Torbjørn Madsen: I’m ready to put Bergen on the map

There aren’t many men in the world who’ve traversed the Atlantic Ocean in a submarine, have worked at three Michelin-starred restaurants in France and completed five years of a six-year clinical psychology degree, all before the age of thirty. In fact, Torbjørn Madsen might be the only one. He’s certainly a man of multiple talents and he’s ready to show the world that his fighting skills eclipse all of the others.

The twenty-eight-year-old may be a name that you’re not too familiar with, but he’s been quietly amassing a flawless MMA record. He went 3-0 as an amateur and is now 3-0 as a professional, finishing all three opponents. His last appearance was a first round submission finish against Steve Watson on Made 4 The Cage 22, where he took all that Watson could throw at him, barely batting an eyelid, before crushing his opponent with less than a minute left in the round. “He had me in a few awkward positions in that fight”, Madsen told me; “but I pushed through to get the win. He was a gentleman before and after the fight though, which was great, so I have the utmost respect for Steve Watson”.

Fighting isn’t a family trait. The youngest of three siblings, Torbjørn’s older brother and sister have reputable jobs in education and medicine, “I suppose I’m the odd one out. Although when I finish my degree I’ll have a path to follow once my fighting career is over”.

Fighting for a living wasn’t the dream when Madsen was young, “I didn’t start training in mixed martial arts until eight years ago. I’d dabbled in Tae Kwon Do and kick boxing when younger, but that was just for fun. Even my MMA training was a bit hit and miss, until five years ago, when I started taking it more seriously. I’ve been out to Tristar in Montreal twice. Whilst out there I realised that there were a couple of things I wanted to do with my life; the clinical psychology degree was a path I was already on; but it became apparent that fighting was the other. I’m the type of person who needs more than one passion to stay focused. I find that if I am limited to just the one interest then I start to lose the gratitude I have for it, I develop a ‘passion fatigue’.  Having to juggle multiple parts of your life makes you appreciate what you have far more. Well, I do, certainly”.

Hailing from Bergen, which is situated on Norway’s west coast, approximately 450 miles from Oslo; Madsen was one of the founder members of the Heavy Rain fight team. “There’s a very small and tight knit group of martial artists in Bergen. My training partner, Edvin Eldholm and I were the only pro fighters in the area. We set up the team, with cooperation from Bergen Grappling, which is still our ‘home base’ and have progressed from there. The great thing is, Heavy Rain is all focused on us professionals. There are three of us now, as Alexander Jacobsen (who sensationally stopped Tim Wilde at Cage Warriors 80 last month) has since joined the team. Most training takes place at Bergen Grappling, but we also spend time with Alexander Bjerck, who’s our strength and conditioning coach; and with the guys at Bergen MMA for striking”.

So as one of the founder members of Heavy Rain, it would be remiss of me to not ask, ‘Why choose that name?’. “Well, ha ha! Heavy Rain has a few meanings. Firstly, Bergen is known as a city with shit weather. We’re on the coast, we’re situated between seven mountains, it’s constantly raining here! Plus, we didn’t want our name to be Bergen-centric, we thought it would have a better international feel if it wasn’t limited to our home. There’s also the play on words; rain/reign and we intend to reign supreme”.

Having avoided the elephant in the room up until now; surely you, the reader, are wondering ‘how do clinical psychology and MMA go together?’. “Well, I’m twenty-eight now, so as you can see, I didn’t go straight to university. Initially I spent three years at a culinary school in France, working in two one-Michelin-star restaurants and one three-Michelin-star restaurant during my time there. I then spent a year doing my national service (which is compulsory for all Norwegians), all on a submarine, and whilst underwater I decided on my future career path, psychology. Being trapped underwater for weeks at a time without natural light has an effect on you, which probably contributed to my decision; although being from Bergen, I should be used to living life with no sun!”.

Madsen intends to well and truly surface in the MMA industry this year and with and aggressive, all-action style, he’s certainly going to turn a few heads. Fight news is imminent, so keep an eye out for this talented Scandinavian. He’s going places.

Photos provided by the fantastic Angy Ellis.