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
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