Every highly-recognized athlete in the world of sports has had to adventure to the top. This adventure consists of hard times, hours upon hours in the gym, and other scenarios that shouldn’t be discussed in the presence of children. Nonetheless, the road to a superior status isn’t heavily traveled and the chances of actually reaching the end of this road are slim to none.

In the world of mixed martial arts, the opportunities are even fewer. Only a couple hundred individuals are selected to represent the world’s top promotion in the UFC. The others? Well, they fight just to stay relevant with hopes of someday crossing the bridge to the Octagon. But, with the open doors of The Ultimate Fighter, more than ever, fighters have the chance to make their name known to the world through a reality show.

On this show, individuals like Kenny Florian, Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin, and many others have evolved into the best of the best. Zane Kamaka, a contestant on the upcoming Ultimate Fighter show will now get his own opportunity to be apart of this prestigious group of men.

Kamaka (R) (Greg Honda)

Like many fighters, the road to this point in time was anything but easy.

“I was headed down the wrong path in life,” admitted Kamaka in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I started fighting in kickboxing when I was just 16 and then took up MMA when I reached 18 years old. I started training because of my dad as he kind of forced me into it.

“Every day after school, he would make me come straight home and train. It sucked in the beginning, but after my first fight, I was hooked. I started with a 6-0 amateur record and that’s when I decided to make this a career. I started racking up wins and pushed my professional record to 6-0.”

Kamaka’s perfect record was enough to get him noticed by the UFC as he received a phone call that would forever change his life. However, it wasn’t your average phone call. There was a twist to it.

“It’s actually a pretty funny story. I got a phone call one day from Gary, one of the Ultimate Fighter producers. The only problem, I didn’t know who he was at the time, and he began asking for Zane Kamaka. He told me that he was from a collection agency and was looking for money,” laughed Kamaka. “I hung up the phone right away.”

Kamaka (L) works for a submission (Greg Honda)

“He kept calling me back and I kept ignoring his calls. He finally left me a message saying who he was. I called him back and sure enough, it was the call that I made the show. I was at home by myself and I was so excited. I actually started to cry,” admitted Kamaka. “I’ve come such a long way and all my hard work finally paid off.”

From laughter to tears, Kamaka will now take his talents to the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will premiere this Friday, Sept. 14. With him, Kamaka will take his pure hard working talent and the motivation to represent his family on MMA’s highest stage. In fact, without his family or the sport of MMA, Kamaka believes that he may not only have never received this rare opportunity, but that he might not even be alive to this day.

“My family is my biggest motivation. They’re at all my fights and have sacrificed a lot to help my career. Giving them a better life is my motivation to fight, train hard every day, and sacrifice everything I have to be in top physical shape. Words can’t explain what it would mean to me and my family to win the show. It’s a life-changing opportunity,” said Kamaka. “I would give everything I have to be the next Ultimate Fighter.”

“MMA saved my life,” admitted Kamaka. “Without it, I would be in jail or dead.”

Photo:  Zane Kamaka (Greg Honda)

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