There have been many different Twitter hashtag campaigns since the start of the social media program such as #witness which was in support of NBA star LeBron James and more recently this trend has taken to the world of MMA with campaigns such as #RallyforHunt which was in support of UFC Heavyweight Mark Hunt and his pursuit to get a big fight. Today we get to talk to the founder of one such campaign #BringittoAfrica in which 24 year old Nick Strickland (@BitaNick) is trying to gain the backing to bring MMA and a 5 star quality training location to Africa. He has a very interesting idea and has the backing from some big name companies and fighters! Take a minute to open your mind to this idea and see what Mr. Strickland has to say.
Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us here at Artofmma.com. Before we get into your #BringittoAfrica campaign could you tell us a little about yourself and what drew you to the world of MMA?
Strickland: First, I would like to say thank you for taking the time out to actually do this interview. I appreciate it more than words can explain. My name is Nick, and I’m 24 and originally Zimbabwean. I’m currently employed by Krispy Kreme in the United Kingdom. Yep, Donuts pay the bills haha. I’m very sports oriented, mostly focused on the contact sports such as NFL, Rugby union and all martial arts and boxing. First became mad about Mma way back in 2004, when I caught highlights on TV. First fighter I remember seeing was the ice man, since that brief encounter way back I fell in love. I knew from that moment this is where I wanna be, somehow or someway.
That is awesome and hey we all started somewhere in our career haha. So #bringittoAfrica, tell us about it and what started it?
Strickland: Basically what I want do, is get the first Mma compound built. A fully equipped martial arts gym, surrounded by outside training facility and living quarters where fighters and trainers can live during the period of their camps. Being a Zimbabwean and growing up in Africa seeing all the terrible things happening to people it’s always been a dream of mine to go back HOME and mark a difference. And I believe Mma will prove to be a huge factor in changing people’s lives.
That is a very interesting idea, especially from a 24 year old, I am impressed. Now out of all the places in the world, why Africa?
Strickland: I am an African, Africa made me who I am today, it is and will forever be in me and in my DNA. I wanna go back and help my fellow man. Everyone has a family to look after and I wanna help them do that.
That makes sense! Now doing my research I have seen a bunch of professional fighters and big name sponsors jump on board with you, can you talk to us about who they are and what they are doing to help?
Strickland: It all started with my good friend and UFC & Pride legend Kevin Randleman. It’s sprouted to many names, Costa Philippou, Jeff Monson, Stephen Thompson, Jimi Manuwa, Bobby Green, Soa Palelei, Daniel Strauss, Chris Saunders, Diego Sanchez, Michael Chandler and many, many more. I have done many giveaways with some of the above fighters in order to gain exposure for this project. I am still currently doing giveaways and have a big 1 for the UFC 161 card, giving away signed Dustin Pague fights shorts worn on the night. They will often RT my vlogs and just help me with advertisement. Every little bit helps 🙂
As Tommy Toe Hold told us, giveaways are the way to get people’s attention but all laughing aside this is pretty impressive man!! So I have to ask what is the end game here, what do you plan to accomplish?
Strickland: The end game is for there to be a successfully running mma gym in Africa. For the #BringItToAfrica campaign to be a huge success. Giving jobs and securing a nation. I want it to be a worldwide known gym that fighters in all disciplines would travel to come and train. For everyone to come and visit and see, I wanna shock the world. I want this to work not for self gain, but for the gain of the African continent.
WOW! Sounds like you have it all planned out which is awesome! How long have you been working on this and what obstacles have you had to overcome?
Strickland: I’ve been perusing this dream for just under a year. Most barriers I’ve run into are just people not taking me seriously. It seems as soon as I mention Africa everyone puts their head down and runs off. All I do is keep on keeping on. Just doing what I do, pushing the vlogs out, doing the giveaways and just letting everyone know I will not be ignored and that this project will happen. Remember, hard work pays off.
That is how all great movements start, I am glad to see you keep fighting for it. So with all this hard work you are putting in what do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
Strickland: My biggest accomplishment has to be getting my first sponsor. I am currently Sponsored by Future Legend clothing. They sponsor me to do my vlogs, I got personalized shirts to wear during the vlogs and to help spread the word. I have also now been given the exclusive rights to writing mma articles for piranhaguarduk. Also made into the most recent episode of the Tommy Toe Hold show! It helps me advertise my project and what I am trying to achieve. Also can’t forget all the great followers I have gained on twitter. Appreciate them all as if it wasn’t for them this would be a dead end.
I am glad to see you have got all this support this really does seem like something special, is there anything our readers can do to help?
Strickland: I need is for the words BRING IT TO AFRICA (or #bringittoAfrica) to be recognized and to be seen everywhere. To help me reach my goals, help with exposure. Just the support is what I need. Word of mouth is a powerful tool.
Well I think with the amount you are pushing this that will not be a problem. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us about this and everyone make sure to follow Nick on Twitter @BitaNick!! Have a good one!