MMA Gym Offers Scholarship To Find Next Australian Star

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An MMA coach in Australia has organized a scholarship program in an effort to kick start the career of the country’s next big star.

Steve Walton, who owns Wolves Den gym in Perth, is aiming to find an up-and-coming fighter with the kind of drive and talent that could take them to great heights in MMA. Taking inspiration from Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand, Walton held tryouts in January to try and find someone that could put a one-year scholarship with Wolves Den to good use.

Walton runs Wolves Den and is also Australia’s coach for the GAMMA World MMA Championships. (Wolves Den)

“We’re putting them through their paces, seeing who has the passion and drive to push through these workouts to see who has the potential to get to where we need them to be,” Walton told Perth Now. “After COVID, everyone was really struggling with money so we thought it’d be a good idea to start this now.”

“We Need To Know That They’re Not Going To Give Up”

The scholarship is worth about $1,700, and Walton noted that the focus of the tryouts was less on finding the most technically skilled fighters and more about considering attitudes towards training.

“What I’m saying to guys and girls is that I’m not looking for any high-level skills during the tryout, I need to see the passion and drive and some sort of ability that we can build on…I can teach the skills in the gym and I can train them up to be a lot fitter than they are, but we need to know that they’re not going to give up.”

Perth is set to host a massive MMA event in February, as UFC 284 will be headlined by a champion-versus-champion matchup featuring Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski. “The Great” will be moving up in weight to try and claim a second title and is the most successful of a number of Australian fighters scheduled to appear on the card.

Possibly the country’s next big star will be kicking off the UFC 284 main card when Jack Della Maddalena faces UFC veteran Randy Brown in a welterweight bout. The 26-year-old earned a UFC contract with a decision win on Contender Series 2021 and established himself as a rising star last year after going 3-0 with three first-round finishes.