Ex-U.S. soldier turns pro fighter in new DStv series

2008-05-02 00:00

RYAN CALDER speaks to Doug Anderson, the U.S. soldier turned professional fighter who features in the new show Fight Quest on Discovery Channel from Monday, May 5.

Ex-U.S. Army soldier Anderson travels around the world with fellow American Jimmy Smith, spending five days at each location to train in some of the world’s toughest fighting disciplines.

“Every show was the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Anderson told Weekend Witness.

“The most painful was Kyokushin Karate [in Tokyo] … you have five opponents lined up who you fight for a minute each in rapid succession. Those guys are maniacs — I ended up breaking a knuckle, breaking a cheekbone … I got kicked in the head and also went blind in my right eye for about three hours.”

From 2004 to 2005 Anderson’s infantry unit saw the most frontline combat of any in Iraq.

He says he once put a body part in a mousetrap for $28. “Let’s just leave it as ‘a’ body part — and it definitely wasn’t worth even $200,” he says. “It’s amazing what happens when you take away TV, music and other entertainment.”

Despite his experience as a soldier, Anderson says he had no formal training in professional fighting going into this show. “With no disrespect to the army, because I know what the guys in the army will say if they read this, but this show was definitely tougher. But being the army helped get me ready for this in many ways,” he explains.

“[Our fight instructors] didn’t really focus on techniques of dealing with pain. I just dealt with it my own way - I drew inspiration from my family, my brothers and things back home.”

At 1,68 metres and 66 kilograms, Anderson was generally smaller than most of his opponents.

“My first thoughts when they told us we were going to the east were “Oh yeah - great! All Chinese and Japanese dudes are small!’,” he joked.

“But that never happened. Most of them were bigger than me. But I’m not the kind of guy to back down; I will fight whoever they put in front of me.”

The intervention in life or death situations is minimal, Anderson says, because the producers wanted the show to have a raw feel.

In some cases, the common remedies were more painful than the injuries. “One old guy in a Hard Rock Cafe in Indonesia tried to help me the once,” he says.

“He put this grimy pulpous on my foot which had a huge swollen lump on it - the size of an egg - and then massaged it down until it was gone. I couldn’t walk for a week!”

Anderson is still busy filming for this show, and gives no indication of slowing down.

“It may sound corny, but I feel like I was born to do this.”

* The brand new 13-part series premieres on Monday, May 5 at 10 pm on the Discovery Channel, channel 250 on DStv.

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