and one brother), was born in Kuala Lumpur and spent the first six years of his life in Malaysia. He remembers growing up in a fairly strict and traditional Chinese household. His father was in the timber business, while his mother was a secretary. His father, recalls Ting, got tired of what he was doing and coupled with the state of the economy at the time, decided to uproot the whole family to New Zealand. “He sold his shares to the government and we left. Auckland became home.” Smiling, Ting shares that his childhood ambition The young Ev seen here with his mother and sister. was to become a football player. Chuckling, he confides: “My favourite subject at school was P.E. and I excelled at soccer. I was the school’s first 11 team captain.” Leaning closer, Ting continues: “I’ll tell you an interesting story. My two friends and I were actually scouted for a soccer academy by an agent from the Premier League. In fact, one of the guys is playing there now! Funnily enough, despite my early love for the game, my path wasn’t steered in that direction.”
Once he left school, Ting found himself working at a car yard selling, fixing and washing cars. “I took a year out for work and within a year or so of working, I was promoted to technician. But within the first week in that role, I quit. It suddenly hit me that I didn’t want my life to go in that direction.” So he threw in the towel and decided to return to college and get a diploma in Sports and Recreation.
“And not long after, I decided to dedicate my life to MMA,” says Ting, before sharing that by that time, he’d already been following Pride FC or Pride Fighting Championships, a Japanese mixed martial arts promotion company.
Suddenly, everything started to make sense. “I was a natural competitor and whats more, I was finding myself in a lot of fights anyway!” confides Ting before adding with a chuckle: “I was a hyper-active kid. I guess it was really through martial arts that I was able to channel all that energy and be more present.”
Where did all the aggression stem from, I couldn’t help asking. A pause ensues as Ting contemplates the question. “I think it was from being a minority,” he eventually replies, adding: “My first two years in New Zealand I was the only Chinese kid in class so I was kinda the odd one out. Many years were spent trying to blend in and find that sense of belonging. It was only until I got into MMA that I discovered that everything actually goes from inside out.”
In 2009, Ting began training at a local gym in Auckland and a year later, made his amateur debut. The first three years as an amateur was a challenging one, he recalls. “Everything was just so expensive. You want to join a tournament, it costs money. You want to train, it costs money. So I had to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. But the challenges I faced really
Ev and his parents.