“Savage” Steve thought he could remain buoyant in any situation, but three-minutes in to the first-round, he felt as though he were drowning; not because the wrestler—built like a fire hydrant with ears cauliflowered into hardened knobs—on top of him was smothering oxygen from his lungs, but because his flakey coaches never even showed up to the fight.
Stepping into the cage alone in nothing but sponsor-littered underwear and gloves is one thing, but a silent corner is another.
Steve, lonely beyond belief, quit on the stool between rounds, and his team the following day.
Mark and Monica had been together for seventeen years. Then, on their eighteenth anniversary, Mark came home with a bouquet of flowers, and Monica gifted him a manila envelope; she was filing for a divorce.
The decision of Mark’s future ex-wife was unexpected—a shot to the gut. Depression soon set in, causing Mark to bury his sadness with food and alcohol.
One day, Mark’s friend dragged him to participate in a kickboxing class.
After smashing the heavy bag with his shin, Mark’s bitterness, just for a second, vanished. For Mark, the kickboxing ring’s canvas painted a new reality.
“Sadly, winning isn’t enough anymore,” JT’s manager advised, again. “If anyone outside of your gym is going to know who you are, you’ve got to put some of yourself out there on social media.”
“Well…I’m not social, and I don’t give a fuck about any media,” was always his retort.
JT was one of top welterweight prospects out of Northern California, but there wasn’t a single promotion beyond the region who knew his name. He’d enter the cage, dazzle the crowd, and exit into obscurity; he wanted more.
That night, he broke down and created a Looky-Here account.
Wake up, get the kids ready, drive to work, fill a cubicle, drive home, cook dinner, watch TV, go to sleep, and do it all again the next day. Paul’s routine had dragged him into a bit of a crisis that he needed to escape from.
“But how?” he wondered while staring at the ceiling before bed.
The next day, his wife suggested signing up for a Jiu-Jitsu class. Paul grappled with the idea for several weeks before purchasing a Gi, a mouthguard, and a one-month membership at a nearby dojo.
Paul’s first experience playing human chess with the crew at Fabio’s Jiu-Jitsu Academy created a snowball effect of happiness, adding a necessary piece that was missing and steamrolling the monotony from his life.
Known as “Bill Kill,” he left a wake of welterweights in bodybags up and down the east coast. If William could get past Henry Burns, a highly touted warrior from the west side, he would earn both praise and a long desired contract from The Big Show, the globe’s leading MMA promotion.
The pair met in the middle; each intent on punishing the other.
In a wild scramble, Burns wound up mounted above William, and the California native wasted no time in mining his skull for gold, dropping heavy, concussive elbows.
When one of the blunt force strikes removed William’s eyebrow like a slice of watermelon, the cage side physician stopped the bout, leading Burns toward the sport’s glitz and glamour and William back to the drawing board.
Kenny would always claim: his endurance had no rival.
Whether sparring on the mats, sprinting around the track, or strength training at the gym, the lungs of Kenny’s teammates would burn and their muscles filled with lactic acid, but Kenny continued like the Energizer Bunny.
Kenny’s coach wasn’t concerned about his ability to push an unfathomable pace for three, hard fought rounds, though the championship rounds—four and five—were a different ballgame. With a title fight looming on the horizon, the confidence Kenny possessed in his gas tank was second to none.
Coach attempted to instill the difficulty of competing, if necessary, for two rounds more than usual, “Those extra ten minutes, along with the added pressure, aren’t like anything you’ve dealt with before.”
The bell for the fourth sounded, Kenny struggled more than usual for a deep breath, and a bit of concern formed in the back of his mind about how long it would take until he’d be running on fumes.