Each time the cage door swings shut, it closes on a mix of two distinct personality types – the humble gentleman and the cocky bastard.
After a fl amboyant entrance offending at least half of the crowd, removing his sombrero to reveal a fi ve hundred dollar haircut, kissing one of his model girlfriends, and hopping in the cage, he takes off his platinum chain and hands it to his security guard. Of course, “Cocky Bastard” is the fi rst to be introduced, and during his lead-in, he smiles as though he’s already won the fi ght. On the other side of the cage quietly stands a family man, who entered the ring with no huge fanfare or costume or models or smiles, just his corner men behind him and the confi dence of his hours of hard training. The “Humble Gentleman” stands there expressionless, ready for battle. Now begins the war between the two sides of any good fi ghter’s personality. Live from the arena of the mind, Cocky Bastard vs… Humble Gentleman for the championship of the brain!
“I can beat this guy.” Every fi ghter has to believe this in his heart when he is about to step in front of a crowd of people the size of a troop surge, in a bright shiny building. Let’s face it, you have to be a cocky bastard to stand there while people eat hot dogs and your man panties are clinging tenaciously to your buttocks. There are no two ways about it. But if you look at the fi ghters that tend to stay on top, you’ll fi nd that they have much more depth to their personality. They also have the yang to that yin, the humble gentleman.
What in the holy living hell would possess a Jiu-Jitsu guy to stand and bang it out with a pro boxer? Why is it that most every “man-imal” who howls at the moon after his victory or screams a colorful profanity at his recently unconscious opponent is transformed into a nice guy the minute a man with a microphone shows up? Why doesn’t the champ look at the challenger with disdain after defeating him? Maybe someone “man-tastic” (me) can answer these questions.
Nine times out of ten, the fi ght is won in the gym. Despite the arrogance of the cocky bastard, you cannot be an asskicking machine without tuning up to peak performance. Hell, if you are really slacking, you can’t perform to the level of a carpetcleaning robot available at Wal-Mart, much less a world class athlete. The key is that you have to train HARD, or at least hard enough to beat up the man standing across from you. There is no magic force allowing an athlete to perform. It is a combination of the proper level of training and a mental state that won’t accept “loss” as the stat on the next day’s fi ght fi nder. The many times I have kicked ass, every moment I wasn’t sleeping was spent training or thinking about the fi ght; my victory was just a matter of me making it to the cage on time. The few times I have had my ass kicked, I wasn’t exactly spending my time the gym. Unless the chick’s name happened to be Gymnasia.
This leads me to an interesting point; sometimes, EVERYONE thinks you are walking into total annihilation. We hear of these tremendous mismatches and giggle at the fact that the promoter is putting some poor bastard to his death. Well, the cocky bastard has a different plan. If he wasn’t a cocky bastard, he wouldn’t have the testicular fortitude to make us choke on our giggles and stand in the middle of the arena, hands raised, screaming to whatever god he chooses.
On the other side of the cocky bastard coin (it has my head on it) is the fact that if you think you are the baddest man on earth, you may actually forget you are a man and feel as if you are a dragon. A dragon with robot hands, baseball bat shins, and a carbon fi ber chin, undamageable by mere mortals. The hard reality of the matter is you AREN’T. If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough, but if you take that mentality, don’t be surprised if the ref is scraping you off the mat.
I am not talking about taking an opponent lightly; I’m talking about having a blatantly retarded game plan through and through because your bloated ego wouldn’t allow you to do the smart thing. Recently, Frank Shamrock decided to kickbox with Cung Le, who is a kickboxing champion a million times over. I don’t know if it was his ego or the distraction of the thousands of hot Vietnamese chicks that came to support Cung Le screaming in his ear, but that was not exactly the best game plan in the world. You stand in front of accomplished kick boxer long enough, he may break something on you, and from what I heard, that’s exactly what happened.
Believe you me, if I have the honor to stand across the cage from King Cung Bundy, I plan on placing his nice haircut on the mat at least once a round. No secret there. It’s just the smart thing to do, even if it means no Pho’ munching hottie is going to throw her panties in my face after an Ultimate Kickboxing match.
From my experience in fi ghting, usually you are so amped up when you see your opponent’s eyes roll to the back of his head that all you can think is, “Faster Pussycat, KILL, KILL.” Or when you get the choke set and the ref pulls you off him, you usually jump up to face the crowd and fl ex your entire body in an orgasmic display of triumph. Every fi ghter has his own version of this display. Mine looks very baboon-like, but I’ve seen the werewolf (Rampage), the sour face dog bark (Dan Henderson), and the rocket ship (Chuck Liddell). But once the moment passes, it’s over. The stress, the dieting, the puke-fl ying workouts are fi nished. You no longer have to hate a dude you hang out with, and you don’t have to try to take his head off.
Now, out comes the side of you that spends those countless hours in the gym instead of grabbing booties at a club and living like a rock star. The humble gentleman. It isn’t an act. It is just the counterpart to the cocky bastard. The synergistic relationship between the two usually makes for a damn good fi ghter. You can tell the guy that has both sides – he hits the guy with something technical that he has worked on in the gym thousands of times and then checks on the guy if he lays on the mat too long. It’s not to survey the damage, it’s to make sure that he is going to wake up, and the violent game of mega-chess that just played out on international television isn’t going to have long-term repercussions. I think deep down, there is a piece of the victor that knows – that could’ve been him sprawled out on the canvas.
That’s the risk you take when you step in there, and only the lamest, dishonorable douche bags disrespect someone after they have beat him, or even worse, lose the fi ght and then talk smack. That shows the pinnacle of hardheadedness. After a loss, it is advisable to eat a healthy serving of humble pie drizzled in caramel and tears sauce, and learn from the whole experience.
You won’t make it far being just a cocky bastard. But if you are just humble the whole time, you won’t have the gusto to climb in the ring across from anyone worth the hindquarters of a tattle-tailing rodent. Internet legend (and my Triumph United teammate) Kimbo Slice looks like the cockiest of all cocky bastards, with his giant, perfectly manicured beard, the shiniest gold teeth in Miami, and chest hair shaved in a perfect design, but if you talk to the man, you quickly realize he trains hard because he wants to be more than a streetfi ghter. He trusts that his trainer Bas Rutten knows what the hell he is talking about, and isn’t overly confi dent just because he has a devastating hook at his disposal.
Boy-next-door-looking Frank Shamrock is infamously cocky (or at least pretends to be), and look at the trouble he got into with the underdog Cung Le. As long as the sport continues to thrive, the battle between rivals Cocky
Bastard and Humble Gentleman will persist. I don’t know who I am rooting for, I’m just hoping for a good fi ght.