Past mistakes prevent Ryan Ford from competing in Bellator tournaments, but once corrected everything will be better, including “The Read Deal.”
Ford (Twitter: @RyanFordMMA), a Canadian from Edmonton, Alberta, owns a career record of 19-4, consisting of 10 TKO/KO’s and seven submission victories. He is currently on a three-fight win streak, two of which came under the Bellator banner, but has not had the opportunity to compete in Bellator’s Season 6 or 7 welterweight tournaments.
The reason the G’d Up Worldwide Clothing owner has not graced the Bellator cage in a tournament or even a tourney qualifier match is due to a stint behind bars lasting four years. Ford is still having Visa issues that avert “Real Deal” from entering the U.S. and competing wherever Bellator events take place outside The Great White North.
Bellator and Ford have been working collectively to remedy the situation, however, the government isn’t exactly making it a top priority.
“We’ve been on this paperwork, but you know the government,” Ford told MMADiehards.com. “If you owe them a dime they’re on you, but if you want something from the government its hurry up and wait. They probably have my papers just sitting on a desk, waiting for someone to rubber stamp it and then it’s approved. There’s nothing we can do about it but wait.”
Something positive did come from Ford’s time incarcerated, his future was decided.
“Being in there, all you got is time to think,” Ford said. “I knew when I got out, from the minute I got in there, I knew when I got out I was going to fight. Whether it was boxing or MMA, I knew I was going to fight. I tried boxing for a bit, but felt boxing was too controlled. I feel I have it all to go into mixed martial arts. I knew when I got out I was going to be a fighter because I’ve been a fighter my whole life. I used to get into fights on the street, now I just channel that in a positive way. Now I can get in there and train all day. I’m not a guy that likes to work 9 to 5. I’d rather bust my ass in the gym and have something to look forward to once it’s all put together.”
Ford’s most recent chance to test his mettle came at Bellator 79 in a decision victory against Kyle Baker.
Ford battered Baker for 15 minutes, but could not accomplish a finish. Ford’s pace did not slow, nor did his onslaught of strikes, yet Baker stayed in his face to the bitter end.
“I didn’t know I wasn’t going to put him away, but I was wondering what the hell I have to do to put him away,” Ford said. “I felt like I was in the movie “Rocky” and I was the Russian. That brought the old Ryan Ford out of me, which is a god thing in a sense, but I seen some things I need to work on after that fight.”
Ford’s impressive performance against Baker was a reflection of his new home gym.
Though, successful throughout his mixed martial arts career, Ford has tasted defeat on four occasions. The losses came when Ford was a journeyman with his training, bouncing from gym to gym and training partner to training partner. Currently at a gym that is home to the likes of Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald, Ford has high expectations.
“I’m a guy that’s here to fight,” Ford said. “I have a better record than most of the top guys in the world right now and my losses are from when I wasn’t training at a proper MMA gym. I wouldn’t get away with beating these guys off just my natural athletic abilities and training with different guys at different gyms.
“Now I’m at Tristar gym under coach Firas Zahabi and all kinds of high-level athletes. Training there, you know, the sky is the limit.”
Ford’s Visa problems are a minor setback that he puts a positive spin on. Though, it’s disappointing to be excluded from the Bellator tournaments for the time being, it just makes for a better product when Ford is granted access.
“Most of these guys that I’m fighting have been fighting for 10, 15, 20 years,” Ford said. “Damn, I’m creeping up on six (years). This is just giving me more time to get better in the gym.”