The Best Combat Athlete in Iceland Skip to content

The Best Combat Athlete in Iceland

Gunnar Nelson is currently 23 years old. He was born in Akureyri but when he was still very young, he moved to Reykjavík city with his parents Guðrún Hulda Gunnarsdóttir Nelson and Haraldur Dean Nelson.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

Gunnar competes in both MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and Grappling. He has however practiced other sports in the past. “I played football when I was a kid and I played chess when I was even younger. Then I started practicing Karate when I was 13 years old and competed a few times in that sport,” says Gunnar who became national champion of young adults in Karate three years straight, as well as being a member of the national team in Karate from the age of 15. He was elected the most promising Karate player in Iceland at the age of 16. Gunnar also played hockey for a while.

Gunnar has recently returned home from Ireland after having defeated the Ukrainian Alexander Butenko in MMA. In the recent Grappling competition in Iceland, Gunnar won both the men -88 kg weigth category and the men open weight category. Not much rest for Gunnar but he says that he does not need to take a special break between competitions. He says it is quite possible to compete with such a short time between competition, but it depends on his physical condition each time. It is fine to participate in a tournament such as this one a few weeks after a fight, he says.

gunnar_nelsonGunnar Nelson

Gunnar says that his preparation before a tournament is not complicated. “I just practice in Mjölnir like always, I do not make a lot of changes even though a tournament is coming up.” When asked if he is on a special diet, he says he isn’t. “I just eat healthy food which is close to nature, not too much and not too little.” He admits to eating candy occasionally but tries to keep it to a minimum. When asked if he has suffered any injuries, he says that he is fortunately injury free.

Gunnar is practicing at the Icelandic MMA club Mjölnir – SBG Iceland in Reykjavík. The club has been victorious in domestic martial arts tournaments. In the aforementioned Grappling tournament for example, members of Mjölnir club came in first in every category except one.

He started practicing the types of combat sports that he practices today when he was 15 years old. He has therefore had great success in a considerably short period of time. Gunnar says that the reason for his success is practicing hard and good company. “Also I like this very much and I feel good when I practice and compete. I plan on continuing to do this until I grow old.”

Gunnar also practices at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York under the supervision of Renzo Gracie and John Danaher, but he has also practiced in Dublin and Manchester. Gunnar is a professional MMA and has won numerous awards in grand tournaments, for example first place in the Pan American 2009 and the New York Open 2009, and second place in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) in 2009, reports.


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