Indianapolis firefighter to take on MMA legend in Japan

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An Indianapolis firefighter will challenge a mixed martial arts legend on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan. Fox 59 got an exclusive look at his last tough training day before he represents the Circle City on the world stage.

Shamar Bailey, a six-year firefighter with the department, will fight Hayato Sakurai.

“If something goes wrong, I know he has my back,” said Mike Blackwell, an Indianapolis firefighter who works with Bailey.

Fellow firefighters will tell you Bailey doesn’t hesitate when he is on the roof of a burning home, and he is no different when he is fighting.

“An athlete that is hungry, likes to win,” said Bailey about who he is in the cage.

“He keeps moving and pushes the pace throughout the workouts,” said Justin Nelson, a wrestler and one of Bailey’s workout partners.

A typical day away from the firehouse includes a six-hour workout. Bailey practices different fighting techniques and takes on extra cardio and weight training workouts.
It’s his life nearly full-time when he’s not working.

“He carries the city on his back, too,” said Jared Bailey, Shamar’s younger brother and training partner.

“You can have six runs to 22 runs in one day, and sometimes one hour of sleep,” said Bailey.

If Bailey puts on a good performance, he has the opportunity to elevate his status internationally, win or lose.

“The message for my opponent: you made a mistake asking me to come over there. It’s going to be an honor, and I’m going to get my hand raised,” said Bailey.

“It’s good he’s representing us, and he’s making us proud,” said Blackwell.

The fight will be available live online Sunday Morning. A link is still being established.