Calum ‘Mor Du’ Owens is a professional MMA fighter, coach and owner of House of Pain MMA based in Carnoustie, Scotland.
House of Pain MMA will be competing at Budo 21 in Grangemouth, Scotland on April 29, The Sprawl were lucky enough to get a quick fire Q&A in with Owens.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to The Sprawl, Calum. You’ve fought four times at amateur and once at professional level – how did it feel to become Carnousties first professional MMA fighter?
Proud. It wasn’t something I had thought about really until the opportunity came about. I don’t think pro debuts for 38-year-old fighters come around too often, so I was very thankful for the opportunity and saw it as a great way to promote the sport, not only in my home town but the whole of Angus.
Could you explain how you got the nickname ‘Mor Du’?
One of my former American colleagues’ daughter was watching Brave and said the characters sounded like me, when the Bear came onscreen she pointed saying “there’s Cal!” So the nickname stuck at work and I said if I ever fought, I would take it with me.
You are an ex-Special Forces soldier and a Hostile Environment Private Consultant, how did you make the transition from elite soldier to gym owner and coach?
I had to retire from active service due to injury and being diagnosed with severe PTSD. For a couple of years I was struggling with depression and anxiety, and found getting back into the gym and training helped immensely. I was able to carry a lot on from my experiences into my new life as a gym owner and can pass these onto my fighters as a coach.
Could you tell our readers about your gym House of Pain MMA and the fighters that are currently training there?
As one of the youngest fight teams in Scotland, we have progressed so much in such a small space of time with one of our fighters, Jonathan Moreland, recently facing and defeating a top prospect from one of the best gyms in Europe. We have a wide range of abilities training at the gym with an ever-growing fight team, junior MMA classes and a ladies only class. We are also lucky enough to have a champion backhold wrestler in Frazer Hirsch training with us and covering all aspects of wrestling for MMA.
Budo 21 recently confirmed their first six fights to The Sprawl and three fighters – Fraser Hirsch, Brent Battley and Daniel Glenday – from House of Pain MMA have been selected to compete. What should fans attending the event expect to see in terms of performance?
Frazer is on a tear right now. He is focused in training and has been working on his weaknesses that were highlighted in his first fight. What can you expect? A Big Slam!
Brent makes his debut at 18-years-old, coming from a karate base and again has been working tirelessly covering all aspects of the fight game. He is one of the quickest learners in the gym…if also the cheekiest.
Daniel is coming off a loss and has been desperate to get back into competition since that fight finished! This boy is going looking for a scrap, so hopefully his opponent is up for it and we see some fireworks.
What do you think is the best aspect of coaching young up-and-coming fighters entering into MMA training for the first time and eventually into the cage to compete?
It’s amazing watching the transformation from a young nervous kid at their very first training session to a novice competing at their first interclub, then making that walk through a sold out crowd and stepping into the cage. I think every coach will agree that fighters become like family. We have a brotherhood at HOPMMA and no-nobody enters that cage alone. We have fighters at our gym that, given the proper guidance and making the right choices, could go as far as they desire in this amazing sport.
Lastly, what does 2017 have in store for Calum Owens and House of Pain MMA?
BUSY! Our fight team are committed to events and competitions for most of this year and are lucky enough to have a great relationship with promoters and other fight teams around the country, so it’s always a great atmosphere backstage when we compete at events.
Personally, I am looking at building the gym and expanding the training available to the fighters. Competitively, I have a K1 bout arranged on the 18th of March and hope to compete at professional MMA at least three times this year with a possible bout outside of Scotland.
Details about the House of Pain MMA gym can be found on their Facebook page HERE.