Return of Solo Hatley
The mixed martial arts action returns to Memphis, Tennessee on October 29th for the 25th annual Attitude MMA show taking place at the Memphis Music Room. For the Arkadelphia main event, Arkansas native Solo “The IRS Man” Hatley (9-6) takes on Brandon “The Gladiator” Gaitor (4-3) in a pro featherweight title fight. I had the chance to speak with Hatley and get some insight into his feelings about his upcoming fight, among other things regarding his career.
The 26-year-old prospect started training at age 14 and originally wanted to pursue boxing. His trainer pushed him further into MMA, which he began training in and would start competing at the age of 16.
Hatley says, “I never forget where I come from. It’s pretty cool to be the only guy in my hometown to do that. I appreciate all the support I have received over the years.
Hatley also expressed a lot of gratitude to his trainer Nathan Kirby and his teammates at Rock City MMA in Little Rock saying, “My teammates and my trainer are critical to my success, you ain’t shit without a good team. . So I want to thank them for the time they have invested in me and in my career. I have a bad habit of feeling like I’m letting them down when I lose, so I don’t want to feel like that’s a big motivator when I step into the cage.
The professional featherweight is 1-1 with famed MMA promotion Bellator and is technically still signed with them even though he hasn’t fought for them since July 2020. Since his last fight with Bellator, Hatley has taken multiple matches from boxing, a few MMA fights for local promotions and even a grappling match.
When asked what it was like to enter the world of boxing, he replied, “Floyd Mayweather was my inspiration to get into fighting and even after I started my MMA journey, I never opposed it. Favoritism has been very prevalent in my experience with Bellator. Since my last fight with them, I was only sporadically offered fights on two weeks notice. It’s hard to be in the gym two to three times a day without lining up anything. Boxing pays well, I’m good at it and it kept me active.
Hatley is also 1-1 with major MMA promotion LFA, who he says he’s also not averse to fighting again.
When asked what he hoped this main pro title fight would do for the trajectory of his career, Hatley explained, “I’ve wanted to fight for Attitude MMA for a while now and I also wanted to fight at new to MMA, so I was excited when I got this opportunity. I’m realistic, money is my biggest motivation when it comes to fighting. This is what changes your life and that of your family”. In the short term, I hope to make a statement with this fight and use it to get noticed to finish my fight contract with Bellator, get noticed by LFA or PFL again. Get paid a handsome fighting purse by one of the great fighting game promotions. In the long term, in a perfect world, I would like to retire like Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor with several millions. I’m very realistic when people ask me about this stuff because I know how people are. They love you when you win, hate you when you lose, and are quick to discredit you when it suits them. So money is what I focus on as long-term motivation, not fleeting fan admiration.
Hatley would like to give special thanks to his sponsor The Peppermint Hippo, his trainer Nathan Kirby and his friends/family who have supported him over the years.
You can purchase tickets to his upcoming fight at Attitude MMA Fights 25 through Ticketmaster and for fight fans who can’t fight at night, a live stream is also available for purchase through Spectation Sports.
Cameron Pollard is a freelance writer and WMMA competitor from Memphis, Tennessee who is passionate about telling deep, mindful fighter stories.