by Lee Whitehead – MMAWeekly.com
Brad Pickett, WEC fighter. It must have a nice ring to it for the veteran mixed martial artist.
For years and years, “One Punch” has been slaving away on the U.K. scene, continually developing his skills and hammering his way through the featherweight division. The path has been rocky, fraught with disappointments, some losses, and some hugely impressive victories worthy of anybody on the world stage.
Finally the day has come, so how does he feel about it?
“To be honest, I was very surprised when Reed Harris made the announcement. The contract has been signed, I have an opponent in Kyle Dietz, so to all intents and purposes I am a WEC fighter, but part of me is still not getting too excited until I am on American soil and the cage door shuts.”
Pickett realizes this is the part where he starts to live his dream. Most would be ecstatic, but Pickett’s celebrations are muted because he knows how complex a path it can be securing a working visa in the United States.
“I fought in L.A. before for Hero’s, which is a Japanese company, and I was paid from Japan, so the visa wasn’t an issue. I go to American Top Team for three month’s at a time to train on a tourist visa, but this is different, I have to get a U.S. working visa so I can be employed by an American company,” explains the soon to be WEC bantamweight.
His concerns date all the way back to an arrest at 19 years of age, nothing that he feels should be a sticking point, but because he has been scuppered in the past with dashed opportunities, he is justifiably keen to cross the t’s and dot the i’s before celebrating. Police documentation, passport, and everything else in place: first stop, Nov. 11, the date he gets an answer on his visa.
“I just have the (worst) luck in the world,” exclaims Pickett, adding that he just wants to get stateside and get the ball rolling.
“I plan on cornering Mike Brown for his fight against Jose Aldo and obviously train at ATT for my fight. Until everything is sorted I just want to keep a level head. As soon as I have that visa, a bag will be packed and I am off.”
So assuming the visa is successful, and British MMA fans certainly hope it will, Pickett will then make his first ever cut to bantamweight and collide with Kyle Dietz. Does he have any concerns about the cut?
“I think I will only have to cut 6.5 kilograms (14.3 pounds) and I don’t foresee that presenting any problems for me. I have spent my career fighting guys who cut from lightweight or that are big at featherweight. At this stage, I walk around at 69 kilograms (152.1 pounds), so it will make a change for me to be big in a category.”
And what does he make of his opponent?
“He’s a tough guy, 5-1. I have seen some of his fights and he has even fought against one of my teammates in Rafael Rebello, so I have some inside track on what he is like. I think it will be a good fight wherever it goes, standing or on the ground.”
On Dec. 19, at WEC 45, Pickett will step into the cage, the weight of an entire country’s expectations on his back, but as soon as the cage door shuts, it’s a fight like any other and Pickett will tool up for business.
“I do kind of feel that I will be flying the flag for Britain, but I am only here because of all the support from the fans and people behind me here in the U.K. and all the guys over at American Top Team who have looked out for me over the years. I have the self belief to know I can handle myself well and I know I won’t be out of place fighting anyone in the division.”