Final Act of Waterhen’s Fight Career Could Be Set in Cold Lake


(King of the Cage Canada Press Release) 

Elmer WaterhenIf more fighters lived by the creed of Elmer Waterhen, mixed martial arts might have become more about fighting the best and testing skill versus skill, and less about protecting records and cherry-picking opponents.

“I don’t care what people think about me. I love to fight and I’ll fight anyone anywhere. I fought [number three ranked UFC welterweight and former KOTC welterweight champion] Rory MacDonald on 48 hours notice,” the 39-year-old Saskatchewan native points out. “I don’t pick my opponents. I fight to test myself against the best. Even if I have a 99 percent chance of losing, there’s still the one percent chance that I could win.” 

For the self-taught fighter who began training at age 29, fighting was rehabilitative. He believes that the happenstance that led to him finding mixed martial arts came from a higher power.

“I was walking down the street in Saskatoon in 2003, and I was praying to God to help me get away from drugs and alcohol, and a flyer blew right into my path on the sidewalk. It said, ‘Want to fight?’” Waterhen recalls. “I took that as a sign that this was what I was supposed to do. I started training the next day and have been at it ever since.”

10 years and 36 (six amateur and 31 pro) fights later, the King of the Cage Canadian middleweight champion will likely fight for the last time Friday night as he takes on Lindsey Hawkes in a 180-pound catchweight bout in the main event at KOTC: Out Cold in Cold Lake, Alberta. It’s fitting that “The Warrior” will be pulling on the familiar yellow gloves for his record twenty-sixth KOTC Canada bout.

Elmer Waterhen lands a punch (photo by Jason Bouwmeester|TKO Photography)

Elmer Waterhen lands a punch (photo by Jason Bouwmeester|TKO Photography)

“When I met [KOTC Canada president] Ken Kupsch in 2005, he told me that if I fought well and enjoyed fighting for him, I would always have a home with King of the Cage. I really enjoyed fighting for [the promotion],” he fondly remembers. “I don’t have the best record, and they always gave me good fights so I could prove myself, and I think I did that by being entertaining and by winning the middleweight title.”

Although he isn’t closing the door on his MMA career completely and decisively, Waterhen, who is planning to attend university in the New Year to become an addictions counselor so he can help those like him who have faced a dangerous crossroads, says that life may prevent him from competing again.

“I’m going to move back to my reservation when I’m done university in two years. I’m hoping that I can help not only people who live there, but people from any culture who need help from someone with firsthand knowledge, whose been there with the struggle with drugs and the bottle,” explains Waterhen. “I love fighting, but it’s always just been a hobby to me. That being said, I’ll fight anyone. If I got a call tomorrow that the UFC couldn’t find someone to fight Vitor Belfort, I would take the fight. Even if I lost that fight, I would never regret not having tested myself against the best opponents I could.

And test himself against the best opponents available he did.

Besides MacDonald, who is in line for a title shot if he gets past Robbie Lawler Saturday night, Waterhen’s fight resume includes notables like number one UFC lightweight contender TJ Grant, former UFC middleweight Jesse Bongfeldt, and Rings and Strikeforce vet Falaniko Vitale.

Although all three challenged him in different ways, Waterhen points to two other bouts when asked which one was his favourite, and which was his toughest fight of his career.Elmer Waterhen 2

“My favourite fight was against Jacob MacDonald. He was a friend and I knew him well, which made it very tough to punch him in the face. But we put our friendship aside that night and we fought and we were still friends afterwards. He passed away a little while ago,” Waterhen solemnly points out. “My toughest fight was against a fellow native by the name of Victor Daychief. We went to war, and after that fight I vowed to myself that I would never fight another [aboriginal] fighter. We bring out the warriors in each other.“

As far as his imminent and probably final career bout against Hawkes Friday night goes, Waterhen says it’s just another fight.

“I think he asked for the fight. I’m not sure. I’ve never picked any of my opponents. I just take whoever I’m offered. I’ve never been one to [smack] talk. It just makes you look bad. I’m just going to go out fighting like I always do,” he says. “Hopefully I win and entertain the fans. I’ll leave it in God’s hands like I will my decision to retire or not retire.”

10 Responses to “ Final Act of Waterhen’s Fight Career Could Be Set in Cold Lake ”

  1. Nice story on turning life around and looking to give back to the community.

    I regret never seeing Elmer fight live. Seems like a real class act.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  2. Bdc says:

    Great article elmer i hope you decide to still do a few more fights and still go on with university.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  3. Hawkes says:

    A true honour to compete against such a good guy. I don’t ask for opponents… Curtis sets up my fights. However this one will be really fun to be a part of.

    I wish Elmer well in every aspect.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  4. PUCK says:

    Elmer is a great person and a pure class act. Always was great at the fights to talk to afterwards and was very respectful to everyone (i saw) him fight. KOTC Canada should make him there first Hall of fame member!

    Well-loved! Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  5. Nick Penner says:

    Well Keith, you missed out. Elmer may not be the most talented fighter in the world but he brings it every time. I can honestly say that I’ve always enjoyed watching every fight that I’ve seen of him.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  6. Jay says:

    I was at the card when Elmer fought Victor. That was an epic scrap put on by one of the shadiest promoter’s on the planet.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. Graham Spencer says:

    Love watching Elmer fight, he leaves it all in the cage and is a great guy.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. Well written piece.

    I’m pumped to have Elmer on a card I’m matching and against Hawkes is even better.

    2 exciting fighters who aren’t afraid to fight anybody and both Waterhen and Hawkes are both way better than their records show.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  9. EPerez says:

    Props to Elmer. Seen 4 or 5 of his fights. All beauties. Good luck following your fight with Lindsey.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. sexmagnet says:

    Elmer is so sexy, I am going to hunt him down after the fight. Win or lose he’s going to get a prize from me. Meow…… can you say titty fu@#

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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