When you step inside Smac Gym, your first steps are greeted by a reception room steeped in natural light and adorned with trophies, awards, and photos of past & present fighters. The athletes are illustrated by the photos of smiling faces and proud coaches which only adds to its welcoming community and positive atmosphere. Once you make your way past the second doorway, you arrive face to face with high ceilings, the familiar feel of crisp gym air, and the towering ring. It stands at attention, somehow more like an altar than an arena. Eye-catching graffiti decorates the utilitarian walls - the design is instantly recognisable. After taking in the scenery and the church-like serenity, you’re greeted by Baby Nansen and Sam Hill, managers and trainers at Smac Gym. The room comes to life and you start to realise there’s 90’s throwbacks trickling through the walls; the neighbours are jamming to one hit song after another. Conversation bubbles up touching on weekend plans, family life, and training.
Most people probably imagine professional fighters to be intimidating and scary, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everything about Baby Nansen and Sam Hill is controlled, thoughtful, and full of patience and discipline. Partners for 10 years and training together for even longer; their teamwork is apparent from the first moment you meet them.Their mutual respect for each other, their family, and their sport is evident in everything they do. Even their conversation takes turns, one voice dancing around the other’s for a seamlessness that only time, hard work, and respect can achieve.
Outside of the gym, Baby & Sam enjoy cooking, dancing, going to the movies, and Thailand. The two athletes had originally planned to relocate their Muay Thai Kickboxing careers there about 5 years ago but, in a Shortland Street-style turn of events, they became the gym’s managers overnight. They put their dreams on hold in order to repay the gym who had invested so much time, energy, and patience into their own careers. Nowadays, Baby and Sam spend every hour of their day training for upcoming fights, coaching athletes of all ages, managing the gym, and raising their family; all of this while keeping their dreams of the UFC within reach.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to begin your fitness journey or level up your workout, make sure to stop by Smac Gym and make yourself at home.