By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today I had the chance to catch up with an amateur fighter who is a veteran in the fight game Darius Hartwell. Darius will be stepping into the cage once again on May 20 at FSF New Beginning. Let’s have a chat with Darius and see what’s up.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Darius: A fighter is someone that can look the truth in the eye and not blink. It’s a journey of seeking knowledge.
Nick: At what age did you begin your training in martial arts?
Darius: I was three years old when I began learning Tae Kwon Do. My dad taught martial arts to the National Guard and I would join the classes.
Nick: What disciplines do you train and what belts do you have in them?
Darius: To answer your question precisely I currently train in HapKido where I have a yellow belt. I also train in boxing, wrestling, and MMA where there are no ranks.
Nick: What would you say your best attribute is inside the cage?
Darius: My best attribute inside the cage is sticking to the gameplan and doing exactly what my coaches tell me to.
Nick: What methods of cutting weight do you use? How much weight do you usually have to cut before a fight? Do you feel the weight cut has a major impact on your strength before a fight?
Darius: I usually cut 30-40 pounds for a fight. It takes determination. There will usually be a detox followed by a strict diet leading up to cutting water weight the week of the fight. There is sufficient time to rehydrate and rest before the fight so I do not think it has any ill effects on my performance. I typically have to lose a good amount of muscle leading up to weigh-ins, but the trade-off is improved cardio through the countless hours of running.
Nick: Do you have a nickname? If so who gave it to you and why?
Darius: My nickname is Havoc. It was given to me by a sparring partner. The reason being that I have skills striking and grappling and you would never know what is coming.
Nick: Since you have made this journey what advice can you give to new fighters wanting to make this a career?
Darius: I would tell them to make sure it’s what they really want. It’s a dangerous sport and it takes time and a commitment that a lot of people or “friends” don’t understand at first.
Nick: I am aware that you have several fights under your belt. What is your current record prior to your fight on May 20?
Darius: My current record is 15-14, though most of the fights were unsanctioned.
Nick: I know that when you started fighting it was during a time when Michigan did not have any regulations. Did you prefer to fight under those rules or lack there of or do you like the current rules that are in place?
Darius: I prefer the new regulations. It gives us athletes a better rep and keeps scrubs out of competition. It also is a nice feeling to know that I won’t be getting HIV from the guy I’m fighting.
Nick: You will be facing a tough opponent in 11-6 Nathan Awad who will be fighting his last amateur fight against you. Do you have a prediction for the fight?
Darius: I am happy and honored to hear that I will be his last amateur opponent. From what I understand about Mr. Awad, I predict that this will be a fast-paced and intense fight. Obviously, my goal is to win.
Nick: With as much experience as you have will you be making the jump to the professional level anytime in the near future? If so do you know which promotion it may be under?
Darius: Yes. I have a new highly experienced coach in Matt Shaw. We’ve been putting a lot of one on one time in and the goal is to make my professional debut asap. However, turning pro will only mean something to me once I and my coach feel that I’m ready to compete at a high level. That starts with beating guys like Nathan Awad.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA fighter past or present?
Darius: My favorite fighter has always been Wanderlei Silva. Regardless of his recent losses, the man is a monster and I don’t know too many people that would feel confident standing across from him.
Nick: Darius have you submitted to the takeover?
Darius: This is Darius “Havoc” Hartwell and I have submitted to the takeover.
I enjoyed speaking with Darius. It’s very cool to talk with a guy who fought in the “wild west” before sanctioning. I wish him all the best of luck in his fight on May 20. Signing off for TheMMATakeOver.com this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA