Ren­ton mar­tial artist goes through hell on a re­al­i­tyTV show to prove he could cut it in the Army af­ter his body ink ended bid to be a ser­vice­man

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Carla Tal­bot

A Ren­ton fight­ing champ turned down by the Army be­cause of his tat­toos tested his mil­i­tary met­tle as part of a tough TV en­durance show.

David Fer­gu­son, who said he is des­per­ate to serve his coun­try de­spite re­peated knock­backs, took part in BBC show ‘Spe­cial Forces: Ul­ti­mate Hell Week’ filmed in the South African bush.

Dur­ing the three-week chal­lenge, he was dragged from his bed, tied and blind­folded be­fore hav­ing freez­ing cold wa­ter thrown over him, forced to carry con­crete blocks in the bak­ing sun and made to drink the con­tents of a freshly killed spring­bok’s stom­ach.

The 26-year-old — who said the show was “bru­tal but a great ex­pe­ri­ence” — en­dured it all to show he is ca­pa­ble of serv­ing in the mil­i­tary.

He has been try­ing sign up for over three years but be­cause of his tat­toos — which cover most his body, his head and parts of his face — he has not been ac­cepted.

The cur­rent reg­u­la­tion states that face, neck and hand tat­toos are against reg­u­la­tion.

David, who is a top Muay Thai cham­pion and trains at D-Unit gym in Dum­bar­ton, told the Len­nox Her­ald:“I have al­ways re­ally wanted to join the Army. It’s what I want to do with my life.

“But I am not al­lowed to serve my coun­try be­cause of what I look like.

“I have been try­ing for three years and they just will not en­ter­tain me at all.

“I am able bod­ied and de­ter­mined and I want to show that as much as pos­si­ble. That’s part of the rea­son I went on the show.

“It’s very frus­trat­ing that just be­cause I have tat­toos I can’t do some­thing I re­ally want to do.

“I don’t want to be a Queen’s guard, I want to be out on the front lines.”

Dur­ing his time on the show, which was filmed in March last year and is on TV now, on Sun­days at 9pm, David had to com­plete some of the tough­est chal­lenges imag­in­able.

But de­spite the tor­tur­ous tasks, David said the men­tal chal­lenges were the worst.

He con­tin­ued: “We had to en­dure real SAS train­ing tech­niques, which was bru­tal. It was a re­ally chal­leng­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially the men­tal as­pects of it.

“It was def­i­nitely one of the hard­est things I have ever done. We were wo­ken in the middle of the night ev­ery night. It got to the point where I just wasn’t sleep­ing and I had no idea where I was or what was go­ing on. “It re­ally pushed your mind to the limit. “The phys­i­cal chal­lenges were more en­joy­able and, with­out be­ing big-headed, I think I done my­self a big credit.

“I push my­self as far as I can and I am al­ways de­ter­mined to do the best I can.

“Some of it was hor­ren­dous. One of the chal­lenges was in the desert and that was one I found the most dif­fi­cult.

“It was over 40 de­grees and for ev­ery step you took in the sand, you took two steps back­wards.

“I had to carry a pack on my back and the heat was just un­be­liev­able.”

But through it all, he even man­aged to make a friend out of one of his fel­low con­tes­tants, Gary Burch, from Portsmouth.

The pair are now close friends and still keep in touch.

David added: “I ended up keep­ing in touch with Gary, one of the other con­tes­tants.

“If I got any­thing out of it, it’s a friend for life — and that’s a big part of mil­i­tary life.”

I’ve al­ways wanted to serve my coun­try — but I’m not al­lowed to be­cause of how I look. It’s part of the rea­son I went on the show

Mak­ing his mark Tat­tooed Muay Thai cham­pion David Fer­gu­son, 26, from Ren­ton, at the D-Unit gym in Dum­bar­ton where he trains Hell David Fer­gu­son took part in Spe­cial Forces Ul­ti­mate Hell Week filmed in South Africa and now show­ing on BBC Two

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