I was watching TV the other day, nothing was on and I was just kind of flipping through the channels, when I ran across this station that was showing some fights. Now, I normally like watching UFC and occasionally the Bellator organization, but right away, I noticed that this was different somehow. So, I started watching this show, and it was a televised event from some little regional MMA venue out of Kansas. The show was actually being taped at Ft. Riley and the crowd looked to be made up of mostly soldiers, the introduction was given by the commander of the base, and it really looked like a shoestring budget type of affair. The guy trying to imitate Bruce Buffer was hilarious, he looked like a typical Jarhead dressed up in a suit, and was plainly out of place in it!
Anyway, I thought "Why not?" and settled down to see these guys fight. It looked more like the beginning of TUF than it did a group of seasoned fighters, and it was pretty funny watching these kids try for armbars and triangles. Then, the second or third fight got ready to start, and it was this young (21 or 22) kid fighting this older guy, whose age was announced as 36.
This kid was still a pretty boy, but man, this other guy? This dude looked like Big Nog..... after he lost a five round fight! I mean he was fucked up! Scarred up, nose had been broken so many times it was just hanging there, ears looking like.....man, I don't know. Calling them cauliflower would be very kind! So the fight starts, and right away, this kid comes out swinging. He overwhelms the older guy and starts pounding him on the ground, and I am thinking "man, this is going to get stopped any minute!" He pounds dude for the entire round, and finally the bell saves this guy. But I am noticing that, while the older guy was on the ground, he wasn't taking a lot of damage, most of the kids shots were on his arms or hands. It looked bad, but the older guy survives OK.
Second round starts and the kid comes out firing, but I am watching closer now, because I thought I saw something, but I was not sure. Yep, I'm right. This old dude.....is a fucking warrior. The kid is throwing these huge power shots that look like they will take this guys head off, and he is moving just enough for them to miss. He rolls his head when a shot is inevitable, reducing the force by 90%, but he is staying in the pocket and countering. This guys moves are fantastic! UFC fighters can't do it any better! He catches shots on his arms and shoulders, rolling with the punch. His footwork continually pulls this kid out of position, spoiling his plans. This fight goes the distance (the kid DID have a strong chin!), and it goes to the judges. They give it to the older guy, who raises his hand and walks over to his corner.
This is where the title of this entry comes into play. The kid goes back to his corner, and his team comes out to console him, but I am watching the other guy, still standing there.
He has no team. No cutman, no iceman, nothing. He didn't even have a fucking chair between rounds! All alone, in victory. But you know what this fool does have?
He is 36 years old and has obviously been fighting most of his life. I don't remember his announced record of wins and losses, but it was something stupid-well over 100 fights. He travels from town to town, taking fights wherever he can get them. No team, no crew. Get hurt, and you stitch it up yourself and move on to the next fight. The next town. The next kid, who thinks he can beat an old man. And believe me, 36 is OLD in the fight game.
He knows, he knows that he is never going to the big show. Never going to see his name on the marque. Never going to be anything but a fighter. but he doesn't stop. Why?
Because when he was a kid, he had dreams. He chased them, still chases them, knowing that he will not catch them, but never giving up.
For every Jon Jones, there are a thousand Marcelio's. For every Anderson Silva, every GSP, there are a thousand Kevin Beans, a thousand Tucker Cross's. For every UFC fighter you see in the ring, there are thousands of fighters who have that dream, that chase it and will not give it up, no matter how many fights they win or lose. No matter how many scars or broken noses they get.
You see a man chasing his dream-beat up, beat down, beat all to hell-but he answers every bell with a smile, because he is doing something he loves.
What are your dreams? What are you willing to give up for them, what kind of punishment are you willing to take? Do you chase them, knowing that you will never catch them, but loving the chase so much that it hurts?
Do you answer every bell with a smile? Do you know, do you realize that you lost the last round, and probably lost this round as well, but it does not matter, because you still have one round left to pull it out, and when you believe in your dreams.....anything can happen!
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