“Papa Midnight” Wins Open Fighter Tryout; Inks Multi-Fight Deal With XFC
One hundred sixty hopefuls filed into Charleston MMA, all with the same dream and goal; to secure a multi-fight contract with the XFC. The talent in the room was plentiful, but when the smoke settled, there was one young fighter that stood out from the rest. President John Prisco and the XFC staff are proud to announce the XFC Open Tryout winner and newest member of the Welterweight Division; Danasabe Mohammed.
While Danasabe celebrates his latest accomplishment, the 23-year-old from Napa, California wants the world to know that his victories in life are not all his own. They are shared with a family and support system that has made all of this possible. Growing up in less than ideal surrounds, the self-proclaimed “troubled kid” was adopted as a teen by a close friend’s family. Looking for a way to focus anger issues, his new family handed him a pamphlet of extracurricular activities and asked Danasabe if anything caught his interest. As he scanned the list up and down, trying to make a decision, he kept going back to a word that seemed to stand out more than the rest; boxing. At the age of 16, Mohammed entered a boxing gym and found something that finally made sense to him. “Boxing seemed to just come natural. It made sense. I saw and understood the sport clearly. It was a perfect fit for me” said Danasabe.
Though boxing had become his outlet and a way to focus that he never had before, it still wasn’t enough. Danasabe needed a more aggressive, intense way to release. Enter mixed martial arts. After an amateur MMA career that saw him go 6-5 in just under two years, Mohammed made the bold move to the professional ranks. While some questioned his transition, he truly felt he was being held back by amateur restrictions and would thrive under the professional rules. With his aggressive style, Danasabe felt that the addition of elbows, leg locks, and other moves would open up his game and make him a more dangerous fighter. After starting his pro career 2-0, it’s hard to argue with his decision.
With his sights set on staying active and climbing the ranks, the long-time AXS TV Fights fan heard about the XFC Open Fighter Tryout during one of the company’s televised events. While the idea of competing for a spot on the XFC roster seemed like a good idea, Danasabe knew the financial means to get there was not available and his dream would have to be put on hold. When Danasabe's boss, Chef Michael Chiarello, caught wind of his employee's predicament, he quickly stepped in and made the arrangements to get him to South Carolina. The rest, as they say, is XFC history. Danasabe Mohammed now joins an exclusive club of XFC Tryout winners, such as Jason Hicks and Joby Sanchez, that have gone on to compete on a national stage.
We caught up with Danasabe, just two days removed from the Tryout, as he returned to Napa Valley MMA and wrapped his head around the events that just happened. We thought we would let him tell you the rest of the story in his own words. "Walking into that gym, I would be lying if I said it wasn't intimidating. You could tell there was a lot of talent and stiff competition in the room. I am very confident in my skills, but there is always the fear of getting lost in the shuffle. I was really more afraid of just getting accidentally overlooked than I was of failing. As the day got longer and the numbers got smaller, I was still unsure if I had caught anyone's eye. Not until my name was called, did I ever feel like I had this thing wrapped up. In fact, I was really thinking and hoping to at least get a single fight offer. The whole situation is still kinda surreal. This is my opportunity for a new life. I'm getting to pursue my dreams and I couldn't be happier. I would say that it "doesn't feel real" yet, but I'm so sore from what they put me through, I'm being constantly reminded how real it was (laughing)."
Keep up with Danasab's progress at www.xfcmma.com and follow him on Facebook. Look for his promotional debut in early 2014. For more information on the XFC, follow them daily on Facebook & Twitter '@officialXFC' and stay tune to their website for the next Open Fighter Tryout Announcement!