‘I was in agony every day for 10 years’ - Mixed martial arts fighter tells of his amazing victory over the pain barrier
PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 December 2016
Max Bateman feared a lifetime of pain and discomfort after suffering serious injuries while pursuing his dreams of becoming a professional mixed martial arts fighter.
Back and leg injuries caused Mr Bateman excruciating pain on a daily basis for more than 10 years.
Just like his body, his dreams were shattered.
Mr Bateman feared he would not be able to play with his children and his suffering would become even more intense with age.
But the 40-year-old from Dereham is now fighting fit and has just established his own personal training business. He wants to use his experience to help others who are suffering as he had.
Mr Bateman said: “There were times when I was in total agony and couldn’t get out of bed. Trying to reach down and pick up my baby daughter brought me to tears.”
Mr Bateman started training in a boxing gym at just four years old.
He went on to compete in boxing, judo, taekwondo and jujitsu, in which he won a silver medal in a national Gracie Invitational Tournament.
In 2005, while in his late 20s, Mr Bateman sold his house and moved to Rio, Brazil for six months with his fiancé, now wife, Sue, to train in Brazilian Jujitsu.
One week before the trip, he damaged nerves in his spine while attempting to throw somebody in training.
Mr Bateman said: “I went ahead with it any way. A combination of male bravado and painkillers allowed me to train but I knew I wasn’t right.
“When I got home a doctor said he was amazed I could walk, never mind train.”
Several different treatments failed to have any effect.
Mr Bateman’s frustrations increased when he found himself unable to bend down and lift his baby daughter Amber, who was born in 2008.
During time working on a cement yard he built up strength in his back and his condition improved.
But disaster struck again in 2011 when a freak judo accident saw Mr Bateman’s left leg collapse when trying to resist a throw.
He broke his tibia and fibula.
He said: “I was inactive again so all my back problems returned. I was in excruciating pain and didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
A year ago Mr Bateman changed his routine and got back in the gym.
He said: “I had to dig deep and find a way to fix myself. I just watched what other people were doing and found things I was comfortable with.
“As I got stronger my condition improved dramatically. Within a few months, 10 years of pain had melted away.
“I’ve gone from being unable to pick up my baby to dead lifting 180kg.”
Mr Bateman, who also has a second daughter, Briony, 7, has now secured a level two personal trainer’s qualification and has just established the business Diversifit, in which he trains people in their own homes.
He said: “I now just want to use my experiences to help other people. If I can help one person achieve their goals I will be delighted.”