Nam draws inspiration from slain brother
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
Normal questions about mixed martial arts don't bother Tyson Nam so much anymore.
When is the next fight? Who is the next opponent? What gym is open for training?
For the past 2 1/2 months, Nam has had to deal with some much deeper and darker questions.
Nam's older brother, Jason Nam, was shot and killed outside his Makiki apartment in broad daylight in March. The case remains under investigation.
"Every day is hard because we still don't know," Nam said. "But I told myself, I can't let it eat away at me. I needed to get back in the groove of things because that's what my brother would want."
For the first time since his brother's death, Nam will participate in a mixed martial arts bout. He will fight on the undercard of tomorrow's Icon Sport event at the Blaisdell Center Arena.
Nam, who is 22 and a student at the University of Hawai'i, will face Bill Dexter of San Diego in a matchup of up-and-coming 135-pounders.
In the main event, Jason "Mayhem" Miller will face Stefan Gamlin in a rare open weight bout. Miller is the No. 1-contender in Icon Sport's 185-pound division; Gamlin is 6 feet 7 and 350 pounds.
Nam said his brother was one of his best friends when they were growing up in Waimanalo. Jason is 9 years older than Tyson.
"Once I got into this sport, he was my biggest fan," Nam said. "He never missed a fight, and I know he's going to be there for me (tomorrow)."
Nam started in boxing, and then got into kickboxing. He recently started incorporating grappling into his training so that he could enter mixed martial arts events. He now trains at Egan Inoue's Grappling Unlimited school.
"I wanted to learn one thing at a time, so I went to boxing first, then I added kickboxing, and now I'm into mixed martial arts," Nam said. "I wanted to be ready for anything."
He also said that he is ready to face the mental challenges.
"My brother is always going to be in my mind and my heart," Nam said. "I'm going to use it to drive me even harder."
Open weight: Jason "Mayhem" Miller vs. Stefan Gamlin. 135: Bill "Spider" Dexter vs. Tyson Nam. 175: Anthony Torres vs. Jerry Hackney. Heavyweight: Ray Seraille vs. Gary Myers. 170: Lawrence Shorter vs. Sydney Silva. 155: Kaleo Kwon vs. Marshall Harvest. Heavyweight: Pat Collins vs. Jarret Lindsey. 165: Kimo Lee vs. Derek Stadler. 190: Ron Verdadero vs. Jack Richardson. 135: Jared Santos vs. Ikaika Silva. 130: Bronson Mohika vs. Devin Damo.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at firstname.lastname@example.org.