An interview with Nathias ‘Notorious’ Frederick: Local MMA World Champion on achieving your goals and fulfilling your dreams!
31st March 2021
We recently spoke to local World MMA Champion Nathias “Notorious” Frederick about his autism diagnosis and how he overcame his struggles to become a world class sportsman. Nathias, from Birmingham, received a diagnosis of autism as a child and is also dyslexic with a crippling stammer.
This autism awareness week Nathias shares his story with us along with messages of hope and encouragement to everyone else about achieving their own goals and ambitions in life…
When you were first diagnosed what changes did that initially make for your life and understanding of yourself?
“I didn’t understand and never got help till I went to Uffculme special school. I spent the last year of junior school there.”
What have been the most significant challenges for you as an autistic person?
“People aren’t very patient even when I show my frustration getting them just to listen.”
How did you get into Mixed Martial Arts?
“My brother and I were on the bus and we spotted a gym that said ‘UTC’. My brother explained to me what they did and so I joined! I used to train by myself as I didn’t have the confidence to ask for help, but in time I got to know them. UTC has now closed down but a few of us went on to join ‘Renegade Gym’ to continue to train.”
Can you tell us about how professional sport, and in particular Cage Fighting, has given you a focus for your passion and abilities, and how this has helped with other challenges that may come with being autistic?
“Cage fighting gave me a way to express myself where I didn’t have to write or keep up long conversations as my stammer would come into play. The gym is a physical thing.”
How did you feel when you realised that you had serious ability in MMA and started to see the results of your hard work?
“Over the moon! My Mom has always said I could do it.”
What did it feel like when you became a World Champion?
“Before I went to Uffculme my Mom was told I wouldn’t be able to do certain things in life. My Mom, with the help of Margo Sharp Speech and Language Therapist, gave me the tool’s to succeed and was always there if needed.”
What advice would you offer to other autistic people about achieving their goals and fulfilling their own dreams?
“If it wasn’t for Dave Lovell, my coach, I’d be lost- real talk! He knew how much I wanted to get to get into the octagon. I had to be so disciplined and work harder than most- I had something to prove to all of the people who did me wrong. I made it to the top! Don’t let anyone say ‘No you can’t do that’ because you can! Find someone you trust and try a different route.”
What advice would you give to an autistic person struggling to find their way in life?
“Never ever, ever take no for an answer! You’ll get knocked down hundreds of times but you’ll find the strength. Always tell someone how you feel!”
If there was one thing that you would like to make people aware about autism during Autism Awareness Week what would it be?
“Let the public understand there are different kinds of autism on the spectrum. Stop giving people tablets and give them real help as well as funding to all schools so that there can be more special needs to teachers. Always listen to the child!”
Is there anything else you would like to say?
“I would just like to say to all of those facing adversity don’t give up! Once again, big shout out to Margo Sharp and Dave Lovell my boxing coach. Also thanks to my Mom who I still see everyday! I say to say to all people stop pre judging and even if I didn’t make it to the ufc I tried so never give up! The struggles are real but Thank You to everyone who has supported me. Please support autism awareness this week!”
Thanks so much to Nathias for sharing his story and insight! We wish him all the best in his future career.