Local MMA athlete wins unexpected scrimmage

·2 min read

A local mixed martial arts athlete has recently claimed a victory in an unexpected fight during a training trip in Columbia.

Gabe Durocher, while training abroad to hone his skills in the ring, as well as to develop Spanish as a second language, was presented last month with a sudden opportunity to compete in the SBF Tournament.

“One of my coaches asked me if I was interested in fighting down there … and I said yes, of course, then nothing really happened, I didn’t really hear anything of it,” said Durocher. “Then, a few weeks before I got back to Calgary they asked me if I would take a fight on nine day’s notice.”

Durocher he began training in martial arts as a little kid, picking up Taekwondo and Karate. Enjoying those, but wanting more competition, he branched out into mixed martial arts.

He started training in Strathmore before migrating to practicing in Calgary following the closure of the Apex gym.

“What gets me excited most about mixed martial arts is that it’s constantly evolving and changing … There are so many different variables and that’s the thing that keeps me excited,” said Durocher. “There’s just so many different things that that can happen and there’s so many different styles. That’s what gets me going.”

Durocher described his opponent in Columbia as a “striker,” which refers to someone who favours stand-up fighting – striking with their hands and feet at their opponent.

Durocher described himself as not leaning towards any specific fighting style, and being very adaptable in the ring.

“How to deal with the strikers, you just take them to the ground where they can’t strike,” said Durocher, who is currently aiming to take fights in Calgary as he continues to train and develop his skills.

Though he feels being smaller in stature has presented a challenge to him, it has not stood in his way from competing on the national and international stages.

In May, Durocher won the Greco-Roman Wrestling National Championship. He added he has also competed several times in the United States.

“Here in Canada, there’s not too many people my size so finding competition was a little bit difficult. I always had to fight people bigger than me. But I feel like at the end of the day, that helped me,” said Durocher, who along with building on his athletic career, hopes to one day pursue coaching and giving back to the next generation of athletes after him.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times