We recently attended the huge open weight fighting contest, Jigoku, at Poulton Vics in Wallasey. The extravaganza featured a number of fights between MMA fighters, Muay Thai fighters, kick boxers, Brazilian Jujitsu artists, karate fighters, wrestlers and more.
It was some showcase and not the aggressive, pumped up masculine event you’d expect — it was competitive, yes, but held in good spirits with a great atmosphere and camaraderie. This is due to the founder and organiser, Dave Faulkner, and his positive philosophy.
In this feature we catch up with Dave — a good man and a legend of the Liverpool fighting scene. Dave Faulkner is the first Scouse Ultimate Fighter, 1 time MMA World Champion, 2 time World Submission Wrestling Champion, 1 time World Arm Wrestling Champion, a multi-time judo, freestyle and submission wrestling Champion, a black belt at K1 kick boxing and ex Coach of the England WMKF submission wrestling squad.
Dave has also been a sparring partner of Mike Bisping, a training partner of Quinton Jackson (Mr.T in The A Team), a bodyguard of Idris Elba and other celebrities and is a respected Liverpool doorman. A voice for anti-bullying, the No More Knives campaign and a respected referee, actor and author, Dave is one of the good guys of the fight game and a fascinating character.
Here’s our interview as we get his opinions on Jigoku, wrestling, the UFC and more….
LVL: How did you get into wrestling?
Dave: I love this question because I love thinking about my childhood, there’s magic in those memories and I say people should reminisce regularly. Anyway, back to the question. I first watched wrestling at the age of 2 in 1982. ITV World of Sport! I was hooked in an instant! All I talked about was wrestling, well and He-Man, but even my He-Man figures started sorting their beef out with Skeletor via wrestling matches!
So we fast forward to 1991 at the Kirkby Sport Centre. While my mates were getting a “legger” off the attendants of the venue I was playing the surprisingly top quality arcade machines. one of the kids I was with came running out to me and said “There’s fellas cuddling and making rude noises in here!”. I refused to believe it but I investigated. As soon as clamped eyes on what was going on I just knew this was some sort of wrestling, time seemed to slow down, like I was walking into my destiny. I become a regular at the club, Kirkby Vikings, and the rest is history.
LVL: What’s the wrestling scene like these days?
Dave: So firstly I have to clear this up. The wrestling I watched in 1982 and similar organisations like WWE is called Professional wrestling and is “worked”, which means the outcome of the bout, also certain action during said bout are pre-determined. The wrestling that the “cuddling fellas” were doing is called amateur/freestyle wrestling and is a legitimate sport that contested in the olympics.
So now that’s been addressed, the Professional scene is absolutely booming! The amateur side, we have the talent but we don’t have the backing, so most wrestlers are moving over to other combat sports like MMA.
LVL: Tell us about your time in the UFC and being the first Scouse Ultimate Fighter.
Dave: That fact didn’t hit me until way after the show when I was prepping for another interview. With regards to my time there, I had an enlightening experience. I’d managed to win my first fight while having no skin on the bottom of my right foot and five days notice. I met some awesome people one the show, Dana White not being one of them.
It was just hard luck getting a staph infection and bronchitis at the same time. I was a strong favorite from the start but I was confident enough to have another crack at it one day. To be honest, I’d fell out of love with MMA around that time and was only doing the show for court funds. That’s another story all together.
LVL: What do you think about the UFC today?
Dave: I’m not a fan anymore due to, firstly, silly childhood reasons. Fighters use to look like action figures. They mostly look like malnourished teenagers. Secondly, and most importantly, the promotion of negativity! Without sounding like a cheese-ball, kids watch this now! Kids tend to emulate these people.
When you’ve got these grown men saying ridiculous and vile things to each other, bare in mind that the day before they were announced to fight didn’t acknowledge each other, kids think that’s how you get ahead in the sport and start talking to other kids like this, it’s a joke!
LVL: What was it like being bodyguard to celebrities?
Dave: Any interesting stories to tell us? I’ll do a quick fire round, like a game show! Kurt Angle was a straight up cool dude! Idris Elba needs to smoke less pot! Mickey Dolenz was not aware that he was in Rob Zombie’s Halloween!
It’s been good but I always got these jobs by chance, I never went looking for this type of work. They all get the vibe when you’re not starstruck. they either hit with all their accolades, try to impress you with sexcapades or just talk to you like a normal person.
LVL: How did you get involved in the No More Knives campaign?
Dave: Through the founder and also my friend, Paul “Boom Boom” Bentley. I mostly referee his charity fight shows but I’m looking to get more involved…so watch this space.
LVL: What next for Dave Faulkner?
Dave: Since I got into a spot of bother with the law, which I should have received a medal for and not community hours! I lost a lot of work due to losing my work permits and I also had to shut my gym down. I’d been down this path too many times and to quote Einstein “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” so a change of momentum was in order!
I got a major movie role, as the baddie no less, which I done all the fight choreography for. I’ve also been living a childhood dream by doing a bit of Professional Wrestling but the door is always open for new ventures though!
Check out Jigoku on FACEBOOK!