Kultar Gill: “I Want To Take Your Soul, Put It In A F***ing Jar, And Take It Home”
By Tom Taylor
On May 6, Kultar Gill (11-8) made a triumphant return to mixed martial arts after a near five-year absence from professional competition. Gill, an Indo-Canadian, made his return at Super Fight League 3, in New Delhi, India.
He walked to the cage adorned in traditional attire, brandishing a sword, engaging the crowd as he went. After the fight was waved on by the referee, Gill and his opponent, Quinton Arendse [19-9-1], began to circle. Just 51 seconds later, Arendse lay crumpled and unconscious on the mat.
Two days after his victory, Gill spoke with Full Contact Fighter about the win, from his hotel in New Delhi. He says his successful return to professional MMA has left him feeling like he’s on top of the world.
“I’ve lost my mind. I love it. The only thing I want to do in life is fight,” he said. “I’m back—bigger, better, stronger and meaner.”
The bout marked Gill’s first fight since 2008, when he retired following a submission loss to Joachim Hansen at Dream 5. At that point, Gill says he was no longer fighting for the love of it.
“I went into retirement, because I was like, ‘I don’t want to fight anymore.’ The last few fights of my career in K-1, I wasn’t really passionate about it. I fought for the money. I made some good money in K-1. That was the only aspect of it really—I didn’t give a f*** about anything else.”
Gill’s retirement from MMA did not imply a retirement from the work world altogether, however. During his absence, he managed to keep quite busy by opening his own gym, Mamba MMA, in Abbotsford, British Columbia. His gym has quickly taken off, and he is thrilled with its progress.
“My gym is massive. I’ve been putting guys in UFC tryouts, guys have been going to TriStar in Montreal, and Xtreme Couture. I’ve got guys fighting in Dream and winning over there, guys fighting on The Fight Network and fighting on HDnet, and now we’re in SFL. We’re taking over and that’s all that matters. What I want from my academy is to be the next Chute Boxe. I want people to fear the academy.”
Aside from the creation of his gym, Gill has kept busy by working as a correctional officer, a position he has held for 12 years, alongside his career as a fighter. Despite the full plate he has managed to keep while away from competition, he still missed MMA during his hiatus.
“Yeah, I missed it—I like to fight man. It keeps me sane. If I don’t fight, I don’t stay sane. I like fighting and I don’t mind taking a punch either.”
Eventually, this urge to fight reignited the competitive fire in Gill, and drove him to seek out a comeback fight. His retirement, he said, had come too soon.
“I realized I have more potential than that.”
Once he had decided on rejoining the professional MMA circuit, Gill says he was offered multiple fights before settling on SFL as the ideal avenue for his return. Finding a willing opponent, though, was not an easy task.
“SFL was looking for people all over the place. It was a lot of people, I know. I had some names thrown at me and then none of them wanted to fight,” he said.
“I told SFL I’ll fight anyone from 205 lbs to 154 lbs. This guy (Arendse) stepped up, and he was a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, with a record of 19-9, and I guess he thought he could outwrestle me on the ground. I think that’s what his plan was, but I’m pretty good on the ground too—I just haven’t showed it in my fights before.”
With the fight signed and a date set for his comeback, Gill’s training resumed. Despite a four-year layoff, ring rust was not something he was concerned about.
“I’m a born fighter man. I’ve been fighting since I was twelve years old. I don’t care about (how long I’ve been away from MMA),” he said. I’ll fight any man, anytime, anywhere. I’m not even looking for the win. I just want to get in there and fight. I want to take your soul, put it in a f***ing jar, and take it home.”
This confidence turned out to be justified, as Gill leveled his opponent with punches in the fight’s opening frame. While he did achieve victory, he says he initially had trouble keeping his composure in the fight.
“I’m not that stable – like Nick Diaz style. But then I heard my coaches saying, ‘Kultar, stay calm, stay calm.
“I almost lost in the fight, I was going crazy in my head, but then I heard that voice in the corner telling me to stay calm.”
From there, Gill turned on the offense. After the fight, he could no longer contain his excitement.
“After my emotional speech in Hindi, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I lost my mind,” he said of his post fight actions. He snatched the microphone from ringside commentator and fellow fighter, Phil Baroni, and threw it at the ground, before charging out of the cage and bulldozing a camera man.
“Shit happens,” he said.
Post-fight, Gill is thrilled with SFL, and the Indian fans.
“The fans are awesome. They love it,” he said. “MMA is new in India right now, and some people don’t understand what it means. People think it’s wrestling, but SFL is great, and SFL is going to be huge. This is going to be massive in India; just massive.” Gill predicts SFL’s success will be helped by its promotion of live Bollywood music in addition to MMA.
“Come for the concerts, stay for the fights. It’s beautiful. If you have ever seen an Indian movie, it’s come for the movie, stay for the songs. It’s the same concept for the fights and its massive here. All over the world people say it’s not going to work—well shut up world, it’s going to work. SFL is taking over.”
While he loved fighting in India, Gill says his next fight’s location will be determined by whoever offers him the best contract.
“Let’s see who brings me a contract, and that’s where we’ll fight.”
Gill recently had a failed bid auditioning for The Ultimate Fighter. He says it is probably for the best that he didn’t make the cut, however.
“I probably would have lost my mind in the house I think. It’s a good thing, I think, otherwise I’d probably be spending 10 to 15 years in prison,” Gill joked. Regardless of where his next match unfolds, his rekindled love for fighting will keep coming back to the cage for the foreseeable future.
“Why do people like fishing? Why do people ride bikes? Why do people run all the time? I don’t know. Why do I fight? I fight because I love it.”