Said Hatim (center) cuts weight on a treadmill in Minsk, Belarus this week with student Andrei Arlovski (right) and coach Dino Costeas (left) | Photos via HatimStyle
By Elias Cepeda
MMA has come quite far in the past decade but very few fighters are featured on national television, sponsored by big companies and able to focus 100% of their energy on the sport. Many more put in the blood, sweat and tears without the bright lights or big bucks, filled with and fueled by love and an inexplicable drive to simply be a better fighter.
They hold down full-time jobs, have families and are known only to those truly in the know. They are the heart and soul of MMA.
Said Hatim is one such fighter.
The idea was initially proposed half-heartedly. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski had recently booked his next fight — a main event contest on the Battle in Minsk card in his home of Belarus on Nov. 29 — and jokingly asked his Muay Thai coach Said Hatim if he also wanted to fight on the card.
Said was a pro kickboxer and boxer for years and has coached and trained with high level fighters like boxer Mike Mollo, UFC veteran Clay Guida, top Bellator featherweight Mike Corey and TUF veteran Mark Miller but his lone, albeit successful, MMA fight had taken place five years ago. Since that time, Hatim has focused on coaching and submission grappling tournaments.
Sure, he’d make the trip to Europe with Arlovski to be in his corner as he usually does, but Hatim was now 38 years old and half a decade removed from his last fight. “The Pitbull” was suggesting that Hatim add to his coaching responsibilities on fight night with his own contest against a much younger competitor. Said didn’t hesitate.
“Andrei told me that he was fighting in a main event November 29 and asked me, ‘Oh, do you want to fight too?,’” Hatim recounts to CagePotato.
“We were joking like that. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll fight.’”