Guys, I have been asked by a friend that we all know to pass on this letter. I am sad to do so but also proud of my friend at the same time. I will add my thoughts afterwards but for now the spotlight is his.
As you know, I've been working out with a very good camp out here in Las
Vegas, and it's all been in preparation for a friend's fight. I figured
that along the way, I could get into really good shape and pick up another
fight or two and then call it a career. Nothing serious, just some local
stuff where some of Randy's guys as well as others from Vegas compete when they're breaking into MMA. I still feel good physically and my mental
strength is a huge asset, so why not? I might even have some fun out there and my prot?g?' really wants us to fight on the same card.
The workouts began close to a month ago and we've been working out 5 days per week, easing into things at first and then gradually cranking up the intensity. Right now we are pretty much going full speed and really
beginning to push each other. That's why I'm writing this letter. One of
the guys in our camp suffered an ankle injury and he's scheduled to fight in just over 2 weeks. He's living at the gym, works there to make food money and pretty much has only the clothes on his back. For him, the injury is a major set back, as he's one of the guys who needs to get as many fights and pay days in as quickly as possible. He's moved to Vages from the Pacific North West and he left his fianc?e and 1 year old, while he tries to make it as an MMA fighter. Needless to say, it's swim or sink for him. Pretty talented guy too, not one of these below average guys who try and make it with their outrageous hair or over the top antics.
The first 2 weeks went well for me as I got all the tightness and kinks out
and began feeling good about being back out on the mats and doing all the conditioning and drills with the guys. I was a little bit off the pace but I figured going on 38 years of age and competing with guys in their early to mid 20's, I had no reason to feel bad about anything. 2 weeks ago, we cranked the intensity up and I really began to notice that I would get more tired than the rest of the guys and I would really struggle to recover.
Slightly embarrassed at first, I decided to do some conditioning on my own
and catch up. I was watching these guys make gains and improvements, while I was merely trying to maintain, forget about keeping up. I went ahead and did a mental check and committed myself to getting past this plateau that I'd been stuck at. It didn't really turn out as planned. I found myself out there willing myself to not fail, to not quit. Every camp I've ever done, dating back to when I was 10 years old, I always found myself willing myself to excel and achieve. I couldn't understand what had changed. I could not seem to convince myself that I was down a point and needed to sprint to score the winning take down. I have wrestled so many matches over the years while running and won almost all of them. I could not do it this time. I was losing all of the take downs, and all of the matches.
A couple of days ago, I found myself sitting out the last half of the
conditioning session. I just sat it out and began to reevaluate this whole
thing. When I left, I decided to do a 3 mile run as punishment and try to
do it in 21 minutes. It's windy out here, so half the run is great when I'm
running north and with the wind but the other half sucks when I'm coming
back south and into the wind. That's where all the matches have been lost. I was breathing pretty hard and my legs felt unusually heavy. I began to tell myself I only had another mile to go and I could coast back home at a good enough pace to make it in in 21:00. A few seconds later I stopped and began walking. It's not like I failed physically, I quit mentally. I was not willing to pay the price. It hurt too much, it was too great a mental toll and I just gave up. The walk in was pretty fucking shitty to say theleast. I had a lot of time to think and I had lots of different scenarios play out in my head. One of them was performance enhancing drugs. I got home, made some food and relaxed in a cold bath.
The following day, I went in to train and I saw the guy who had injured his
ankle. I asked him about it and he said it was fine. A couple of days
prior, he could not put any weight on it. after the training session which
I went half speed and sat out almost half of, I pulled him aside and I
asked him what he did. He showed me a vial of undetectable stuff. He told me all about it. It's actually something I can easily get from others who take the same thing. He said he could get me some and he named 4 guys who I know that could get it for me. I already knew that, I just didn't know that they were getting it for anyone else there. I was a little surprised that they were so out in the open about it but so be it. I wished him luck with his injury and his upcoming fight. He'll be just fine, there is no test for this stuff and the improvements he already made are mind boggling.
I called my fighter and told him that I have been having great difficulty with getting into proper conditioning and that I was considering dropping my fight aspect of our goals and instead focus on coaching him. He asked me to stop by, said he had something for me. So I went over to his place and he hands me a vial of some similar stuff that I was discussing with the other guy. I asked him if he was on and he said yes. He then asked me how I thought he had gone from 218 to 194 in the last month. I already knew That this stuff burns the fat right off and makes you stronger than hell, so it made perfect sense. It also allows you to recover and make gains where you might otherwise not be able to recover from highly strenuous workouts. I was a little disappointed in him, but then we started to talk about it and I decided not to judge him or anyone else for being on it. He told me that he got it from the other gym he was at, before he joined me at the current one..
I declined to take the vial home with me. I rested on my couch and I just
thought about everything. I went ahead and decided that I'm just not able to compete with these young guys anymore. I'm not doing it for the money or as a career, rather as a way to test myself and have a little glory for me and my friends to celebrate, from time to time. What would be the point to then have to cheat, just to try and get to a level playing field? So with all of that, I went ahead and decided to call it a career. Not a very glorious or particularly distinguished career, but one where I did it on my terms and I had a great deal of fun along the way. I met a lot of people who to this day I call my friends and even our MMA group is in tact because of our interest in MMA. I doubt that I would have met you guys if I wasn't involved in the sport directly. So I now will focus on being the best coach/trainer that I can be and I walk away graciously. I am humbled, I can admit that. But with that humility comes growth and I am looking forward to what is next for me in the world of MMA. I'll keep you guys posted.