Ryan Dickson Puts 2013 Misfortune Behind Him with Win
By any standards, Ryan Dickson has had a tough year. The Joslin’s MMA product began 2013 by receiving a diagnosis of testicular cancer. Fortunately for Dickson, the disease was caught early and dealt with, leaving Dickson with a two month convalesence but a prognosis for good health in the future. With the cancer battle behind him, Dickson was able to return his focus to his MMA career.
A fight with rising Tristar prospect “The Dominican Nightmare” Alex Garcia was in the offing. Dickson was game, but came out on the losing end of a unanimous decision. That fight marked the first loss in Dickson’s career. While he is quick to congratulate Garcia on his effort, he remains convinced that if he had longer than three weeks to prepare for the contest things may have been different.
Dickson re-focused and entered the cage two week’s ago at Havoc FC 3 against Red Deer ATC product Advin Omic. With a full training camp behind him and being in “fantastic” shape, Dickson’s confidence was high. The results paid off in the cage as he was able to stop Omic with a rear naked choke in the second round.
“This was the perfect fight, perfect time, perfect opponent, everything went perfectly.” Dickson said. “It was a tough fight, Admin was way stronger than I thought he was going to be. It was beneficial, you don’t want to go in there against some can and just run through him. It doesn’t improve you or your record or your development as a fighter. So taking on Admin was great because he’s super tough and well-rounded. He’s got good wrestling, good striking, good ground and to come out of it with no injuries and a finish win was awesome.”
The fight was a welcome trip back to the win column for Dickson, made even better for the challenge it presented. Omic was able to land punches during the standing exchanges and hurt Dickson with a vicious leg kick. Omic also presented a challenge to Dickson on the mat with an effective guard that initially kept Dickson at bay. But through a bend of technique and dogged determination, Dickson passed Omic’s guard into mount, which eventually set up the fight-ending choke. Getting a finish was important for Dickson, not just to make a statement but to avoid going to the judges in Omic’s backyard.
“I thought I might have been able to steal the [first] round at the end with that punch to knock him down and take his back.” Dickson recalled. “But I think he controlled me along the cage in the first, so with it being his hometown, I thought I lost the round. I didn’t want to let it go to a decision. I said to myself ‘there’s no way he’s getting past the second round’. I’m glad that it didn’t go to the judges, hometown decisions can be a little sketchy. I’m glad I came out with the finish.”
Just getting a fight was a victory in itself for the Ontario native Dickson, as the province has suffered a dearth of events since the closure of The Score Fighting Series. Not counting the UFC, there are only two events scheduled for Ontario in 2013, June’s Substance Cage Combat show in Toronto and the planned Provincial Fighting Championships in London, scheduled for October 26th.
Fighting in Alberta proved to be a night-and-day scenario for Dickson, and he attributes the difference to the disparity in attitudes towards the sport between the Ontario Athletic Commission and the commissions in Alberta.
“The way they do it out there [in Alberta] is awesome. We were talking with one of the commissioners there and he was telling us that the way they do it there is so much better. I don’t understand why Ontario has so many issues. They haven’t had any issues or anything with safety in Alberta and they’re running multiple shows every week it seems like. I don’t understand what the problem with Ontario’s commission is.”
Dickson astutely identifies part of the problem as the head of the OAC, Ken Hayashi, whose opinion on the sport seems to range from indifference to outright contempt. Hayashi’s rumoured six-figure taxpayer-funded salary is a flat fee paid to him regardless of how many or how few shows the province approves. A stark contrast from some of the commissions in Alberta, who are paid strictly on a percentage of events.
“The commissioner [at the Havoc event], he makes almost nothing. He has to have another gig to make money. He gets paid per show and makes next to nothing. While Ken Hayashi runs one or two shows a year, he makes the same as he would if he ran a show every week. So why would he want to step up? He’s getting 100 G’s or something for one or two shows. He can let the UFC come to town once a year and then go do something else. It’s funny that we get excited here for two shows, while in Alberta they have two shows in one weekend. But we’re getting excited for two shows that we’ve only heard of. It’s crazy.”
While times have been trying for Dickson and the rest of the regional-level talent in Ontario, he has a silver lining in the offing. The upcoming TUF: Nations show, pitting Canada’s best young talent against that of Australia, kicks off this fall with the tryouts happening the day after UFC 165 in Toronto. Dickson will be front and centre to earn his opportunity to compete among the show’s Welterweights.
That may mean competing against fighters that Dickson has trained with before, but that won’t pose a problem, Dickson says confidently, as they’re all there for the same reason.
“Adam Assenza is a guy I’ve trained with a lot and he’ll be going out for 170 as well.I have no problem punching him in the face. For us, it’s just competition, it’s just fun. It sucks that someone has to lose and you have to take something away from them, but for me it’s just fun. I like to compete.”
With his health issues resolved and his career back on the winning track, Dickson appears to be firing on all cylinders. TUF: Nations could be the key that turns his fortunes once and for all.