MMA fighter teaching skills in Corner Brook

A man with years of training in mixed martial arts is now passing on his knowledge to local youth in Corner Brook.
D.J. Pike leads a mixed martial arts class in Corner Brook. (CBC )

A man with years of training in mixed martial arts is now passing on his knowledge to local youth in Corner Brook.

D.J. Pike trained for four years in Montreal trying to make it big in the popular sport, but finances forced him to move back home.

Pike said his passion was sparked from the very first MMA fight he watched.

"I became obsessed with it and I knew, in that moment, that I had to do it," Pike said. "I basically made a plan, got on a plane and flew to Montreal."

He said he went to the same gym as famed Canadian MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre, UFC welterweight champion.

"I went right to Tristar Gym, which is the home of Georges St-Pierre. I started training there with his original trainer, Firas Zahabi, and kept going from there for four years," Pike said.

But training and living expenses weren't cheap, and Pike was unable to keep up with the costs.

He returned to Corner Brook and took a job at the YMCA's Community Youth Network as an event planner.

'We kind of ragged on him'

It didn't take long for some of the teenagers he encountered there to learn about his MMA past.

Blake Loveless, one of Pike's students, said they wanted him to teach them what he learned in his four years of training.

"We figured that he already knew all this stuff, so we kind of ragged on him, nagged him and stuff, until he finally one day got us some mats and got us into the CYN, the little studio that they had, and we finally got to learn some new tricks and spar a little," Loveless said.

One day a week for the past few months, Pike has been teaching eager teens what he learned during his time in training.

"[It's] a whole lot of fun, because DJ knows everything, pretty much, [that] you need to know," Loveless said.

"He can show you it, and he can help you practice it on somebody else, so you know it for yourself."

Pike said he doesn't regret leaving to come back home.

"It was a great life experience, and now [that I am] training youth around here, just getting to pass on some of the things that I have learned, is definitely great as well," he said.

Pike said he first had three or four teens interested, but now his class brings in 10 to 12 a session.

With files from Jeremy Eaton