On the Rise: Fit Plus Fighter Chris Kelades Eyeing Big Fights in 2014
By Kelsey Mowatt
Chris Kelades may not fit the profile of your typical MMA prospect, since he’s 33 years old, but since the Nova Scotia fighter turned pro in 2009 he’s done nothing but win. Following a recent submission win over Rick Doyle at Extreme Cage Combat 19, Kelades carries a record of 6-0, and is hoping to make his mark internationally in 2014.
“I hope so; I’m definitely down for that at any point,” the Fit Plus fighter said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing whether he’s hoping to land a fight with a big stage promotion in the coming year. “Right now is a good time. I think this year is going to be a very successful year for me, and I’m open to all and every avenue that reveals itself. I have dual citizenship as well, Canadian-American status, so fighting across the border wouldn’t be as difficult for me as it would be for some other guys.”
“I just want to get some stiff competition this year, make the final drop to flyweight, make it official, and just whup as many asses as I can this year.”
Unlike the latest generation of MMA fighters, who have been training extensively since they were teenagers or younger, Kelades didn’t get started until his 20’s. Despite the late start, however, it didn’t take the former featherweight long to get hooked on fighting.
“There was a guy who was teaching jiu-jitsu, started a club in Wolfville with Rowan Cunningham, and I saw his picture in the paper. He was talking about jiu-jitsu and how he had a MMA fight and I was like, I want to do that,” said Kelades, while recalling his first steps into MMA.
“I just started training at Abhaya in the (Annapolis) Valley then, started doing jiu-jitsu, a little bit of wrestling…it was good to kind of get my base in everything at once,” Kelades furthered. “So I didn’t start in one particular martial art or the other. I kind of started with MMA in mind, and it’s kind of just evolved, and grown, and my passion for it has grown as well as my skill level. I never thought that I probably would be this far; I thought it would kind of be a hobby thing…it’s evolved from there for sure.”
While Kelades has had plenty of success since he began fighting, his progress was held back by a series of injuries, which prevented him from competing in 2012 and 2013.
“I got a concussion and a neck injury, and mainly it was the neck injury which kept me out for the sustained time,” said Kelades, who after earning a split decision win over Dimitri Waardenburg in October, 2011, didn’t compete again until this January. “I was out of the gym for sure a year, and then started training again…it’s just been training full force for about a year now. The injury kind of kept me out, I wanted to take my time to come back into it, and along that journey I started thinking about dropping the weight class as well.”
Since his first days in MMA, Kelades has moved to the renowned Fit Plus gym in Dartmouth, which is guided by head coach Scott MacLean and is home to UFC lightweight contender TJ Grant.
“They input a lot,” said Kelades, when asked about the impact MacLean and Grant have had on his career. “Scott’s a great coach, cares a lot about the guys and puts a lot of time and energy into it. And having TJ’s experience and knowledge around too, to help and that, his input is great as well. It’s a good group of guys that we have. A good stable of guys and we all kind of feed off each other. It’s pretty phenomenal.”