Phil De Fries On Mental Health, Being KSW Heavyweight Champion & His UFC Run

UFC veteran Phil De Fries headlines the upcoming KSW 50 event, defending the heavyweight gold against Damian Grabowski. 

De Fries has faced some heat from Polish MMA fans for defeating some of their countrymen, but De Fries feels that he is finally winning the Polish fans over.

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“I mean their a really good fan base...the Poles, they get behind the guys and they want to see Polish guys winning. So I understand why they want me to lose, but I’m winning them over you know with each fight . I think they quite like me a bit you know and they like me more with each fight, I’m not going anywhere so they’ll get used to me,” says De Fries in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s Harry Kettle. 

The former UFC fighter has won three of three bouts in KSW MMA, including a victory over Tomasz Narkun at KSW 47 ro win the heavyweight strap. 

Other than battling opponents throughout his professional MMA career, another thing that De Fries has battled in anxiety and other mental health issues, which the fighter has gotten help for and urges others to get assistance with. 

“They offered me lots of counseling, but I was too anxious. I thought I can’t speak to anybody...I won’t do it, I can’t do this...blah blah blah. I thought of all these reasons why I couldn’t do it, then I thought I would battle the medicine...blah blah blah. Then I wind up getting the medicine, like it wouldn’t cure it...but it helped so much. Then I went back when I wasn’t so anxious, therapy...that kind of helped a little bit. I’m like scared to come off the medication, I’ll happily stay on this medication for life because since I’ve started taking it...I’ve become a better person. I’m so much happier, the anxiety is gone. I could be the poster boy for this medication,” says De Fries.

KSW 50 takes place on Saturday, September 14 from Wembley Arena in London, England with Phil De Fries and Damian Grabowski headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event.

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