Ultimate Fighting comes to Simpson

Ultimate Fighting comes to Simpson

by Gabe GilsonStaff Writer

Kevin Burns is not somebody to pick a fight with. In fact, the former Simpson student makes a living out of just this.

That is because the former Simpson student has been fighting Mixed-Martial Arts and has been a part of the Ultimate Fighting Championships since 2006. Burns got his actual start in MMA in 2002 but has only been a professional since 2006.

Most of Burns’ fights have taken place in the state of Iowa, however he has fought in London and Las Vegas. Burns has a career record of 7-1 with his lone loss coming from Jason High on Feb. 16, 2007. On choosing to become an ultimate fighter, Burns had an interesting path.

“I had been taking Tae Kwon Do classes for six to eight months and decided one day it would be good to test the effectiveness of the skills I had been learning,” Burns said. “I entered an amateur MMA event at Toad Holler against Josh Neer. I didn’t know at the time he was an undefeated fighter who had acquired the name, ‘The Dentist.'”

Burns actually had surprised himself with his performance later that night when he found the information about Neer. In the amateur fight, Burns beat Neer with an 11-second knockout. In what may have been some type of beginner’s luck, Neer decided to re-match Burns a year later. This fight lasted a lot longer as Burns tapped out to Neer after 12 minutes.

Since then, the 6-foot, 170-pound Burns has had a career nothing short of impressive. In the first professional fight of his career in August of 2006, Burns beat Demi Deeds in 3:58 with a first round TKO. Burns’ next fight is scheduled for Dec. 13 at the Palms in Las Vegas on the Ultimate Fighter Finale, live on Spike TV.

In preparation for this fight and others, Burns trains at the Jiu-Jitsu Academy in downtown Des Moines. Burns is coached by Chris David, who also coaches approximately 15 to 20 other students in the MMA or kickboxing genre of fighting.

In the current Simpson College audience, a few students have noticed Burns fighting on Spike TV. Freshman Ryan Edwardson is one that sees the potential in Burns.

“He definitely has a lot of potential,” Edwardson said. “He is pretty new to the business and will have a few setbacks because the welterweight division is tough but he has the tools to be a really good fighter.”

Sophomore Matt Claassen is another student that has seen the popularity of UFC and MMA fighting skyrocket in past years.

“It started being broadcast on television all the time, and people really bought into it,” Claassen said. “I watch it all the time with my buddies because of all the action. It’s really exciting.”

As for advice for current Simpson students, Burns brings the never quit mentality.

“Let no one dictate your ability to have success in life,” Burns said. “Too often people will bring you down because they don’t have the courage to step up, making their dreams come true. Success is a choice, and if you tell yourself daily, “I will succeed,” it will happen.”