Fighter Heike has big plans for 2021
CAPE TOWN - Things have not been easy for Heike Herselman recently.
As a single parent of two young boys, she has not only had to deal with the limitations and fears of the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown that followed, but she too has had to uproot and leave Cape Town to return to her family in the City of Gold (Johannesburg) to start over after recently being retrenched as a production assistant at Elite Defence Academy.
“I was born in the Eastern Cape and raised in Gauteng (Johannesburg). I have been living and training in Cape Town for the last four years now but Covid-19 (coronavirus) unfortunately affected me negatively, so I will be starting over back home with my family. I have just been trying to just survive each day. Depression has been the biggest battle,” says the mixed martial artist who trained out of Silverback MMA.
Despite leaving the city in which she started her combat sport journey, Heike is still keen to continue her mixed martial arts career - with or without the stumbling blocks that lie before her.
“I would love to continue training and fighting,” says the amateur mixed martial artist (0-2) who has only been in the game for three years now since taking up fitness with Francois Kabulu before joining Silverback MMA (then owned by Anthony Kettle) where she trained in Muay Thai, kickboxing, wrestling, brazilian jiu jitsu and boxing.
“I’ve always wanted to fight, but never had the opportunities too, life has not been easy,” says the single parent.
In the growing mixed martial arts climate of South Africa - although a very talented pool of fighters - most of our athletes are not yet at the level where they can fully invest their time into the sport professionally like some athletes in countries abroad (USA, Russia etc.).
And so, for Heike, being a single mom of two, and having to put food on the table, her time for training and fight camps are limited in the context of her priorities.
“My children are most important to me,” says an unwavering Heike.
“But it goes hand-in-hand with building a strong and stable future for myself and my boys.
“Being a mother to two young boys can be challenging whilst juggling the hectic training schedules and classes etc. But they understand what Mom does and they enjoy accompanying me to the gyms and training with me on occasions.
“Support is important. I have found at my age, and as a mother that I have to work even harder to prove myself in the fight world. It can be done though with the right support backing you up.”
Heike’s last fight was against Professional Fighting Championship strawweight athlete and former number 1 contender, Jessica Mouneimne - who recently lost to Bianca Stander in their hotly-anticipated title fight at PFC Amatuer Fight Night.
Heike and Jessica squared-off in a charity-driven event for the African Pride Fighting Championship.
“I am still quite new to the game and despite losing both my opening fights, they were both awesome experiences nonetheless.
“I'm not looking for a rematch with Jess, it's her win to enjoy. I'm just happy to train and fight.
“Next year I have big plans to get back on track physically and prepare for fights. I'd love a boxing match or two and perhaps some wins.
“My dream though has always been to coach and teach. So I use my Krav Maga and mma training to understand how the body and mind work under attack. This helps me transfer my knowledge and experience to others,” adds Heike who enjoys hiking, rock climbing and camping.
“I am always down for adventures, I got into hiking through Anthony, we got a group going and we enjoy the camaraderie as well as experiencing the outdoors,” says Heike.
Many fighters and gym owners have had to find alternate means of income in this lockdown - like so many other people and professions. It was a reality check of how quickly your one golden egg can become redundant in a specific place and time - especially for gym owners, trainers and fighters who relied on fights and events to make ends meet as well.
It was with this in mind that Heike is in full support of the new Fight to Fame reality show which ultimately aims to bring more stability to the fight game by supporting fighters - if done right.
“I love the Fight to Fame concept,I think it brings a relevant and necessary spotlight on the sport. I will not be partaking in it as I do not feel I am an ideal candidate to compete, also, I'll be in Joburg (Johannesburg), so the logistics would be tricky.”
Fight to Fame is a new reality show designed to create Hollywood movie stars out of combat sport athletes. The show which is being rolled out to 200 countries - starting early 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa - will see fighters compete in several assessments including stunt work, acting training etc.
The winners from these shows will then have the opportunity to earn a role in a Hollywood movie production and open bigger doors than just that of the fight game. A much-needed opportunity in the thriving and still growing mixed martial arts landscape of Africa.
Avid Cape Town hikers and fight fans fully understand the beauty and scenes of the Mother City’s Fynbos and Fight shows.
Let’s hope Heike can soon return to the city where she found these two loves so that she too can get a piece of the beautiful action … along with her sons.
For more details on the reality show, visit https://www.fight2fame.com