HeadBlader Feature: Linton Vassell
HeadBlade - Linton Vassell
Last month we revisited Todd Greene’s story and how he was inspired to start HeadBlade. We received a lot of great feedback and wanted to share other stories from HeadBlade users. This month we’re featuring Linton Vassell, elite heavy weight MMA fighter. He’s one bad dude and an all-around great guy. Check out his story here and tune in to watch him on Friday April 15th at Bellator 277.
Not everyone unlocks their natural talents nor understands their full potential at an early age. Some discover their purpose through experience and others by chance. Linton Vassell is one of those characters that found his way by chance at 23 years old.
Linton grew up in the small town of Bletchley, north of London with dreams of becoming a policeman or fireman when he was a child. It seemed the obvious choice was to continue his education to build that future. At 15 years old, Vassell pursued college and became a bricklayer to make ends meet. Life seemed pretty normal, but Linton wanted more. By chance, he had an opportunity to attend an MMA class and was instantly hooked. Leveraging his lean, 6-foot 4-inch frame, Linton was naturally gifted, and within six months he was ready for competition.
Vassell admits that he did not start off with any other goal except to be in the ring. His first amateur fight was in October 2007, against Ian Tobell. Within three weeks he was fighting for the AMMA Championship Title.
As soon as he tasted victory, Vassell’s appetite to win became insatiable. He started to take the sport very seriously and realized that he could very well be at the top and make a career out of it. He wanted to fight the big heavyweight contenders and work with a large organization. His sticky grappling style and nimble attacks earned him the name “The Swarm” and gained him the attention he sought.
Once he turned pro, he went on to win 9 straight fights in a row and became the UCMMA Light Heavyweight Champion. He now had options. Finding himself defending his title in the UK, this set him up to eventually be signed by Bellator MMA. After being signed to Bellator, Vassell headlined at Bellator 234 against Sergei Kharitonov on 14 November 2019. He won the fight via TKO in the second round. He then faced Ronny Markes at Bellator 254 where he won the fight via TKO in the second round. It’s serious business when The Swarm decides to focus! Vassell then faced Tyrell Fortune, in a highly competitive affair, in which Vassell won the bout via split decision.
Linton’s goal is to be the Heavyweight World Champion and continues journey as he takes on Timothy Johnson this Friday, April 15, 2022, at Bellator 277.
Beyond Linton’s story, we had some specific questions for him as well. Check it out here:
What does a training regimen look like for fight preparation?
When I have fight camp, I try to train twice a day most days, depending on how my body feels. As I’ve gotten older, I try to listen to my body a lot more to prevent injuries, and some days I will just push through those rough days. But we spar twice a week Tuesday and Thursday morning. We wrestle Monday and Wednesday mornings. MMA drills on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Friday is No Gi grappling. Wednesday and Friday strength and conditioning, and Saturday morning and Monday afternoon is boxing. Finally, Sunday is for swimming or hill sprints. And I’ll take a day off when I need that rest, so it could be any day of the week.
Who inspired you?
Growing up watching boxing I was, and still am, a big Mike Tyson fan. Once I got introduced to MMA, I looked up to people like Randy Couture and Royce Gracie. I actually ended up meeting all 3 which was a great life experience.
Any guiding principles?
Love what you do, and do what you love.
When did you start shaving your head?
I started shaving my head at the age of 17. It got to the point where I could notice my hair was slowly getting thinner, so ever since then I’ve shaved my head and never looked back.
Thank you for sharing your story Linton! Make sure to tune in to watch him on Friday April 15th at Bellator 277.