– [Voiceover] Fighter, noun, a person with the will, courage, determination, ability and disposition to fight, struggle, resist. Seems simple enough but the people behind the noun are rarely that transparent. They overcome the misconceptions of the title everyday. Behind the fighter. The stories and life experiences that make them who they are. Behind the fighter. A person who redefines themselves everyday using the qualities and traits that make them successful martial artists. A fighter tackles life’s everyday challenges with the same will and determination that allows them to step in the cage with an opponent bent on stopping them. Fighter, noun. Fighters don’t need definition, they define.
– So I usually start off my day in the same way. I usually eat eggs and just some orange juice just to get my protein, vitamin C, yeah, it basically all has the same thing. So my parents lived in Iraq until when I was going to be born. When my mother was pregnant with me there was a civil war going on at the time and we were refugees so we moved out to Jordan and then after that, 40 days after I was born we came to Canada, we moved to Montreal and then from there we just kept on bounced around Canada. Went up to Toronto, Edmonton and then we ended up in Calgary and we’ve been living here for about nine years now, close to that. I think it waswhen they divorced. So ever since then, I think that was the last time I seen my dad, it was in 2010. He’s still in my life, he still sends us money whenever we need it, things like that. I’ve always loved boxing, even when I was a kid. We moved to Kuwait in 2007 and I was living there with my dad. It didn’t really work out. We just didn’t have the money to live and things like that. We moved back here but ever since I was a kid I was always telling my parents to sign me up with boxing because I always loved it. We didn’t have the funds and then in 2009 was when my older brother he signed me up for my first and then I still remember what he said to me. We were standing at the desk of thelegion and he looked at me and he was like, bro, finally something happened. Ever since then, I remember that and we always struggled with money wise and finances and everything like that. I do feel like I have the ability to hopefully make something happen. Hopefully, UFC and then go from there. I like that it’s one-on-one and you don’t have a team or anybody there. You can’t fail because of the team. If you fail it’s because of yourself. I like that individuality of it. I guess what I’m saying is, I’ve been on sports teams, I’ve played a lot of sports coming up and I was never really as good as the other kids and I didn’t even really have my heart in it. I hated the fact that if I failed, it was because somebody on the team wasn’t taking it seriously enough or something like that. Where as when you fight, it’s only you and yourself and if you win, you have nobody to congratulate but yourself and if you lose, you have nobody to blame but yourself. That was the main reason that I got into fighting. For me, the hardest part of fighting is just the constant finding it within me to have self belief. It’s always a battle within yourself. Am I really going to make it? Am I really going to be that good? Am I really as good as people say I am? That’s the hardest part that’s always been for me. Waking up every single day and trying to tell myself that I am really as good as people think I am. I guess every single day I just go in there, some days you have you off days. Some days you have your good day and you love being in the gym and some days you really just don’t feel like it at all. You go in there and then you make the best of what you got. It ends up becoming almost like a job. Even though you love it, it’s something that you have to do or else you’re not going to get the results like you want to get so it becomes hard at some points. I found out that I love it and that’s the reason I continue pushing myself and going there. I’ve always been a hard worker. If I ever set my mind to do something, I always tried my absolute best to achieve it and if I try my absolute best to achieve it, I always going to end up achieving it. Fighting has been the same way. I believed in myself enough to get in the ring and try it and then I believed in myself enough that when I did go in there and try it, I was going to win. And that’s what ended up happening and I feel like as long as I have the mentality, as long as I have hat mentality of just believing in myself and having the work ethic that I do and always finding someway to enjoy doing what I do, I’ll always perform at the levels and get the results that I want to out of it. This is how we eat. You just get the pita bread and you just make a little mini sandwich out of it and that’s how almost every Middle Eastern place that you go to, it’s going to be like that. That’s how we eat our breakfast. Even our dinner sometimes. We’ll have a piece of pita bread and just wrap up the rice. We don’t really use forks and knives and stuff like that. It’s different to a lot of people but it tastes really good. This right here is a ticket that I got when I flew out and met GSP. I did that when I just turned 19 years old. I did that by myself. Saved up some money and this is the hotel I stayed at for the first night because I had no friends or nothing, I was just slept by myself. Kind of weird but these are my first ever MMA hand wraps and then this is my fight card. This is my first ever kick boxing tournament. I won first place and that was when I was 17 years old I believe. That was basically my biggest achievement as far as fighting goes outside of MMA. I think that knowledge is very important. Me as a Muslim especially, we’re taught that knowledge is very important. There’s a quote that I heard from a person that I follow. He’s actually a great businessman. He’s like, whatever you’re looking for you will find in a book. That’s what I believe, honestly, I believe that’s like, whatever somebody’s looking for they’re going to find in one book or another. For example, my book is the Qur’an and I feel like I find a lot of my questions about life in the Qur’an and that’s where I find my peace and I find a lot of my answers about life in the Qur’an and I’ve yet to finish it all but that’s hopefully what I want to do for now. That’s my biggest objective as far as reading goes, finishing the Qur’an. We’re going to the Mosque right now. It’s about 10-15 minutes away from my house. I try to go, in Islam we pray five times a day. I try to get in at least two prayers a day in a Mosque. If not, I try my best to go there as much times I can per week. In my life personally, Islam is the thing, it’s my driving force. It’s where I find everything that I need to live. It’s my peace, my comfort, everything about it. It’s my motivation to be a better person. I try my best to safeguard my religion even though right now in the world, it’s really looked down on. Every time you hear the word Islam, it’s always associated with the word ISIS or terrorist or something like that. I know in my religion, it’s not like that. It’s all about peace and it’s actually a part of the reason that I fight. When people ask me why do you fight? I can’t really give them just a straight up answer of why I do it. There’s never just one particular reason that I do it. One of the reasons that I do do it is because of my religion. I always see negative images about my religion portrayed in the media so I just want to be somebody that, somebody that can basically, represent the religion of Islam in the rightful way. That’s one of my biggest goals in life. In my religion, it’s all about peace and taking care of one another. I’m always stuck in the delima between is this right and should I do it or should I not do it. It’s hard for me as a person to go in there and basically beat up somebody that never really did anything to me. But it’s just one of those things. I do find it hard but at the same time, it’s what I need to do. Everybody has a vision of what they want to do in life and my vision is to become a world champion and then from there, hopefully that will open up so many other doors that me and my family never had before that.
– Still training?
– Yeah man.
– Yeah? I heard you won your last fight man.
– Yeah I did.
– [Taqi] How was that?
– [Abbas] It was sick, why didn’t you come around? You were working right?
– Busy, busy man.
– Was it hard?
– It was okay. I don’t know, I don’t know.
– [Abbas] I expected it to go like that so. We just had to train for it.
– You scared?
– Not really bro because my first boxing fight was like, I was scared for that but I learned from there you know? I learned don’t let your emotions get the best of you. And I worked so hard so I wasn’t really too worried about it.
– Okay. How’d you win?
– [Abbas] Second round submission.
– [Taqi] Okay.
– Are you talking to me?
– [Taqi] I was joking.
– [Taqi] Still training?
– Now I’m starting to.
– Just mix it up, I’m not doing the same trainers all the time.
– [Taqi] Yeah.
– But I’m still trying to handle it. I have another fight probably coming up in January so. I got to work hard for that.
– [Taqi] Is it so much weight in?
– No, this time I stayed at a closer weight class so I don’tas much. Right now, I’m probably 165 something like that.
– [Taqi] Yeah, are you working?
– Yeah I’m working atright now.
– [Taqi] What are you doing there?
– Retail bro, just a I sell all this camping gear and stuff like that.
– [Taqi] Okay.
– But I’m not working too much. I’m working a couple of hours a week. Just basically for insurance and gym money and stuff like that you know?
– [Taqi] Yeah. So you going to UFC or what?
– Hopefully bro, that’s the dream man.
– All State yeah.
– What’s the plan?
– [Abbas] I don’t know, right now I just turned 20 so I want to have a year of amateur and then I’ll go what’s called Professional after a year. I’m always going to go back to school. Even in a couple of years. Regardless, even if I become champion of UFC bro, I’m going to go back.
– That’s good.
– Good, like it?
– [Taqi] Anything else man?
– No that’s god bro.
– [Taqi] That’s good?
– Yeah. So I’m at the Public Library beside my house. I’m meeting up with my friend who’s a part of the House of Dreams Team which is a group that me and my friends started in order to build an orphanage in Pakistan. Tomorrow we have a fund raising dinner event and we’re just going to go over some last minutes details today.
– [Girl] Are you ready for tomorrow?
– [Abbas] Yeah are you?
– Yeah hopefully. Who’s your presenter again?
– Did you talk to her?
– Yeah, I’ve talked to her but I haven’t confirmed what she’s going to be doing. She says she’s going to do something but I’m not sure what it is yet.
– Okay, can you also grab her bio fromjust so he has that tomorrow for the speech?
– Oh yeah, for sure, I’ll do that.
– I knew Abbas in high school but we really met when he posted something. He was raising money for an orphanage in Iraq and then I wanted to help him out and I told him, why don’t we just build one together? And that’s when we met up and then we met up with other people too who actually already had an organization called House of Dreams and they wanted to build an orphanage in Pakistan. So it was honestly like God was just opening doors for us so we jumped at the idea so that we can help out and now we’re here fund raising. We grew up with such an amazing childhood and we just wanted to give back and also with our religion too, you strive to help others. So it’s such a big thing for me and Abbas to help out and we were just given the opportunity so we ran with it. Abbas is like a teddy bear but no one really knows that. Yeah, he goes for what he wants and he’s really passionate about what he wants but he definitely has a soft side, people just don’t see it when he’s fighting.
– [Aaron] Abbas has great work ethic. He comes in, he puts in 110%. He really has a lot of drive, tenacity, he has a lot of willingness to better himself at this sport and that’s really what it takes to be good at this game and to keep getting better and to really be a champion.
– [Abbas] One of the things that I try to work on the most is just the dedication to it. Just trying to get myself to the gym as much as possible because I know my coach’s are going to be here and it helps a lot because we have a lot of fighters that come out of this gym so everybody’s always pushing each other to be better. This is where I find peace. This is where my home is. I’d rather wake up at 6am and be here every single day of my life than go to a job and work in an office from nine to five. This is what I find to be my way of expressing myself and in a sense, it is my calling, that’s what I feel like because I was always naturally gifted when it comes to fighting. Either boxing or wrestling or anything I was always naturally gifted in those areas and aspects so now I’m just going with what I got basically. My goals for the future are, I want to get to the UFC and I want to just climb up the ranks. I’m taking it one day at a time, one fight at a time and I want to climb up through the ranks and hopefully you guys will one day see me on the main screen and everybody will know me.
– Remember, when you’re striking, you keep him at a distance but we have that down pretty good and timing, speed. We’re just going to work on that, when we get on the inside, when we get nice and close to them, you always want to be working in to other submissions take downs stuff like that right? So that’s going to be our biggest focus when we train is you keeping a distance and knowing when I’m too close, to go for that take down or to shoot for something and if I’m going for a take down then you need to mover out and shoot for something okay? So yeah, I think that’s our most, most important thing we have to work on is just, as soon as he gets in on that too close for the striking and you want to turn out or something and he’s still pressuring, be the one to take him down. Make sure you’re moving around, you’re spacing, spacing, nice and quick. You always want to keep the guy away until you’re the one to take him down right?
– [Abbas] So I fight for a lot of reasons. One of them is to have my family get out of situations financially and I also do things on the side such as the orphance the House of Dreams thing to keep my morals in check and to keep me balanced between my own desires and what I want to achieve and what I’m here for, what I believe I’m here for which is to please my Lord and that is in my religion. I find that my religion and martial arts work hand-in-hand because they both teach you discipline and they both teach you to keep your head up even when things are not going your way. The one thing that I take out of both is, I know that they help me on my character and they both help me in different ways where martial arts helps me in my physicality and my religion helps me in my spirituality.
– Yeah it’s very gratifying as a coach because, you know, you’re helping him but he’s the one putting in the work so you’re kind of pointing him down the right road and he’s putting down the rubber really so. He’s always ready for a fight but the worse part for any opponent he has is when he has eight weeks for a fight, we’re going to put him in there and he’s going to do damage so, he’s a very tough kid.
– [Voiceover] Fighting, Hotel MMA University from Calgary, please welcome hard knocks fighter Abbas Faleh.
– [Voiceover] The striking from Faleh, very crisp here in the early going.
– [Voiceover] You can tell the boxing is really an asset for Abbas Faleh because he’s timing and he’s killing him with that jab.
– [Voiceover] There’s a good light kick from Faleh now as well.
– [Voiceover] Faleh’s really impressing here in the opening round of his MMA career. But there’s the tap though. Abbas Faleh, your winner here in round number two. And listen to the crowd go crazy for this young MMA youth fighter. Abbas Faleh is your winner. We’ll take a look at some of the highlights of the fight. We’ve got Faleh tossing him to the side. It really looked likejust had no answer for the boxing. That was where we got the point deducted but the striking of Abbas Faleh seemed to be on another level here in his amateur debut and comes away with a significant victory here in front of again, a rowdy crowd of fans.
– [Voiceover] The future’s very bright for this young man.
– [Aaron] What makes Abbas special I would say is his belief, his drive. There’s certain people you can tell when they know what they’re saying when they’re talking to you with confidence. Some people are born with it. Some people it takes them a long time to develop. Some people they don’t develop for their whole life. I personally think he’s probably born with it because he’s mature for his age. I’ve had some great talks with him where I talk he listens and that shows a lot of maturity from the younger generation and ultimately, what makes Abbas most special is that he knows he’s going to make it. He knows he’s going to make it. And that’s the most dangerous part for any of his opponents.
– [Abbas] The thing that always drives me more than, I believe, a lot of other people is my belief in my self. A lot of people don’t find it in their selves to believe in their selves and one thing that I’ve always been proud of and held true to was myself. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t really care what other people think of me. I know what I think of myself and I don’t look for approval of other people anymore. I feel confident and happy in what I do and that’s all that matters to me now.