Kill or be killed (KOBK) is the name of the gym where Waynedale resident Keith Ealey works out. Keith is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. He came to Fort Wayne with his parents in 1986 when he was ten years old. Keith attended Wayne High School, graduating in 1995 and has had various hobbies including drag racing motorcycles. His present hobby is Mixed Martial Arts Association (MMA), popularly known as caging fighting.
MMA is a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques, from a mixture of martial arts traditions, to be used in competitions. The rules allow the use of striking and grappling techniques, both while standing and on the ground.
Modern MMA competitions emerged in popular culture in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It was initially based on finding the most effective martial arts for real unarmed combat situations. Competitors of various arts were pitted against one another with minimal rules or concern for safety. In the following decade, MMA promoters adopted many additional rules aimed at increasing safety for competitors and to promote mainstream acceptance of the sport. Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity with pay per view reach rivaling boxing and professional wrestling.
Keith married his wife Taryn in 1999 and they have three children, Kayla, Austin, and little Keith.
Taryn said this about her husband’s hobby: “My husband Keith is one of the most loving people that I have ever met. I cannot imagine my life without him. We have been together for 15 years and have 3 perfect children. I have never been one to live my life dangerously and I certainly would never want to fight anyone. I enjoy playing with my kids, or working in my garden for fun.
My husband on the other hand decided a long time ago that he would live every day like it was his last. When he told me that he had decided to enter an amateur cage fighting competition, I really was not surprised. His last hobby was drag racing motorcycles. The thought of him getting hurt terrifies me. His courage to seek out the unknown amazes me.
Over the last year Keith has spent several hours training and learning fighting skills. He has less stress and more energy. He even lowered his cholesterol by eating better and exercising. So it seems that there are some good things that have come from his new hobby. I am not sure how long he will be cage fighting, and who knows what’s next on his agenda. I can’t wait to find out.”
Keith first saw cage fighting on TV and decided he wanted to give it a try. His father had died at the age of 48 and that may have been part of his inspiration for living life in its fullest. Keith said, “One day I realized that I weighed 234 pounds, had a gut, and found it difficult to get off the couch. It was time to make a change.”
Keith signed up for his first amateur fight, and at an out-of–shape weight of 234 pounds he climbed into the cage for the first time.
“What was it like?” I asked. “What was it like when the cage door slammed shut behind you and you found yourself up against another person that wanted to do you harm?”
Keith said, “I thought I was going to puke.”
Keith won the first fight and decided to join the KOBK gym. He works out two to three times a week at a level that he describes as “definately not dance lessons.” He signed his first contract recently to be paid for his next fight that is scheduled for Saturday, June 14th in Warsaw at the fairgrounds.