Whenever a newer student comes into the gym they’ve often done a good deal of homework. They’ve checked out our website, read our blogs and watched our videos on Youtube. With that, these new students have often watched several of my MMA fights. Once they make it to the gym they often ask whether or not I still fight. When I tell them no, they’re always surprised since I experienced a fair amount of success with a combined record of 13-0-1.
It’s funny how we will often coast through aspects of our life the same as we have been with no real change. That is, until something happens, something that wakes us up and forces us to make changes. For me that aspect of life was fighting. I would fight once or twice a year but didn’t put much stock into the whole thing. It’s funny, when I first got into BJJ it was because I wanted to fight. But the longer I practiced BJJ the more I just wanted to do BJJ. I loved grappling and the overall atmosphere and brotherhood-like nature of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. MMA and fighting is cool but I didn’t enjoy the community as much. I also hated a lot of the douche-bagery that accompanies MMA. Too much macho-tough-guy stuff for me, keep in mind I make nerdy historical comparisons to BJJ. It just wasn’t me. I enjoy competition and testing myself.But I’m not nor was I ever fighting or competing to prove myself to others.
That “something” that I talked about earlier came after my last fight. The picture above was right after the fight. If you look at it, you’ll notice I’m not even staring at the camera. This was because I couldn’t see where the camera was. My student next to me laughed when I asked, “Who are you?” after he asked to get a picture taken. The reason I asked was because, again, I couldn’t see very well. During the fight I had taken a fairly hard shot to the side of the head. One of those shots that wobbled the legs and made you wake up 3 steps back from the last place you remembered. It’s a weird feeling. If you’ve ever been choked out then you have an idea. When I watch the video of the fight and see the overhand right connect to the side of my head followed by my body stumbling back. I can still clearly remember the flash of unconsciousness that came followed by my inner voice going,”Woah that’s not good.” Followed by a desire to hit the guy back and my inner voice saying, “That mother %^@#%!.“ After being hit in the fight I kept myself together and eventually won the fight by north south choke in the 2nd round.
After the fight was over I was left with a big blueish spot right in the center of my vision that persisted for an hour or so. To get an idea of the lack of vision I experienced, make a fist. Now place the fist against your face so that your wrist presses against your nose. Now move the fist about 2 inches from your face. That fist represents that big blue spot. If you’re following along then you’ll realize how much of my vision was impaired.
The excitement and relief of winning was flowing through my veins after the fight and I laughed off the blue spot. At the time I thought it was funny. I took a sort of pride that I had gotten hit hard enough to be concussed and still won the fight. But after the thrill of the fight had worn off that blue spot created doubt in my mind. Doubt about why I was fighting. I didn’t necessarily love it. Not like I loved Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Also, in order to fight I had to spread my resources amongst multiple disciplines which meant I couldn’t be the best that I could be in BJJ as long as I fought. Lastly, if I was going to sustain possible life altering injuries, why would I do it for something I didn’t love? I would ,and have, racked up numerous injuries as a result of BJJ. But I love Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and would gladly do it again. Back then if you asked why I continued to fight I wouldn’t have been able to give you a good reason. Possibly to perform for my students and to test myself, but that’s it. However, if you asked why I continued to compete in and practice BJJ, I could have talked your ear off for hours.
So if you’re one of the new guys in the gym looking up information on me or you just stumbled across this blog. The reason I stopped fighting MMA was because I loved BJJ more and wanted to be the best I could be at that one thing. I love the training, brotherhood, community and art form of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. There’s nothing quite like it.