New Straits Times - - SUNDAY VIBES -

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.

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