Putting up a good fight in Vegas

As previously reported here in South Leeds Life, last month saw Tom ‘The Viking’ Crosby from Middleton travel out to Las Vegas in the USA to compete in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA, commonly known as cage fighting) amateur world championships.

Tom, 28, had previously travelled to international tournaments in Germany, France, Croatia, and Canada – but this was his first time in the US, representing the UK at one of the most prestigious amateur events in the sport.

Tom (centre) with team mates in Vegas (image courtesy of UKMMAF)
Tom (centre) with team mates in Vegas (image courtesy of UKMMAF)

The competition was part of the major Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Vegas, and Tom told South Leeds it was “a great experience, the trip of a lifetime” – but medals eluded him this time. He won first and second round matches against Romanian and Czech competitors – but came up short in the quarter final, losing on points against American fighter Dallas Jennings (who went on to win the silver medal).

Tom told us:

“Vegas was packed full of fight fans, and to be part of something that big was incredible. We (the UK team) all got on really well – but I also met and trained with loads of other fighters, veterans, and coaches from all around world, and learnt a lot from them. And people might be surprised, but – amongst those of us fighting – it was really gentlemanlike.”

“So, with the quarter final, I’m not afraid to shy away from the fact that I lost. He was better than me, I’ve no excuses, and I took a lot of positives from it. Like I always say, you win or you learn. I now know stuff to work on in my own game – and more than that, the whole trip just gave me a lot more life experience, and confidence.”

Next up, Tom is aiming for the World Fight Sports and Martial Arts world championships in Manchester in October, then – if he retains his place in the UK squad – the MMA European championships in Prague in November. And whilst he still hopes to go professional at some point, he plans to hold off for at least another year – enabling him to return to Vegas again next summer.

For more info on Tom, including a video of his quarter final match, click here. For more on the UK MMA Federation, including more on the team’s performance in Vegas, and opportunities to get into the sport, click here.