Dylan Dale has seen a lot of different corners of the sports world.
He’s stood in front of hockey pucks going close to 90 miles per hour, he’s been under siege by trying to get around massive offensive liinemen in USport football with the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks,
Dale says he always loved martial arts, as he embraced the sport after friends like former local football teammate Zach Mason introduced him to the sport.
“They were into martial arts, his older brother mostly,” Dale reflects.
“Around grade six age, they showed me some self defence stuff, and ever since then it was always a thing that was on my mind.”
That prompted Dylan, who also played high school hockey in goal and was invited and competed at Junior ‘A’ tryouts, to look and study techniques online.
“Through my day-to-day, I would think of different scenarios that I was put in and what would I do if this happened so fighting was something that was always on my mind.”
Dale did not pursue that passion as a teen and instead focussed on hockey and football where he eventually got a commitment from Wilfred Laurier University in the fall of 2016.
While his teammates and roommates who played with him had football on their minds 24-7, away from the field Dale was thinking about the Octagon.
“I just realized it wasn’t my passion like it was theirs,” said Dale, who is the son of respected local journalist Dave Dale.
It got to a point where Dale felt he needed to follow his real passion.
“So in the offseason, I started training in Ju-Jitsu in Waterloo and I would practice on my teammates and stuff at Laurier and eventually got to a point where I was going into my third year which was supposed to be my breakout year, and it was a bit of a shock when I told my coaches I was going to leave do something else.”
Since then, Dale has moved to Ottawa and has been training ever since. The competition was scarce during COVID-19 and Dale felt the need to compete.
“It was a good thing as I continued to train at a gym and I continued to get better,” he said.
His first two years chasing his real passion were not easy.
“I had a lot to learn, but I continued to work hard in our gym which stayed open thankfully, and still got better over that time,” said Dale.
Dale admits he has had limited competition to this point, but he hopes that will change as amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) just became sanctioned within Ontario.
To take the next step, Dale has decided to head to Arizona to train at an MMA camp where some other friends of his have trained.
“We are very close, we train together, we work together so we are going to go on another trip and this time I am going to tag along and I am looking forward to making the same kind of jumps that I noticed they made when they were gone,” he said.
Dale has experienced some competition, which included a sanctioned Muay Thai split decision loss in November 2021, and three submission grappling events which included one championship in June of 2022. He expects to compete in one more event before heading to Arizona.
“Now I am able to get that amateur MMA exclusively in Ontario and I also look to make more visits to the US and the amateur leagues in the States are higher level and they are more geared towards developing fighters to go pro. So you basically get a pro fight without it going on your pro record,” said Dale, noting that less equipment is required along with smaller glove sizes make it more similar to the pro’s.
“I want to get that full MMA experience before I can talk about going professional.”
Businesses or individuals who want to support him in chasing his dream through sponsorship or financial support can contact him through email: [email protected].