His name has been known in Europe for a while now and the promoters have a hard time finding suitable opponents for him. There’s no doubt that he one of the European top fighters, expected to enter the big stage real soon. Meet David Bielkheden – the MMA fighter that always makes exciting fights.
This is the interview of David Bielkheden coming back from Cage Rage 17, Wembley Arena in London, 2006 July 15th and was first published on Asgardmma.com back in the days.
Q: So you are the first Swedish fighter to enter Cage Rage. In your own words tell us about the fight against Steve Norman.
David: I have not seen the fight on video yet, so I’m not 100% sure but let me tell you what I remember.
Q: This time you fought in 77kg for the second time.
D: Yes, I move faster at 77. But the weight cutting was tough. I got the fight on six days notice and tried to cut down 5.5kg in that time. Not fun. I just had a protein drink and ate a few bits of sushi in the final days. Not fun at all. Sitting in the sauna squeezing out weight works better for me. So I will stay on 77 for a while.
Q: Did you know about Steve Norman?
D: This time I decided to go against whoever because my condition was good and the media coverage of Cage Rage is big. Actually, I have never heard about him before. Arriving at the arena I heard he is tall like 188cm, 38 years old, being known in the UK for the show ”Gladiator” and a pioneer of UK martial arts, like Omar Bouiche. Skilled in many different martial arts.
Q: So quite a many in the audience knew about him?
D: Right, he is kind of a local hero. We started to exchange strikes. He seems rather ok standing. I took down, passed and side mounted him. He resisted and we got a referee break. You know Cage Rage always break early. In the UK it is more popular with standup fighting more than ground fighting. The audience knowledge is similar to the audience in the US. ate a couple of hits from him and I hit him back with a good left hook. I don’t remember much but in many actions, I did four or five takedowns, I mounted him and did a kimura attempt. I even succeeded to sit on his head while going for the kimura, the position was perfect. I squeezed the arm but he didn’t tap. I cranked his arm way up further but he didn’t tap… So I shifted to an armbar. Then it was out of time for the first round.
Q: Can I say the standings was even after the first round?
D: Yes, sort of. In the second round, we started by exchanging blows and I attempted a single leg takedown. But I missed it and landed in the turtle and he tried to soccer kick me, which is illegal. I caught him in my guard and he started
to ground and pound me. So I caught him in a triangle choke. I tighten it hard to finish him. But this guy gives no reaction. So I shifted to the armbar again and this time he tapped. So naturally, I released him. But for some reason, the referee said to continue the fight! I didn’t know what it’s happening. I have trained for many years and know what a tap is. I remembered this shit had happened in Ramarho too. I thought “next I won’t wait for the tap – instead, I will break the arm.”
Q: A referee should always be in such a position so that he can spot a tap. This is also to protect fighters from unnecessary injuries.
D: And the referee told us to start from standing position. That referee was hopeless. I took Norman down again and caught him in my guard and it was the end for that round. The audience started booing. In the third round, I got a couple of takedowns but not much happened in the guard position.D: I did hurt my hand in the training a while ago so I couldn’t really use my hands for punching. Then I got a single leg takedown and Norman caught me in with a guillotine. I lifted him up and slammed him. After that Norman took my back, but the time was over. And the decision went to Norman…
D: I wonder how they can do this kinda decision. Norman even tapped out! After the fight people sitting in the audience came to me and said they saw the tap. It really pissed me off. Did you see Jean Silva fight?
Q: Yes, although gassed out later Silva looked good while chased the opponent and went for submissions. But he lost in a decision as well. I felt sorry for him. What about your fight – it was missing among the Cage Rage 17 clips?
D: It is nowhere to be found. I wanted people to see the fight and judge for themselves. I want to know the reason why they took down my fight and I asked the Cage Rage crew. They have no straight answer and they also dropped my fight to Canal+ as well. My fight is the only one missing… Very weird indeed.
Q: Also I am interested in the scorecards and how they managed to let Norman win.
D: We will investigate the decision and send a protest to Cage Rage. They want me to fight again. But I say no until to give me a straight answer.
Q: How do you think Cage Rage in general?
D: It is the biggest MMA event in Europe. The audience is similar to the US. They are not familiar with ground skills. But it was well organized and a good pay. Ian Freeman is a friendly person who remembers my face and talks nicely to me.
Q: What about your training at the Brazilian Top Team (BTT)?
D: I am going there soon for summer camp. This time lots of Hilti students are coming as well. It will be great. They give us three wrestling classes, three Thai boxing classes, three MMA classes and three boxing classes in a week.
Q: What is your main focus this time?
D: I will work hard on my stamina and adjust to my new weight class.
Q: Please tell me about the recent BTT news…
D: BTT is loaded with guys in my weight class. Milton Vieira and Buscape are really good on the ground. They are working hard to integrate the techniques. Paulo Filho? He is awesome and is becoming ever better and better. Me against Filho? He is too good for me.
Q: Paulo went to decision against the French guy Bouchelaghem in Pride which was unexpected for me. Did something happen?
D: Yes, Filho got the flu. That’s why he couldn’t fight in the top gear. I think Filho is the best in the world 83kg. Arona? He is a very calm person and has many hobbies such as surfing. He has three to four more fights in the DSE (Pride) contract. I think Arona is going to fight in September Pride. Jucao is going to fight in DEEP soon.
Q: Who is actual control of BTT?
D: Busta, Bebeo and Mario are controlling the team.
Q: Is it true BTT fighters pay 30% from the fight money to BTT?
D: No. It’s 20%. It is included all BTT training – three sessions a day with boxing, wrestling and all that you need for MMA. I am quite satisfied with the training quality.
Q: How do you like Pride GP Open Weight semifinals?
D: I think Crocop will KO Wanderlei Silva. Minotauro will have a hard time with Josh Barnett. I can see the similar thing that happened against Rico with Josh. But Minotauro will defeat Josh. So I will not be able to see Minotauro beat up Silva this time as I wanted.
Q: What did you think of the fight between Fabricio and Minotauro?
D: You know Fabricio is the world top black belt but he looked like a white belt against Minotauro.
Q: By the way, it is happening many things on the US MMA scene. UFC is growing big with TUF (The Ultimate Fighter). The PPV grows more than 40.000, I hear. It is easier to get sponsors and Spike TV is happy. So people have noticed they can make big money in MMA. WFA and IFL are hunting fighters with big money.
D: Yes, it is exciting! I think Americans are good at making business. Especially the PR is excellent and I think US will lead the MMA world soon.
Q: I agree. In just five years UFC has made the biz growing from 200.000 to 3500.000 USD. And all of us know about the success made of TUF. That program acquired a lot of new MMA fans. Team vs team is a great idea as well giving a new flavor to MMA. I feel MMA is really growing big. What is your goal now?
D: I am waiting for a call from the big stage. I want to fight in the UFC or in Pride Bushido in the near future. Hopefully, I can tell you the good news soon.
Q: Wonderful! It is not only me, but many are also waiting to see you at the big stage and I think it will come anytime. Thank you for your time today.Fighterpodden avsnitt 42: Vi går igenom skandalen kring Conor vs. Khabib, men blickar även framåt då vi pratar med Ulf Elm om BJJ-SM samt med Sadibou Sy som går match nu i helgen på PFL.