By Caoilte de Barra
Wales athlete Ellis Clement is set to make history for the federation by becoming the first athlete to graduate from the youth team to the junior and senior setup.
Training out of Chris Rees academy, Ellis was hooked after his first session in 2014. After learning about IMMAF, he made it his mission to represent his country.
“My first goal was to try out for the 2019 IMMAF team, upon my success I travelled to Rome with the Welsh squad, beyond proud to represent my country at international level. MMA means everything to me, it has mapped out my lifestyle, my futures dreams, aspirations and how I conduct myself. I love the science behind the sport, the motivation, the endless opportunities it gives me and my work ethic. All contributing to inspiring me to become the best in the world.”
And becoming the first athlete to graduate through the ranks is an achievement Ellis is incredibly proud of.
“To be the first Welsh athlete to have partaken within the first ever IMMAF youth championship and then to continue onto the next level is something I am extremely proud to have achieved. Becoming part of history, paving the way and encouraging other young Welsh and international fighters to aspire for the same goals and dreams, to show them it’s achievable gives me so much pride, I am proud to represent my country, I will carry the dragon on my my back with pride and respect, for myself, my country and my sport.”
In the youth ranks there are no headshots, Ellis has since has competed regionally under full amateur rules going 3-1. He is also a British grappling champion and part of the Welsh set up for Grapple Kings. So, compared to his last IMMAF outing he explained how competition training has altered this time around.
“The preparation and fight camp I endure is far more complex in every aspect than when I was a youth contender. I train daily with Draig, our professional Welsh squad at Chris Rees academy, under Chris Rees, Ash Williams and Aidan James. My coaches and teammates help put me through my paces daily, mentally and physically. To fight at this level, preparation is key, training, diet and mentality.
“Focusing on the upcoming European tournament, I can not wait to display my skill set and to show how much I have grown as a fighter, progressed and improved since my 2019 debut as a youth cadet.”
Ellis also has quite the unique nickname, “the Welsh Nightmare”, given to him from teammate Roan Crocker after a tough training session turned into light hearted fun on social fun on social media.
“After a heavy training session at CRA with Scott Peterson and Roan Crocker, we were messing around and having a laugh on the bags. Scotty began to film me for his Instagram story, to which I turned to the camera jokingly and said “I’m the future bantamweight UFC champion”. Roan followed with “ he’s the Welsh nightmare”, Thus “ The Welsh nightmare” was born.
Watch the 2022 IMMAF European Championships live and exclusively from Bella Italia Efa Village in Lignano Sabbiadoro (Italy) from 27 September and 1 October 2022 at immaf.tv, with the tournament draw taking place on 26 September.