2017 ONE Championship: Immortal Pursuit

Amir Khan Turned Tourette Syndrome Into A Positive

Amir Khan Turned Tourette Syndrome Into A Positive

ONE knockout artist Amir Khan turned Tourette Syndrome into a strength inside the cage.

Nov 23, 2017 by Duane Finley
Amir Khan Turned Tourette Syndrome Into A Positive

Amir Khan is not your average, everyday mixed martial artist.

Besides being a standout under the ONE Championship banner, the Singapore native has come to master adversity at a level far beyond what he’ll ever face inside the cage. 

While the common description would be to say Khan suffers from Tourette Syndrome, “suffering” is not the word the fighter would use at all.

Khan has used martial arts and combat sports to flip the neurological disorder into a strength, and he talked about his history with the disorder ahead of his bout against Adrian Pang this Friday at ONE: Immortal Pursuit live on FloCombat.

“I believe martial arts has helped me through [my Tourette's]. Whenever I felt like I could not control my Tourette’s, then I would go to the gym and I would sweat it out. I felt relaxed and better after each session,” Khan told ONEFC.com.

“In martial arts, you cannot really take your eyes off your opponent when you are sparring with him. You have got to really really focus, or else you will get hurt, so it definitely taught me how to focus, and I was able to bring it over into real-life situations.

“Usually, inside the cage, I do not try to control the tics,” he added. “Sometimes, it comes up, but it does not affect me, because I learned to cope with it. Even if I were to move my head, my eyes are still on my opponent.”

While Khan has come to use MMA as his outlet to combat the symptoms of the disorder, such things weren’t available in his younger days.

Khan struggled with Tourette’s growing up and dealt confusion and insecurity as he attempted to make his way through.

“Growing up, I used to have spasms,” Khan said. “I used to shake my head a lot. I would blink my eyes and make facial expressions. When I was younger, it was really really bad. When I was in school, the other kids would pick on me and imitate me and stuff. It was tough growing up with it."

Eventually Khan would find Muay Thai, and his proficiency in the “Art of Eight Limbs” would pave the way for a blossoming career on one of the biggest stages in the world.

“My mom was all right with me just training, but when I wanted to compete, she was not too sure about it,” he said. “You know moms can be very protective. My dad supported me since day one. When I told him I want to compete in Muay Thai tournaments, he said: ‘OK, just tell me what I can do to help.’

“My mom, after a couple of years, I tried to convince her that this is what I really wanted to do, and then she supported me in the end.”

While his past is filled with triumph over adversity, his current path has been filled with nothing but success — which has come in brutal and spectacular fashion. Khan will enter his bout with Pang with the momentum of a five-fight winning streak and holding the record for the most knockouts in the history of ONE FC.

As the co-main event slot, Khan is planning to put on a show for the fans and stamp his place in the title hunt at the Australian’s expense.

Khan said: “If I put him away either by knockout, submission, or TKO, I believe I have the right to challenge the world champion.”