This interview was conducted back in June 2016 and featured in the July/August issue of MMA Uncaged Magazine.
“Age is just a number. I will be in the UFC by the end of the year”
London, 2002 and the UFC held its first event outside of the United States for UFC 38. ‘Brawl at the Hall’ was held inside the iconic Royal Albert Hall. Headlined by UFC Hall of Fame veteran Matt Hughes and Carlos Newton. Also on the main card was a 36-year-old Ian Freeman who faced and beat a 23-year-old Frank Mir by TKO, proving that ‘age is just a number’.
Fast forward to April 15, 2016, when European Promotion Cage Warriors returned home to London and held its 75th event. Making his debut for the promotion was 38-year-old Scott ‘The Priest’ Clist facing 25-year-old Brad ‘The Crazy Kid’ Wheeler. Clist was the heavy underdog and after weathering an early storm where it looked like Wheeler was going to submit him in the opening minutes, Clist gained control of the fight (with 30 seconds to go) landing a head kick followed by a right hook which knocked Wheeler to the canvas against the cage and began to unleash a barrage of punches (16) only for the klaxon to sound the end of the round.
It was in-between rounds that Wheeler’s corner retired him from the fight as he had taken too much damage, declaring Clist victorious by way of TKO at the end of round one. Proving yet again ‘age is just a number’.
“Age is just a number. I will be in the UFC by the end of the year”
Born and raised in Bridgwater, Somerset but now residing in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, the nightclub manager first started out in the world of Martial Arts at the tender age of 5.
“My dad would get me and my brother to throw punches and box train with him. He would show us how to twist our hips with the punches and lead with a jab” Clist recalls of his fond childhood memories. After briefly flirting with Karate, Clist settled on Kickboxing where he would start his Martial Arts career and held British titles in kickboxing and full contact Tae kwon do.
Clist was first introduced to Mixed Martial Arts by a colleague whilst he was working in Swindon as a barman at the age of 19. A doorman he knew lent him 3 video’s called “UFC” and after watching them decided he wanted to give MMA a try.
“After watching the ‘UFC’ video’s I attended my first MMA class which was also run by the same doorman who gave me the video’s. ‘Oz’, Michael Osbourne at ‘SVT’ Swindon Vale Tudo. Although I really enjoyed the class due to my working schedule at the time I couldn’t commit to it.”
After spending some time training in different Martial Arts and balancing a full time job, Clist found classes run by Tony Childs who was teaching San Shou, JKD, Combat Submission Wrestling and Escrima to add to his Kickboxing and Tae kwon do background.
Finally, after experiencing success in teaching kickboxing, Clist decided it was time to open up his own gym. In March 2008 The Revolution Gym in Trowbridge was born, all the while still competing as an amateur mixed martial artist himself from 2006 – 2009. In 2010 Clist turned pro finishing his first five opponents within two rounds. Although picking up his first pro MMA loss in 2013 to Dan Rushworth, that fight earned him fight of the night honours. Winning his next fight Clist then entered an 8-man tournament.
“I had no emotion in the lead up to the event and was spending a large amount of time teaching instead of focusing on my own training. Ali Maclean tapped my out with a north and south choke 4:34 seconds into the first round. It was the only time I had been stopped as a pro fighter. I was gutted.”
“It was after this fight that I realised I needed to focus on my own training so I shut down my gym and moved over to Dragonslair MMA in Melksham home to UFC athlete Bradley Scott.”
Now [10-2] as a pro and with the help and guidance of Head Coach Stu Pike at Dragonslair MMA, Clist is currently on a three fight win streak after winning his last fight against Brad Wheeler at Cage Warriors 75 where he was very much the underdog on that card.
“I kept the fight standing for a while and me and Brad traded some shots until I threw a kick and he caught it. Brad got the takedown but I managed to get back to my feet only for brad to get a deep double leg and take me down again, his ju jitsu is sleek and he managed to get my back and sink in the body lock quickly. I went into autopilot and 2 on 1 defence. I had done this so many times in the gym that I was never really worried about getting tapped, I just had to get the lock off. I tried putting pressure on Brad’s ankle but that didn’t work so I had to defend and try to turn into him but like I said Brad’s BJJ is something else and trying to get someone as good as he is off you is not the easiest thing.
“After a few mins spent on the defensive I felt the lock loosen so I stepped over his leg to avoid him getting it locked back in, I turned quickly and we got back to our feet.
“I threw a good uppercut to the body and Brad backed off. I saw my opportunity and threw the head kick followed by the right hook.
I saw brad fall and started throwing down some serious ground and pound. I could hear his corner shouting “10 seconds, hold on Brad”. I kept throwing punches thinking the ref has got to stop it but he didn’t and the buzzer sounded for the end of the round. Brad’s corner retired him in between rounds which gave me a TKO win coming at 5 mins of round one.”
The fight Clist had with Wheeler was originally scheduled for a lightweight bout but got changed to a catch weight bout a few days before. So will we be seeing Clist again in the lightweight division?
“I would like to fight against top 10 opponents. A fight with Chris Fishgold would be interesting and a fight against Andre Ward would make for a great fight. I aim to Keep growing as a fighter and I am in the right place and working with the right people to do that and keep winning. I want to be a successful UFC fighter. I don’t just want to make it into the UFC, I will make it into the UFC and get some good wins.”
With a nickname ‘The Priest’ I did however wonder how it came about.
“My first sponsor gave me that name. I told him he could pick my ring name. He had just watched The Davinci Code on dvd and decided I looked like the psycho killer from the film (blonde hair, white skin) so he said it was great to call me The Priest. I kept it because it caught on after my first fight.”
As with any interview, I ask if Scott has anyone he would like to thank.
“Firstly, my wife and daughter as they put up with me missing time spent with them, being tired from training and weight cutting etc. I would like to thank my coaches Stu Pike, Bradley Scott for making me a better fighter. My boxing and s+c coaches Mark Kent and Smudger at contender gym. My teammates who let me learn and let me be part of their learning. Stu Mourant for making a massive difference and opening doors. My sponsors for helping me with fuelling my body, BadBoy Supplements (kalv Singh) and financially Nacho Cheese, Richard Henley (Heating and plumbing), Darryl Moore (Carpentry) and a massive thank you goes out to all my friends and supporters”.
You can follow Scott Clist’s journey on the following media sites.
By Emma Bramford