?
"Autism myths I would to debunk, not every autistic thinks like a calculator or remembers baseball cards like in Rain Man. We’re not dangerous. We’re not mutes, being deaf or a sign of mental retardation. Its a huge misunderstanding. That's why I'd like to be a Autism Awareness ambassador or advocate, its to educate people on what autism is and what is fact or fiction about this disability people have been researching for years".

4.How often do you train, and what would a typical days training schedule consist of ?
" I train 4-5 times a week for Brazilian jiu jitsu. My rituals for the classes. I do warm ups, drilling moves to get it memorized and use it for future rolls, and rolls/spare with other people to see how much you progress along the journey on BJJ".


5.What accomplishment to date are you proudest of ?
"My biggest accomplishment to date was getting my blue belt with autism awareness stripes logo on it while competing my first jujitsu after being told I would never do competition with being diagnosed with autism related seizures. Since then, I have been 28 months seizure free, still training and making the best out of my jujitsu journey".

Richie proudly showing his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which with a tag at the end to help raise Autism awareness

6.What does Autism mean to you?
"Autism means being unique, different but not less than others. Believing in you with being confident in your abilities, loving your hobbies and surround yourself with the people you love and supporters".

7.What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of taking up a martial art, boxing or joining a gym?
"My advice to those who are trying out a martial art or anything for that matter. Its okay to be scared or nervous because of the unknown. Trust your journey because its gonna be filled with ups and down, you’re gonna face some obstacles but always be yourself, be consistent on your training, always don’t be afraid to seek advice, if you are struggle or feel frustrated, think how far you have come since the first day. After all the hard work you perform, people will notice and you will get rewarded, just keep on fighting.. that's the advice for everyone. Especially with me"

We would like to say a huge Thank You to Richie Newell for sharing details of his inspiring journey in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu , if you have a story that you would like to share, you never know it could be the spark that starts a flame to get someone to be inspired to try something new, build confidence, maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Please get in touch with Paul at p.greany@fightingforautismeurope.org

#DareToBeDifferent #ShiningThroughTheSpectrum #AutismAwareness #AutismAcceptance #Inclusion.
#FightingForAutism #FitnessForAutism


Friday, 22 April 2022

Corey Kent - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competitor - Autism and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

This week's Fighting For Autism Blog features Fighter Ambassador Corey Kent, Corey talks to us about his martial arts journey so far and his personal experience of being autistic. 
We also proudly present The Tony Pillage Fighting Fund Initiative, which aims to provide autistic kids/teens/adults or those with additional needs from low income families with essential equipment they may require to partake in a club/activity  (i.e Martial Arts, Boxing , Health and Fitness)

Corey Kent Interview


Describe your martial arts journey so far?
"When I turned 18, I joined a small local kickboxing club for about 2/3 years and won multiple gold and sliver trophies in that sport but unfortunately I was growing unsatisfied and lost enjoyment in it. So when i saw that a local mma club that had just opened and was doing Brazilian Jiu jitsu, I thought “maybe I need to try something completely different from striking?”. I remember falling so in love with the bjj class that I bought a gi straight away after the end of class even though the teacher told me not to incase I wasn’t going to continue doing it but I knew straight away what I wanted to do! And I’ve never looked back since".

What prompted you to explore martial arts?
"Ive always wanted to find a positive outlook for my thoughts and obsessive personality to teach me somethings like hard work, patience and self-improvement".

What Autism myths would you like to dispel?
"I hate it when people say “oh I would’ve never guess your autistic” when I tell people why I struggle with certain things or situations.
I have always struggled with being viewed as cold, rude or disrespectful because of reasons like me being easily distracted when someone is speaking or when I’m speaking bluntly and to the point but I want them to know that it’s the opposite". 

How often do you train, and what would a typical days training schedule consist of?
"At this moment, I’m training BJJ/wrestling at least 4 times an week but also going to my nearby gym for some weightlifting at minimum 3 times as well. Sunday is usually a rest day for me so I’ll try to do some yoga to relax and research on some BJJ techniques or concepts that I may had problems with that particular week".

What accomplishment to date are you proudest of?
"I’m more proud of the friendships and experiences than any of the medals I have won. My journey is still young in this sport so I have more ambitions than accomplishments but I’m happy with where I am and I can’t wait to see what this journey takes me".

Corey with some of the medals he has won during his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey.

What does Autism mean to you?
"Its honestly a hard thing to describe as someone who has always had to deal with autism but I can appreciate how I can catch certain details and look at things from a different angle then other people without autism. Its a massive benefit talking to my teammates about techniques and realising that while my teammates are looking at the big picture that I’ve been focused on small details that others miss and then using both knowledge to benefit everyone in the team".

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of taking up a martial art, boxing or joining a gym?
"Take it easy and never be afraid to hide yourself from your coach or teammates because hopefully eventually you will form close friendships and bonds because of the similar interests and you will be valued for who you are as a person"

Corey trains and competes out of Brotherhood MMA in The Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

Fighting For Autism (Europe) proudly present
The Tony Pillage Fighting Fund Initiative


We are extremely honoured to present 
The Tony Pillage Fighting Fund Initiative
 in remembrance of our friend and ambassador Tony Pillage.

Tony worked tirelessly providing a platform for some amazing people to celebrate and share their exceptional experiences and stories of how they overcame daily adversity through martial arts, we hope that through the initiative that Tony's legacy will continue to grow.

The initiative aims to provide funding for autistic kids/teens/adults or those with additional needs from low income families with essential kit/equipment they require to partake in an activity (i.e Martial Arts, Boxing , Health and Fitness) to a maximum of £50/€50 in a bid to boost confidence, health, wellbeing and developing lasting friendships.
 Terms and conditions do apply and owing to limited funding the initiative is only available to residents in the UK and Ireland and the initiative is unable to fund club joining/membership fees or insurances.
For more details please contact Paul - p.greany@fightingforautismeurope.org
Fighting for Autism (Europe) is a registered charity with the charity commission of England & Wales.
Charity number 1189562 

#FightingForAutism #TheTonyPillageFightingFundInitiative #DareToBeDifferent #MartialArts #Boxing #HealthAndFitness






Friday, 1 April 2022

Chris Price, Professional Mixed Martial Artist -Autism and Mixed Martial Arts.



* Describe your martial arts journey so far?
"It's been a wild journey with a lot of ups and downs along the way but the one thing that's been consistent has been my strive to improve. I've also made a lot of good friends on my journey both at gyms and in competition".

What prompted you to explore martial arts?
"I got bullied at Primary school, had very low confidence and also needed an outlet to get rid of my hyperactive energy. My parents found a traditional jujitsu club nearby and I stepped on the mat for the first time at 7 years old. At first I hated it because of how difficult it was but after a while I learnt to enjoy the process.

When I was about 11 or 12 years old I got more involved in the competitive side of martial arts and watched a mini documentary about the Gracies and the rise of the UFC. It was at that moment I decided I wanted to give multiple martial arts a go. I trained at different gyms across town doing Muay Thai, Judo and various traditional martial art styles aiming to be a "Complete Martial Artist" until I found a good MMA Gym in town called Blackburn Predators where I moved full time and started my amateur career. After 7 years of training and competing I made the move to Manchester Predators and turned professional".

Chris pictured with UFC rising star and fellow Fighting For Autism Ambassador 
Paddy "The Baddy" Pimblett.

* What Autism myths would you like to dispel?
"Something I hear a lot that offends me is that people with Autism don't feel empathy or emotion towards other people and that we are almost like robots. That's so far from the truth it's offensive. I will agree that I struggle recognising other people's emotions sometimes like anger or sadness. I may need a solid sign to understand how a person feels in a particular moment. But to say I don't care about how another person feels is ridiculous. As bizarre as it sounds I don't like hurting or offending other people simply because I understand how it felt growing up".

* How often do you train, and what would a typical days training schedule consist of?
"I train 6 days a week 2x a day. I'll do the fighter class during the day which is either a sparring session or a MMA wrestling session. I'll have a break coach a few Personal Trainer sessions and coach the Fundamental BJJ Class then do some technical work with my head coach Gav at in the evening. I'll also do 3 Strengh & Conditioning sessions during the week to stay strong and work on my fitness".

* What accomplishment to date are you proudest of.
"I'm still working towards bigger achievements in the future but I'd say winning Submission Of The Year on FCC last year is a big one, having the chance to represent my country at the IMMAFs in Bahrain, winning an amateur fight on Cage Warriors at the ECHO Arena with Dan Hardy in attendance and winning the BUDO Amateur Featherweight Belt"..
Chris having his hand raised in victory via a 37 second submission win.

* What does Autism mean to you?
"I can honestly say it's a big part of who I am and what drives me. I think in a way that's very different to the "normal person" I have a very different view on life and how I approach it. I don't think I'd be anything close to the man I am today without being autistic. Sure it has its disadvantages but it also has some strong advantages in the lifestyle I've chosen".

* What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of taking up a martial art, boxing or joining a gym?
"Just get started and don't overthink it. The main thing is finding a coach and a team that have a good track record in competition, give you a warm welcome when you walk through the door and make you feel at home. Enjoying the process is very important at the start"

On behalf of everyone at Fighting for Autism, we would like to thank Chris Price for taking time out of his schedule to take part in this interview.
You can follow Chris on Instagram at 
www.insyagram.com/crazychrisprice.



Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Joseph Shepherd- Fitness For Autism

Hey everyone, my name is Joseph Shepherd and I am 22 year old strength athlete from the UK.
I have competed in powerlifting and strongman,
I look forward to contributing content for Fitness for Autism and showing the world that while we may be neurodivergent that doesn't stop us from achieving our goals and chasing our dreams.

I am a 22-year-old autistic athlete. If you knew me growing up the phrase “athlete” is something that you wouldn’t associate with me. My life forever changed when my mum bought me a fifty kg barbell set, I don’t think I’d be where I am today if it were not for this. Due to lifting weights and taking part in sports like rugby and Brazilian Jiu jitsu, I have had many great experiences, ranging from being apart of the discover your gold campaign to starting a university powerlifting club in my second year of university.
If I were to give advice to coaches working with neurodivergent athletes, I would say these two things.

*Be creative – neurodivergent athletes will be different to anyone you have ever worked with. We learn differently and require a different set of skills. BE CREATIVE, why you might be able to teach someone how to deadlift or throw a punch one way, chances are that will be different for the neurodivergent. Get creative and think outside of the box. While at times it may be slightly frustrating, it will be immensely rewarding when it pays off.

*Set no limitations – This me speaking from first-hand experience, the moment you set a limitation of what they are capable of even if it’s just in your mind, they will be able to tell. Encourage them to go as far as they can, and they will surprise you. Growing up I was told I would never ride a bike, swim or be a healthy weight. Now I can ride a bike (just about), swim like a fish and I’m the healthiest I have ever been. The support I’ve received from my mother, powerlifting coach Mark and close friends has helped push me to heights many people would never think possible, all this comes from growing up without any limitations on what I can do.


All the best 
Joseph Shepherd
Fitness For Autism 
(A Division of Fighting For Autism)

Thursday, 22 April 2021

An Interview With UFC fighter Nathan "Mayhem" Maness, by Fighting For Autism Ambassadors Nick, Seren, Andre and Reese

Fighting For Autism, have been so incredibly fortunate to have some amazing ambassadors from around the world take time out of their schedules to take part in interviews with our Junior Ambassadors, whom a large percentage of are on the autistic spectrum themselves and are thriving through an activity, art or something they love taking part in. Having prominent professionals who share a common interest with the person conducting the interview, or them being from a sport, art, activity that the interviewer can relate to, not only helps to build confidence and develop social skills, they are also fantastic to read, if you would like to take part please get in touch via our website www.fightingforautismeurope.org

This blog features an interview With Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight division fighter and Fighting for Autism For Autism Fighter Ambassador Nathan "Mayhem" Maness.

Nathan, who trains and fights out of Tag MMA and Nice Guy Submission Fighting,  holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu  and and outstanding 13-1-0 record as a professional mixed martial artist, with his impressive last win  over the unbeaten Luke Sanders in November of 2020 with the UFC that saw him earn "submission of the night" and is looking to continue on his trail to the very top in 2021.



 Some of our Fighting For Autism Junior Ambassadors were asked if they would like to interview Nathan, and we were overwhelmed by their response, here is the interview.


First to ask some questions was Reese "Cottonmouth Bailey from Las Vegas, USA

1)When you are in the middle of a fight, is it a blur or does everything seem to slow down because all the training you've had?

"Earlier in my career it was definitely a blur. Out of a 9min fight I could maybe remember a few minutes. Now I'm alot better at being in the moment".

2) what's tougher, training camp or a weight cut? 

"I think they go together. It's hard pushing yourself through camp while being on a calorie restriction diet".

3) what is your training regime like when you are not training for a fight? 

"I'm still in the gym 4-8 times a week depending on what I have going on that week".

4) what motivates you to keep fighting after you've gotten hit really hard?

I'd honestly take a beating for the whole fight if I could pull it out in the end. Im just here to win. The shots don't bother me.

5) what's the most motivational quote you've ever been given from a coach?

 "I don't think I could narrow it down to a quote. My coach is the ultimate winner and he passes that down to me through his words and actions".


Next to ask some question was Seren Grant from the United Kingdom

1. How did you feel in your first fight in a ring? Did you win?

 "I was very nervous but had a great time once it was over. I won a unanimous decision".

2. How did it feel the first time you lost a fight (if you have ever lost one!)?

"I have lost one. It was a learning experience. I had won 20 in a row prior to that, so it was tough for sure".

3. What is it you love about your sport that keeps you involved?

"You can never be the best at every aspect of  MMA. So there is always room to grow and that keeps me motivated".

Next to ask some questions was Fighter Ambassador from the Missouri USA  

 Nick "The Tornado" Turnbo


1- Does wrestling help you in MMA? 

"Absolutely. Wrestling helps you decide where the fight takes place. Either on the ground or to stop take-downs and keep It standing".

2- Do you prefer ground or stand up? 

"Earlier in my career it was more on the ground and wrestling. Today I'm more of a fan of the stand up. It gets the fans and myself more excited".

3- What weight do you walk at?

 "I was anywhere from 155 to 165. I fight at 135".



And finally to ask Nathan some questions is Junior Ambassador from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Andre "The Reaper" O'Leary  

1. Who are in your personal top 5 pound for pound list in the UFC?

 "GSP. Jon Jones. Anderson Silva. Demetrius Johnson. Khabib".

2. MMA has many disciplines and I really like boxing, wrestling and Muay Thai. What are your 3 favourites as a mixed martial artist and why? 

"Wrestling. I love a good double leg take-down and the control. Kickboxing. The mixture of good boxing and some of my favourite kicks like the teep and high kick. BJJ. If you want to take guys down you have to have solid top jiu jitsu to stay out of subs and land good ground n pound".

3.What advice do you have for young fighters looking to have a career in MMA/UFC?

 "Show up to the gym, even on days you don't want to. Half the battle is just deciding to go".


From everyone at Fighting For Autism, we wanted to say a huge thank you to Nathan "Mayhem" Maness for taking time out of his schedule to answer some questions, and a massive thank you to Andre,Nick,Seren and Reese for asking awesome questions for the interview.

Nathan can be followed on instagram at www.instagram.com/natemayhem1 

Until next time Dare To Be Different, Shine Through The Spectrum, and as always keep 

Fighting For Autism 😉