Stout stands tall in a demanding, brutal sport

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 6:37 AM ET

His nose was a little flatter and fatter and he had two black eyes.

But Sam Stout also had a world championship belt.

The 21-year-old Londoner returned from Montreal where he won the TKO world lightweight mixed martial arts title in a punishing match against defending champion veteran Donald Ouimet of Montreal. Stout won with a split decision in Ouimet hometown in from of a sold out crowd of 3,000, many chanting Ouimet's name.

Stout fights out of the Team Tompkins gym in London. Mixed martial arts is an increasingly popular sport which emphasizes all forms of martial arts, as well as kickboxing and boxing. At the professional level it's a demanding, often brutal sport that puts the onus on speed, strength and conditioning.

"It was a pretty wild experience," Stout said. "I've done tons of fights in my life and this was the most nervous I've ever been going into one.

"Donald, was a good champion, a good fighter. I've watched him ever since I've started mixed martial arts.

"We were fighting in Montreal and he was a French guy, so the whole crowd was behind him, except for the small cheering section I brought with me. There was a lot of Donald Ouimet chants and not very many Sam Stout chants."

Stout attends Fanshawe College but will probably take a year off from his paramedics course to pursue his fighting career.

The mixed martial arts world, no-holds barred, ultimate fighter world spawns numerous claims of world champions.

"There's all sorts of groups who claim world champions but it depends what kind of world you're talking about," said Shawn Tompkins, the main man behind Team Tompkins. "TKO is one of the top four organizations in the world. This is a legitimate world championship."

Tompkins has several young champions, including Mark Hominick and Nick Rondinelli. Usually it takes a number of years for a fighter to develop the smarts to win a championship. But conditioning and competition have moved Tompkins' stable along quickly.

Stout, as an example, has fought in seven TKO cards in succession as well as having bouts in Japan. Stout believes conditioning gave him an advantage over Ouimet.

"My youth and conditioning started to show in the later rounds," said Stout, whose nickname is Hands of Stone.

"I was in better shape than he was. He was sucking wind a few times. I think three five-minute rounds was better for me than it was for him.

"When I got in the ring I was expecting him to take me down to the ground because he had more experience on the ground. But he wanted to stand up most of the fight, so it was mostly kickboxing versus boxing.

"I felt I controlled ring positioning better than he did and I was more aggressive, but there was a lot of punches thrown. It was by no means a one-sided fight, as you can see by the shiners I have."

Stout's worked hard to get here, training up to five hours a day.

When the ring announcer said the fight was decided on a split decision, Stout's heart was in his throat.

"I worried for a second, but when I heard him say, 'and the new lightweight champion,' I just sank to my knees and held my arms up," he said.

"If you get a split decision fighting the champ in his home town, I figure I deserved to win it. I would have liked it to be more decisive, to win by knockout, but I'll take what I can get."

A fatter nose, two black eyes and a championship belt. He got a lot.


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