By: Molly Hanzidiakou
A certain level of confidence has to accompany a name like Sam “Big-Sexy” Mcardle-Buse. From the moment he entered the fighting ring on Sept. 14, finally face-to-face with his opponent, there was no denying that this amateur mixed martial arts fighter was prepared to dominate.
Twenty-three seconds into round one, he was crowned winner of the first MMA fight of his career by technical knockout. With the roar of the spectators as his victory soundtrack, he had accomplished his goal and become a champion.
Mcardle-Buse was first brought to the Impact Zone two years ago by a friend of his in the police foundations program. Since then, he has finished the program and continued his training with the Impact team.
“He got me into the competitive side of fighting and I ended up realizing that I loved it just as much as anything else I’ve ever been super passionate about,” said Mcardle-Buse.
It was the challenge and layers of the sport that drew him to MMA fighting. Constantly developing techniques and having to apply them in unpredictable situations challenged his attention span more than any other sport before.
“It’s nice because you can base anything off of whatever ground you have been training off of,” he said. “I’m pretty decent all around, but I’m a lot more confident standing and exchanging strikes.”
Kevin Hill is a friend and training partner of Mcardle-Buse. Over the past three years Hill has specialized in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has watched Mcardle-Buse grow as an MMA fighter.
“What I do is very specialized martial art,” said Hill. “But when Sam started training he was doing Mixed Martial Arts which is Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and wrestling all at once. I started doing Jiu-Jitsu which is basically like wrestling but with submissions. Sam is more diverse than I am. I do one thing pretty well.”
Mcardle-Buse doesn’t limit himself to his MMA training. By adding trips to the gym to his schedule, it gives him the opportunity to push his body further.
“I do both. Not everyone does and you don’t have to,” said Mcardle-Buse. “But the gym, the Fitness Zone, was my first passion. So I can’t really disregard one or the other. I’m always in the gym lifting trying to get bigger, stronger and faster.”
The Impact Zone has become a second home for Mcardle-Buse. It is a place where he can submerge himself into the world of MMA fighting and be with people who share his interest in fitness.
“This place has a family atmosphere. I, my trainer Terry Rea, Kevin and all of our other friends don’t feel like we are only here to train. We are very close and don’t strictly have a training relationship,” said Mcardle-Buse. “With Terry I like calling him my trainer but I like calling him my friend more.”
A week before his fight, Mcardle-Buse started the process that all MMA fighters go through to cut their weight. It comes down to a science of decreasing water intake by a litre a day and going in the sauna for an hour.
“If it were up to me, nobody would cut and we would fight at whatever weight we are at. But that’s not how it is,” said Mcardle-Buse.
Mcardle-Buse had already lowered his weight down to 176 pounds.
“There is enough difference to tell that I shouldn’t be this weight normally. I am usually walking around 190,” said Mcardle-Buse.
Before the fight, Mcardle-Buse had watched video of his opponent Josh Noel from MMA Cornwall.
“I’m sure he trains hard and is a good guy but he didn’t seem very threatening at all,” said Mcardle-Buse. “I am very confident. But since it is a fight you never know. You have to be super humble all the time. Go in with the attitude that you are going to win, but you accept all the possibilities and outcomes.”
The MMA fight was at Centre Communautaire Pѐre Arthur Guertin in Gatineau, Que.
The day of the fight started at 2 p.m. for Mcardle-Buse, first with weigh-ins. Once those were out of the way, he had five hours to gain his weight back by drinking water and normal eating; constantly thinking about staying energized and fueled for the fight.
Mcardle-Buse had a team of supporters behind him to assist with warm-up and drilling.
“My thought was to try and stay cool but confident during the day and the closer it got to fighting time I was just pumped with adrenaline. I wanted to make sure the opponent knew he was going to need help out of the cage,” said Mcardle-Buse.
Each fight consisted of three rounds, two minutes per round. If a fighter was to tap out, the fight was immediately over.
“Usually there is some way out of a hold, but sometimes you can’t and you’re being held for too long. You just have to tap out and lose,” said Mcardle-Buse. “So basically, don’t get choked and no submissions of any kind.”
Unlike the other fights of the night, Mcardle-Buse did not back off or ease into the fight. He was very aggressive throwing punches constantly.
He was also one of few who had a name for himself: Sam “Big-Sexy” Mcardle-Buse.
Within 23 seconds Mcardle-Buse had his opponent on the ground and had to be pulled off by the referee. He won the fight with the only TKO of the night.
“It was an indescribable experience and feel that should be felt by everyone when the cage closes and you are the only one person there to protect yourself,” said Mcardle-Buse. “I honestly was dumbfounded and still am.”
Mcardle-Buse had many supporters in the audience. Among them was his girlfriend Kimberley Eady.
“I’ve seen him at a few classes and know what was going to happen but I was still nervous for him. His mom turned to me and said it was more of a massacre than a fight. She was right,” said Eady.
With his first fight and first win done in one shot, Mcardle-Buse looks forward to many more fights to come.
“My thought that went through my head as I stood up was the line from Gladiator ‘Are you not entertained?’” said Mcardle-Buse.