Winning fights, winning titles, building his skillset; Edmonton, Alta.’s Shane Campbell is doing everything possible for a second chance on the big stage.
Though admitting that certain scenarios for his future are more attractive than others, such as the opportunity for another stint in the UFC, Campbell, 33, said he fights to develop and learn as a martial artist first and foremost, financial and other concerns aside, and will continue to be involved in MMA in numerous capacities regardless of his own fighting career.
“I’ve put so many years in with this now that I’d like to get a couple paycheques before it’s time for me to retire, which would be nice, but I’m a martial artist for life and I’m in the industry. I travel the world and I teach seminars, you know, and soon enough I’ll really settle down and run my own gym, but I love to travel right now, so the responsibility of a consistent class is tough to manage while still trying to fight and everything else. I’m always teaching; I’ve been teaching for twenty years, as long as I have been fighting. I run personals here in Edmonton and whenever I travel and teach seminars I often do a couple personal sessions with people in that gym or in that city. I’ll always be in the industry. I’ll be cornering people, I’ll be on the mic as colour commentary, maybe announcing, or as a ref or judge. Whatever it is, I’ll forever be involved in the sport,” Campbell said in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I sure hope after this fight I’ll get back to the UFC and I’ll have another five-year run, and I’ll play it out with another dozen fights in there, you know, and maybe happily retire at 40. As for Bellator, they offer kickboxing, although I haven’t seen much of it going on lately. I’ve had my manager throw my name into their pool. It’s just about reaching that moment where everything comes together. I don’t really mind where I fight as long as there’s a pay cheque and a willing opponent to throw down for the fans. I love to scrap, this is what I’m here to do.”
In his nearly thirty-fight professional career, Campbell has fought all over the globe for promotions both regional and international, the latter of which included World Series of Fighting (now Professional Fighters League) and the UFC, where Campbell expects to find himself again in the near future pending another win on his record this weekend.
“Whenever you go and take that next step up and you’re surrounded by the most elite of whatever industry you’re in, that’s invaluable,” said Campbell.
“Being in the back warm-up rooms in the UFC with Max Holloway and other champions, you know. At the same time, everyone’s a human being; I definitely deserved to be in the UFC with those guys at the time. My skillset was there, but I didn’t put in exactly the right work. At the highest level of anything, a lot just comes down to who wants it more.”
Coincident with his storied martial arts journey, Campbell has progressively developed a deep interest, perhaps even obsession, with the science of how training and fighting affects the human body.
He is also actively involved in research efforts towards discovering new recuperative methods and technologies that could allow for fighters to mitigate, or maybe even outright prevent, damage to their long-term physical and mental health.
“I’m a student for life, whether I’m learning martial arts, or agriculture, or new medical studies. Every single night I spend hours just researching whatever it may be, and the last couple years it’s been medical stuff; I’ve been reading dozens of medical journals based on everything that’s been going on the last couple years. Medical journals not just from here in Canada, but many from all around the world I’ve been pulling and learning from,” said Campbell.
“I also run hyperbaric chambers because within fighting there was always the concern that if I were to get knocked out and be concussed, I’d want to repair my brain. That brought me to hyperbaric chambers, and I hooked up with Apothec Naturals and Wellness. Now that I work at that clinic I’m able to help other people heal their brains, and what started out of a concern should I be concussed in a fight has become an effort to help so many people treat so many different illnesses, especially now with how many adverse effects are coming to light (from fighting), we’re getting many different types of people approaching us for some kind of help.”
Campbell said this work has, intended or not, also been instructive for his own fights, and believes his perennial student’s mindset, across all his interwoven interests and pursuits, pays dividends even in those split seconds under the lights and pressure.
“To be able to hurt an opponent, in a specific way, to finish an opponent, you have to understand the science of the body and the brain,” he said.
“For many years that was my goal, to finish them. Now, after I break them, my goal is to heal them back up.”
The next task Campbell faces is the talented kickboxer in Geven.
He said that while he is aware of his opponent Geven’s skill set and body of work, the accumulation of high-level experience over the course of the past decade and beyond has instilled an inner confidence that he can adapt, in real time, to whatever any given fight demands of him.
“He (Geven) appears to be not afraid to get hit from past videos that I saw, and he’s definitely willing to take a couple shots to move forward,” said Campbell.
“For someone like myself who’s actually willing to get in there and fight and scrap, I can be intimidating to many people, so for them to move forward is not always the easiest, and this guy appears to be a little bit fearless. It’s not that it’s going to be a threat, it’s just going to change how I fight, right, whether I’m fighting a counter-fighter or an aggressive fighter. I don’t know, I don’t really judge fights in advance. If it goes one round I’m happy with that, but if it goes five I’m comfortable.”