In sports, we hear stories of sacrifice all of the time. Athletes are forced to give up some of life’s pleasures to devote the time necessary to keep themselves in position to compete professionally. It may be as simple as passing on a steak dinner and eating a salad instead, or it may be as significant as giving up all of their free time to train in the few available moments they have in between caring for their family and working two jobs because their sport doesn’t provide the income to sustain a lifestyle of full-time training.

What we don’t hear about often enough is the sacrifice of others to make the athlete’s dream a reality. These people sacrifice things too. They sacrifice within their own life not to further their own dream, but to do their part in fulfilling the dream of someone they love. Mixed martial artist Brentin “No Name” Mumford would not be able to train and compete as a professional fighter if not for the efforts of one of these generous individuals.

“My partner, Ashley, sacrifices so much for me to be able to do what I do,” Mumford revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “She works as a nurse on the night shift, so she works from 9:30 at night until 7:30 in the morning, and as soon as she gets home I have my son all ready to go and then she takes him to school. She sleeps for a couple of hours and then does everything in the afternoon. She cooks for him, she does everything. Without her support and all of her sacrifices, there is no way I’d be able to chase this dream. She gives up so much for me to do this, and it’s something that I will be forever grateful for.”

To get to Shindo New Breed on the Gold Coast where he trains out of, Mumford has to drive for over an hour and a half each way and cross state lines in the process. It’s his own little bit of sacrifice that he goes through in order to continue to train in an environment that he knows is going to get him the results he needs.

“The only way to be successful in this sport is to commit 110 percent to doing whatever it takes to be successful,” he explained. “You can’t go into it half-assed, otherwise you’ll be forever shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll always be there thinking about what you could have done if you put all your effort into it.”

The path towards mixed martial arts wasn’t exactly a traditional one for Mumford, but a sporting background and being a naturally competitive person made it possible for things to fall into place for him eventually.

“I’ve always been a competitive person. I used to compete in roller hockey and ice hockey, but after my son was born, about six years ago, I kinda went off the rails,” Mumford admitted. “One day, a few mates told me to come to the gym and start training a little bit. I remember when I lived in Canada back in 2005 I used to see UFC on TV and stuff, so I knew what it was all about. I thought I’d go along to the gym to check it all out.

“It wasn’t even full MMA training. It was mainly Thai and a bit of no-gi grappling, but I really enjoyed it. After a little while the chance came up to have a fight and I thought I’d compete, and that was only three years ago, and after that I haven’t looked back.”

All five of Mumford’s professional fights have taken place under the Fight World Cup banner, so it seems fitting that he is fighting for the promotion’s welterweight title against Shane Gregory. There is no particular reason that Mumford has only fought for Fight World Cup, but he’s been happy with the success that has followed.

“It’s just kind of worked out that way,” he admitted. “Nobody else has really ever offered me a fight. I’ve asked for them, but I’ve never gotten any offers. Kerry [Dunne, Fight World Cup promoter] has always had fights for me, and I know that I’ll never have dramas getting a fight.”

Since shifting from competing at middleweight to now fighting in the welterweight division, Mumford has amassed a three-fight winning streak. It only took one win at his new weight for him to realize he’d found a new home. The reason for his move down in weight is something that he will never forget.

“In my mind, I’m 3-0,” he said. “Those other two fights were at middleweight and that was when I didn’t really wanna cut weight or anything [laughs]. My loss was against a guy who cut 12 kilos [26 pounds] to get to middleweight, and there I was at 86 kilos [189 pounds] on fight day and he was weighing around 95 [211 pounds]. I lost by decision, so I didn’t do too badly, but that made me decide that I’d be better suited at welterweight and [I] actually started to give [fighting] a proper crack.”

When a championship belt is on the line, there is often so much at stake for a fighter, and even moreso when the tryout for The Ultimate Fighter is just around the corner. It’d be easy to get wrapped up in winning a title just to have another box ticked for the UFC brass at the tryouts, but that’s not what it’s really about for Mumford. His true purpose in leaving that cage with the belt at Fight World Cup on Aug. 3 is to make all of Ashley’s sacrifices well worth it.

Brentin would like to thank Brad at Nine12MMA, Jason Clarke, Juliano Machario, Kerry Dunne, his striking coach Richie, Peter at Lismore Chiropractic, Leo’s Food Bar, Josh at Lismore Therapeutic Massage, K-OED Fight Gear, Nine12Fitness and, of course, Ashley, his partner. Follow Mumford on Twitter: @BrentinM

Photo: Brentin Mumford (Facebook.com/BrentinNoNameMumford)