Helen ‘Hellraiser’ Harper will be setting her sights on the bright lights of Las Vegas on December 14th for season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter Trials.
Born and raised in Aldershot, Hampshire in the UK and having spent a few years living and competing in Phuket under Phuket Top Team, Helen is now firmly back where she started at home in Farnham, Surrey.
With her only loss coming by the way of controversial stoppage due to a Groin Strike against Strawweight UFC Athlete Cortney Casey, the 28-year-old has only been competing in mixed martial arts for four years and holds an impressive record of 4-1 inside the cage.
Not content with simply applying herself to the world of mixed martial arts, Helen has also competed in several Muay Thai events successfully including winning her pro kickboxing bout.
The pound for pound ranked #4 in UK & Ireland and #1 in Southeast Asia on Tapology does not take anything for granted in this forever evolving sport and has been working hard over the last few months by competing in many Gi and No Gi Competitions. So much so that Helen has picked up 7 Golds, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze, placing in every competition she has entered.
Having recently competed in a Muay Thai event at ‘The Road to Main Event’ on November 21st against Kat Holden, Helen took the fight on 2 weeks’ notice due to some prior pull-outs with her own schedule of fights in mixed martial arts. After three hard fought rounds, Helen was the one to walk away victorious with a decision win, although it was no easy feat.
“I’d had a few pull outs in a row and the only fight that I could have had was up in Sunderland, which would have meant I wouldn’t have had a corner. It was very frustrating. My coach at Shinkick (Jesse Saunders) told me he already had a few guys fighting on this show and they’d had a pull out – did I want to fight? Of course I said yes, that’s equivalent to asking a fat kid if they want cake…
“It was incredible! Kat is no walkover, she’s a seriously tough girl and as you said, it was by no means easy. I absolutely loved it though, and would do it again tomorrow if I could!”
Having decided to sharpen up her forever growing arsenal of tools in her tool box, Helen has been focusing more on becoming more specialised and dedicated to the whole of her MMA game. Having spent some time down at Legacy BJJ/Urban Kings under the tutelage of BAMMA‘s Head Match-Maker Jude Samuel, who was in Helen’s corner for her last MMA fight against Sophie Langsford where Helen picked up a win via decision over three hard fought rounds.
“I’m sharpening up my technique. I can brawl amongst the best of them but when it comes to technique I do struggle to keep things tight. My Muay Thai is the main thing I can see a big improvement in, and that’s thanks to the guys at Shinkick – especially Jesse and Rob. Strength and conditioning is done at Andy’s with the resident S&C coach, James Hardy. Wrestling is also at Andy’s, with Csaba who is an absolute beast – fantastic teacher and all round nice guy. I couldn’t ask for a better set of guys. Having spent a few months’ worth of training up at Jude’s in London, it is a fantastic gym, but I just couldn’t afford to keep travelling up there. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who does find themselves in the Kings Cross area though.”
Having recently been over to Phuket in Thailand to see her good friend and UFC flyweight athlete Ben Nguyen get married, which must of been amazing. Helen went over to AKA to train and then competed in a Muay Thai fight.
“I went over to witness Ben’s wedding, and had the opportunity to fight, so I grabbed it. Unfortunately, I also got very sick that week so it wasn’t my best fight but I made it to the end without throwing up so I was kind of happy about that!“
Now back in the UK, Helen is set to face one of her biggest goals to date – the TUF 23 Trials out in Las Vegas on December 14th. This is not the first time Helen has gone to try out for The Ultimate Fighter, back in April 2014 for season 20, Helen made it through to the final 20 athletes which is a great accomplishment in itself.
“I came home on Monday evening to 8 messages telling me about the trials. I wasn’t going to go, purely through lack of funds, but then Andy had a long chat with me and told me to get there any way I could. He reminded me that this is what I have been aiming for all this time so it would be stupid not to go.
“UFC is an organisation where anything could happen. Yes, I know the general expectation of me, but what they are looking for in a person for each series varies from show to show. The real bonus having been to Vegas before, is that there are a number of friendly faces I can count on to cheer me on!”
With costs from the UK to Las Vegas being expensive, especially on a massive UFC fight card week, yet alone near Christmas, Helen has decided to set up a ‘MAKEACHAMP‘ page to try to assist with the costs associated with getting to Las Vegas for the TUF 23 Trials.
“Andy encouraged me to get to the trials any way I can. I am a Teaching assistant who’s been living in my overdraft since I can remember. Realistically the only way, even though I absolutely hate asking people, is to ask for help. I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support. The way I look at it is people are not only giving me their hard earned cash to achieve my own dream, which is incredible in itself, but they are believing in me. For that I am extremely lucky.”
Helen is also holding a grapplethon at the gym she trains at, Andy Roberts BJJ, on December 6th to also help raise funds for herself to get to the TUF 23 Trials.
“The plan is to grapple for 8 hours (10am-6pm). I was worried about not having enough people to turn up so I have been trying to book half hour slots – it’s not going that well so far. I hope I will get a few more booked this week! If anyone wants to come, it’s in Farnborough on Sunday and open to anyone!”
Helen would like to thank the following:
Whisky Wolf @TheWhiskyWolf
She cries war @shecrieswar
Str8 Cheer @STR8_CHEER
Battle Balm @BattleBalm
Pony Club Grappling Gear
Andy Roberts BJJ @AndyRobertsBJJ
Shinkick Muay Thai @ShinkickMDK
And you can follow her on these social media platforms:
Instagram – hhhellraiser
Website – www.helenhellraiserharper.com
Thanks for your time Helen. I look forward to seeing you reach your new goal and wish you the best of luck.
Photo Credits: Main Pic Say Uncle Promotions
Photo Credit: Pic 1 Main Event
Photo Credit: Pic 2 Scott Griffiths
YouTube video: Wombat Sports