By Alesha Capone
Tarneit man Andrew Collicoat, who will participate in his first-ever MMA cage fight at the weekend, says he hopes to inspire others.
At age 13, Mr Collicoat was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of a spinal cord section, which damages insulating material covering nerve cell fibres and interrupts messages which the nerves send through the body.
Mr Collicoat said doctors told him he might never walk again.
He spent four years seeing a physiotherapist almost daily and was able to walk unaided, but to this day he has no movement in one ankle and restricted movement in other parts of his body.
Mr Collicoat said this did not stop him when he decided to “get fit” some years ago.
He joined the Resilience Training Centre in Footscray and lost 30 kilograms doing crossfit.
He also took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has won his division at the Pan Pacific Jiu-Jitsu Championships for the past three years.
Success, he says, he could not have achieved without the staff at Resilience Training Centre, particularly his coach, Olympian and professional UFC fighter Daniel Kelly.
Mr Collicoat said when he decided to enter the Wimp 2 Warrior Challenge at the centre last year, Mr Kelly was supportive.
Wimp 2 Warrior, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) program, involves six months of intensive training.
At the program’s end, participants take part in an MMA cage fight.
Mr Collicoat, who works in Sunshine, said he hoped his journey would inspire others, including those with a disability, to take on new challenges.
“People sometimes think, ‘that’s beyond me’, but you never know until you have a go,” he said.
The Wimp 2 Warrior Melbourne finale will be held at The Plaza Tavern, Hoppers Crossing, 4-8pm on Saturday.
Tickets: $45-$70, see www.eventbrite.com.au to book.