Not every MMA fighter trains at world renowned facilities like Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA. Not every fighter has access to millions of dollars worth of equipment at a whim. For Combat Games' Sean Kalinoski, he is struggling to work with hardly anything.
Born in Portland, raised in Hillsboro, Oregon Sean Kalinoski is a blue collar fighter through and through. After serving his country in the army, Sean returned home to further develop his passion of combat sports that he developed as a wrestler in high school. Kalinoski began training at Sharks MMA in Hillsboro a year and a half ago, and since then, he has been as active as any fighter can be. He has fought nine times in 18 months. After a busy year and a half, Kalinoski is ready to kick off 2017 with a victory at Combat Games' Breaking Point 3 on January 7th. There's just one problem...The Sharks MMA gym has been stripped bare.
An ownership dispute gone bad has left Kalinoski and his team with little to no gym equipment and a fight less than a week away to prepare for. The average person would see this situation as a reason to call it quits, but not Kalinoski. Sean has kept his nose to the grind as he prepares for his bout against Jason Ellis.
“One of the owners wants out, so he decided to take the whole gym down. He took every last piece of equipment with him. Mats, gloves, pads, wraps, you name it, it's all gone. Instead of getting discouraged, I've decided to persevere."
"It was an attempt to bring us down, but really, it’s only going to make us stronger," said Kalinoski’s head coach Troy O’Connor. "It’s not about the atmosphere that you train in, it’s about the mentality you train with. That’s what I’ve been telling my team, and Sean definitely gets that."
Naturally, legal action has been taken in an attempt to settle the dispute, but none of that will end in time for Sean's January 7th fight. He knows he must keep going.
“Even though it’s a mess, I show up to the gym anyways. We make due with what we have. We’ve actually been grappling on pieces of mat tapped together. As discouraging as this may be, I’m doing what I have to do. It’s easy to think about quitting, but I'm not giving up. Even if I have to go running on my way to the facility just to get that extra cardio work in, I'll do it.”
Kalinoski's strengths as a mixed martial artist are well-rounded to say the least. He has multiple knockout and submission wins proving he is dangerous everywhere. With that being said, he does not admire the two aspects equally.
“I love striking and I hate being on the ground. I’m just as good at each, but when I go to the ground I try to make my opponent pay for taking me down at quickly as possible. I’ve landed some slick arm bars and triangles in the past. That was all to send a message that you don’t want to take me there. I want to stand and bang."
Surely the folks at The Point Casino & Hotel will be looking for Kalinoski and Ellis to engage in a stand up war. Fight fans love a quality slug fest and Sean seems happy to oblige. These two could be on a collision course for fight of the night.
Despite having a completely stripped gym and enough turmoil to make a fighter pull out, Kalinoski is doing everything he can to prepare for the biggest fight of his MMA career. He's doing things his way and with his head held high. That's pretty admirable in our book.
If you would like to donate to Sharks MMA to help Kalinoski and O'Connor refurbish their gym, they have a gofundme.com page that you can visit by clicking the link below.
To purchase tickets for Combat Games' Breaking Point 3 head click here.