Getting punched in the face really isn’t as bad as it sounds. Aside from the blood and occasional broken bone or two, engaging in a physical game of chess is really quite fun. For me, the reward of knowing I just faced someone whose purpose was to beat me into submission and walked away fine far outweighs the fear of the altercation.
Of course, it’s never easy, and in the sport of mixed martial arts, your mistakes are literally thrown in your face. Training is hell, but I thrive in hell. Physically, I put my body through the wringer, as any fighter does. If limits aren’t being pushed, you’re probably not improving.
MMA requires a tremendous amount of effort. Not only are you dedicated in the gym, but the choices you make when you’re off the mats are equally important, whether that means taking the stairs to the sixth floor of your hotel room, turning down a night with friends for a night with a punching bag, or forcing yourself to stay hydrated and choose the banana over the doughnut. However, it is worth every sacrifice when you’re inside the cage, staring at your opponent in the other corner.
Fifteen minutes, or 25 if you’re in a title fight, will be all the time you have to challenge yourself and test the skills you have spent months and years acquiring. Most people can’t understand the motivation behind fighting, but when you’re a bell ring, a puddle of sweat, and likely a few drops of blood away from achieving your goal, your reasons become perfectly clear.
By Kirsten Allen