Every weekend since turning pro, Darren tuned into The Big Show’s event as a means of recon, researching his future employer—instead of as a passive fan.
Of course, the stunning graphics flashing upon the screen, the familiar voices calling the play-by-play, the fighters everyone admired walking into the sport’s most recognizable cage, and the infamous canvas littered with sponsors like a Nascar made it easy for Darren to move into fanboy mode, but he forced himself, rather, to imagine himself in either the red or blue corner with the world’s eyes bore down on him.
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.
Darius was loosening the well-trained fibers of his being in the back, but once an official from the commission announced, “You’re next,” he and his coaching staff pressed the accelerator of the warm-up routine.
A thin coat of sweat signaled that Darius, at least physically. The mental side of the game was always difficult for Darius to tame; of course, locking yourself in a steel cage to fight a similarly weighted individual, who is also skilled in the art of violence, in your underwear is difficult for anyone to fathom.
Darius paced back-and-forth like an agitated lion just before the entrance. His coach and teammate barked instructions and encouragement while waiting for the cue.
When Darius heard his music exploded from the speakers, he emerged from behind the curtain, heaved a war cry toward the heavens, and plodded into the world’s most dangerous field of play.
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.