The Ultimate Fighter
Can the highest of highs even come close to overpowering the lowest of lows? Kolton Englund hopes to find out on Sunday.
Following a dominating effort at LFA 43, Englund was 6-2 with a hefty buzz around his name. Aside from getting both losses back, getting in front of UFC President Dana White was one of the only things left for “The White Assassin” to do on the regional circuit.
After taking a few months off to prime his body for the most important fight of his life, Englund geared up to put on a show for White that would land him exactly where he was born to be, the UFC Octagon.
Despite the help from his team and his parents every step of the way, training camp was miserable. Mentally, Englund was ready to fight the entire LFA roster if he had to, but physically, things were far from okay.
“My body was hurting all the time and every two weeks my body would lock up,” Englund said. “My shoulders and my hips lost every bit of flexibility. I literally couldn’t even walk or use my arms anymore. After the one-minute run I would lay down on the treadmill and I would catch myself falling asleep for like 30 minutes at a time in the middle of the gym.”
🚨 6️⃣ #TeamIridium killers strap up for @FuryFightingTX this week in #Houston, LIVE on @UFCFightPass 😎 Take care of business, @whiteassassin34, @IvyAquaman, @josejohnsonmma, @ManaBoi7, @ferpadillamma & @Jacobsilva125 🙌🏼 #TheDarkside pic.twitter.com/tABB817xfR— IridiumSportsAgency (@TeamIridiumISA) May 10, 2021
In true warrior spirit, Englund thought now was the time to push harder. This wasn’t a sign of weakness; it was a time to step up. The weaker he got, the harder he pushed all the way up until fight night. With Dana White in attendance, a huge crowd and an electricity in the arena rarely felt outside of the UFC, Englund made weight with strong help from his mother, and he was ready to go until it was very clear he wasn’t.
“I was in the back trying to warm up and there were two fights ahead of me, live on TV,” Englund recalls. “My body just completely locked up. I threw a kick and my leg locked out and I fell and hit my head on the tile floor. I couldn’t catch myself. My arms wouldn’t work.”
His parents called the fight off in the nick of time and Englund was rushed to the hospital. What seemed like almost excessive blood work was being done before the family was given news that made pulling out of a fight in front of UFC brass seem like a breeze.
Englund was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.
“I was laying in the hospital and my parents were next to me,” Englund said. “The main doctor came in and was scared to say it in front of me, kind of whispering but then he had a scared look on his face also and he was like, ‘I don’t know how much time you have left.’”
After a second opinion confirmed Englund’s fears, he and his family were told training was over, fighting was over, it was time to let chemotherapy and a drug trial run its course.
With encouragement from his mother, Englund chose to let the chemotherapy and drug trial run its course, but the fighting days were far from over. Two outta three ain’t bad.
“She was all for it,” Englund laughed. “She was all for me going and training. Most moms would be like, ‘Hey, listen to the doctors.’ My mom was a nurse, herself. I feel like she knew what I wanted, and she wanted me to be happy.”
Immediately after visiting the doctor, Englund changed clothes and went to the gym. Every day was the same: drug trial, eat healthy, drink a couple gallons of water, train. Englund’s training didn’t slow down, it intensified. He was even able to make a trip to Brazil and get his BJJ black belt.
I legit got the goosebumps when I saw @josejohnsonmma would step up to challenge @ManaBoi7 for his @FuryFightingTX title at #FuryFC46 next week. This could be one of the greatest fights in Houston, ever!@UFCFightPass #LookinForAFight #HoustonMMA #MMA https://t.co/EPnVBVMlcS pic.twitter.com/bxQqHDEtJu— Mike Jackson, Esq. (@TheTruthJackson) May 6, 2021
Something about Englund’s regimen seemed to work. Whether it was the water, the drive or the extra shot of pre-workout every day, Englund baffled everybody when he found out that he was in remission. His doctor, his dad and, of course, his mom were in utter disbelief and relieved shock.
The greatest news of his life was followed up immediately with even worse news than before. Shortly after becoming one of the fastest people to ever beat CML Englund’s life was turned upside down yet again.
“I was the first person on the trial to beat leukemia and as soon as I beat leukemia my mom passes away from having a stroke,” Englund said through tears.
She was the rare mother who not only supported her son’s venture in fighting but was excited about it. Beyond that, a huge factor in every single one of Englund’s camps.
He didn’t just lose his mother, he lost his favorite teammate and a key motivating factor. Englund was inches away from being a guy who used to fight, and she saved him.
“She always did my weight cuts,” Englund explained. “She would control my diet. She would help me with my weight. If I walked into the kitchen, she would pull me out. It would always be her waking me up early in the morning. She always pushed for me to be the best fighter that I could be.”
A year and a half after being announced cancer-free and the passing of his mother, Englund is back, full circle at Fury FC 46. Back in the cage, back in front of Dana White. As if that wasn’t poetic enough, his second audition for Dana comes only one week after Mother’s Day.
Had things went differently at all, Englund wouldn’t be here today. Had the drug trial gone wrong, he likely wouldn’t be here. Had he been hit in the spleen the night his body locked up, he likely wouldn’t be here. While it is all in front of him again, it’s very hard to say that Kolton Englund’s return to Dana White Lookin’ For A Fight “worked out nicely.”
Englund admits that the lows he’s felt in the last two years will overpower any highs that may come from Fury FC 46, but a renewed mobility and motivation puts a lot of pressure on opponent Kenn Glenn come fight night, and with the guardian angel he feels is watching over him, little will stop Englund from the performance of a lifetime.
“I’m sharper than I’ve ever been and I’m going to be the best version of myself,” Englund said. “I fight with every single thing I have. I will fight to the death. It sounds over the top, but this is everything to me.”
Catch the return of Kolton Englund at Fury FC 46 Sunday, May 16, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!