Steve “The Saiyan” Todman is an inspiration. He is someone we can all look at and think, “I should do better”. Steve was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease known as IGA nephropathy. The disease would make Steve need dialysis and in need of a kidney transplant.
Although times couldn’t seem harder for him, he battled his way to positivity and back into one of the world’s most dangerous sports. He looks to add to his 3-2-1NC record with a win against Jay Keer on September 3rd, 2022.
We had the honour of talking to Steve before his fight on Saturday night at RAGED UK. Check out the full interview below.
Interview With Steve Todman
Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to chat with me. I really appreciate it. Raged UK is just around the corner now. How has training been for this camp?
“All has gone pretty well. Had a big focus on getting my strength back to where it was. Then was like riding a bike. You never forget”
How long have you been training and competing in MMA? Did you compete in any other forms of combat sports before MMA?
“I started training under Stuart Lee at Red Neck MMA in 2007/8. Competed in MMA for the first time in 2012, winning by knockout in 30 seconds of the first round. Competed in boxing alongside it, eventually becoming county light heavyweight champ. Never really did sport as a kid. I liked cake too much”
As some may or may not know. You’ve had major organ surgery. Can you tell us a little about your story with that, how it’s affected your life and MMA journey?
“So August 2019, my son was born three days later. I was hospitalized after losing sight in my left eye. The first thought by the doctors was I was having a heart attack or stroke as my blood pressure was so it. It had actually burst the blood vessels in my eye. After many tests and a long while in the hospital, it was discovered my kidneys were failing. I was later diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called IGA nephropathy. I was quickly started on dialysis and placed on the transplant list. My health went downhill very quickly.
I became very anaemic as my kidneys struggled to produce red blood cells. This led to me fainting, even getting up to get a glass of water at times. I was near stuck in bed at one point. On May 7th, 2021, I got the call they had a kidney for me. Around 5 am May 8th, I went down for surgery and had a successful transplant.”
That is insane. The fact you’ve got through that and still want to compete and work as hard as you do is nothing short of amazing. It must have been hard to think you’d ever get back in the cage at times, I would imagine. What kept you motivated during the tough times?
“Honestly, I had to completely rebuild myself. While I was sick my relationship with my son’s mum broke down and it just felt like it was one thing after another. The illness felt like it literally took who I am from me. I can remember being sat on my hospital bed, massively depressed the day after my transplant crying to myself as someone had just passed away, leaving me their kidney, and I couldn’t feel anything but depressed and feeling like that person would love to be here still with his family right now. It was a really difficult time. Around three weeks after my transplant, I went to Cornwall to stay with my brother for a bit and try to refocus myself. I don’t know exactly what it was, but something just changed. The second day I was there, I dragged myself up and walked 12 miles.
Decided that no matter what happened, I couldn’t focus on what I couldn’t do anymore; I needed to focus on what I could do. I honestly next expected to compete in MMA again. But I kept pushing myself and kept getting better and better blood results until the point my doctor told me that if I wanted to do it, I could, but I had to understand the risks. Sort of a second life for me now. Back to competing in MMA, be it for the last time, but at least I get to leave the sport I love on my own terms and run a reptile rescue. My biggest motivation in all of it was my son. I’ll eventually get sick again. But I want to show him no matter what life hits you with, you get back up and go again. You can stumble, but don’t stay down.“
Win or lose do you think this may be your last time inside the cage? Retiring from the sport?
“I think this will be the last time no matter what, yeah. My new kidney has no protection as it’s actually in the front just above my groin. To many risks to put me through multiple fight camps, ect, when it could be damaged. But I’m happy to leave this way. Hopefully, I will raise a lot of kidney care U.K. who helped me while I was sick, leave my mark as the first person to do it after a transplant, and hopefully, something my son will be proud of me for one day. I’d love to stay involved in the sport somehow. Just unsure how at this point.”
Steve, you’re nothing but an inspiration. I wish you nothing but the best & I can’t wait to watch you compete next week. Do you have any messages you want to leave with us or have any shoutouts in particular?
“Anyone that’s been affected by kidney disease, I can’t recommend kidney care in the U.K. enough. You’re not alone in your battle, and they can help greatly. Wanna thank everyone that’s helped me train for this one and Gary at RAGED for giving me the chance to do what I love one last time. Oh, and my dog for forcing me to run”
Again, I would to thank Steve for giving us time to talk to him. His story is nothing short of amazing. Best of luck to both men on Saturday.
A link to Steve’s Go fund me can be found here.
Featured image credits to Raged UK MMA