What does it take to be a mixed martial artist? The obvious answer is athletic ability, a good coach, training hard, and eating healthfully. My answer is a little different. Be prepared to separate yourself from the world, say goodbye to your friends, and say hello to pain.
The cost of being a fighter is steep on many levels. From amateur fights at a local club to the main event in the UFC, combatants must be willing to walk a line of tranquil chaos. It is like being given a date where everyone will watch you and judge you on your performance. This is not a team sport, so no one cares how your teammates did, just how you performed.
How you maximize that performance depends on the sacrifices you are willing to make. Working and training hard is not enough anymore. Everyone does this. What separates the men from the boys is the next level. To be successful, you must getaway from all distractions. The world is filled with many holes in which to fall into, and when your main goal is to conquer another human being, not being around those holes is intelligent and helpful. I’m not saying not to have fun—take care of business first, then a little pleasure for a reward. A champion can be made in seconds, but must be forged in a tireless work ethic.
STAY THE COURSE
A lot of times, friends share their enthusiasm for fighting but live different lifestyles that could really hurt a fighter. Hanging out anywhere that is not conducive to the progress of achieving your goal is taking you one step back from achieving greatness. Real friends will not pressure you to go out anywhere that could be detrimental to your progress. In that same respect, a friend can use their influence for the opposite effect.
Staying the course is not an easy step to follow, but it is necessary. An idle mind is the devil’s playground. Occupy your mind with your goals and how to achieve them. Wasted time is a fighter’s worst enemy. Training camp involves mental, physical, and emotional challenges. To build a fighter, one must start from the bottom. A lot of times this means breaking him down and then building him up. Both the breaking down and building up process can be painful. A fighter does not understand the process until his hand is raised in victory. Pain is a byproduct of success.
The question arises, if fighting is not extremely profitable and is dangerous to your health, then why do we do it?
The answer is simple. We do it because MMA and fighting is a lifestyle to some and a form of entertainment for the rest. 95% of mixed martial artists do not make a ton of money, but they are still compelled to train and fight. Something primal in us draws us to the art of combat. Since the dawn of man, the idea of besting another person has been compelling.
It is not easy to get up every day and get punched in the face or work out until your muscles are screaming in agony. Everything a fighter does goes against the natural instincts of a normal human being. In deeper thought, true fighters are more than human.Win, lose, or draw, they are modern-day supermen. To all the real fighters who don a pair of MMA gloves in the conquest of greatness, you are modern day gladiators and my heroes.