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Long Story Shortt: A Storm is Brewing

by Michael Shortt

It’s not often I can admit that I’m having a good day or week, but I can say with all honesty that I am. 

Sometimes my pessimism takes over and I just need to recalibrate my perspective to lift myself up. Other times I am fully justified in saying that I am actually having a terrible week. I am that person that can tell you my apartment just flooded and my Jeep was stolen all in the same week, and not be devastated because it’s on-brand for me. 

This isn’t that week. No major obstacles are standing in my way and I am genuinely optimistic. That’s why I’m not surprised to feel this dark cloud following me around just waiting for its chance to unleash and extinguish all sense of hope that I have. 

I’ve lived with this cloud so long that I don’t fear it. I don’t anticipate or dread its wrath. I sit and wait. I accept this optimism and progress to be temporary, and I take note of the steps I took to get to this positive place – a mental map to follow for the inevitable journey back from despair. 

This cloud represents many things. Depression. Anxiety. Fatigue from living this movie on repeat. Just Like Tom Cruise in “Edge of Tomorrow” where he continuously wakes up from a war he has lost only to start from the beginning and fight his way back. Most of all in recent days, this cloud represents self-doubt. 

Even on my most optimistic days I can’t help but take a step back and ask myself what exactly is there to be optimistic about. The positive part of my brain is telling me that I made progress this week. I checked things off the to-do list. I made great strides as both a father and a husband. I convinced myself that there’s no plausible reason I wouldn’t receive a promotion at work in the next few months. 

The positive part of my brain is very soft-spoken compared to the other side though. The side that looks like a hurricane forecast is telling me to expect landfall by the time you’ve read this. There’s a chance it could veer East and I will just experience a rainy day or two. But that’s rarely the case. 

“You wouldn’t have to make such great strides if you weren’t fighting with the love of your life constantly for weeks. You wouldn’t have to make strides as a father if you knew how to communicate with children and get down to their level. You would have been promoted ages ago if you didn’t let the darkest time of your life drag you down all those years. You have no transferable skills after this career is inevitably over.”

I sit quietly, let the weather batter me and devastate the little bit of hope I’ve built up in between storms. If only I had enough energy to build a reliable storm shelter that could withstand the imminent winds. Maybe part of me has gotten used to the rain. 

I am not in a bad state of mind writing this. I am as optimistic as when I started. I am proud of the progress I’ve made and the effort I put in to achieve this state. But it is temporary. I’m not discouraged by the thought, and I’m not fearful of what is coming. It is coming. As sure as I am that the sun will rise tomorrow, I know that clouds will soon overwhelm it. 

There isn’t a happy ending to this column. Just the reassurance that I have climbed back to this temporary state of bliss more times than I can count. I’ve been knocked back down and even kicked while I was down, but I keep making it back. I don’t look into the cloud and see my inevitable doom these days. I don’t see it as my oppressor. I just sigh and hold on tight to the map I have constructed in the process and prepare for the journey back to this place.

The metaphors of storms and weather are the perfect descriptions for the weekend of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting that just transpired. As brutal and unrelenting as it was for the viewers, I imagine it was even more devastating for the fighters involved.

UFC 268: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 Recap

This UFC card is the best in recent memory. It served as a reminder of the gladiator mentality that the UFC worked so hard to promote in the early years. The event set a new record with 1,973 significant strikes. At a certain point as a viewer, you felt the brutality of this statistic while witnessing six straight finishes by Knockout (KO) and Technical Knockout (TKO). 

Alex Pereiera is now 4-1 in his UFC career.

This card had an easy nomination for fight of the year with Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler. A battle that saw both fighters end their nights in a local hospital. Neither fighter let up or backed down from the other and neither fighter really walked away a loser from this night. Then again, it seems they barely walked away to begin with. 

The viewers also witnessed a debut from a fighter that was feared before ever stepping foot in the octagon. One of the few men living that not only defeated UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya, but finished him in devastating fashion in a kickboxing match: Alex Pereiera. Pereiera wasted no time proving that he belongs in the MMA world, winning his matchup with an absolutely brutal KO by flying knee. 

All of these things happened before ever even witnessing the two title fights that cemented two UFC champions as all-time greats. Rose Namajunas defended her UFC Strawweight Championship and seemingly beat all possible competition not once, but twice. 

Kamaru Usman defended the UFC Welterweight Championship and threw his name into the greatest of all-time conversation, seemingly wiping out his division and carrying a 19-fight win streak while undefeated in the UFC. 

UFC Fight Night: Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez

The Monkey Knife Fight (MKF) More/Less for this fight has already been released.

Max Holloway: 187.5 strikes

Yair Rodriguez: 139.5 strikes

Yair Rodriguez has never topped 139 strikes in the UFC. Then again he has never faced the level of competition that Max Holloway represents. 

On the other side, Holloway is coming off a fight that saw him land 445 strikes. That’s an absolutely unreal number. I’m going to go with the over for both fighters. 

Both have a lot riding in this fight and neither fighter is known to back away from a brawl. This will be an exciting matchup that I expect the fighters to stay on their feet and go to a decision. Holloway has never been KO’d and Rodriguez has just once in 2012 (his 2017 TKO was a doctor stoppage).

“Now the night is coming to an end … The sun will rise and we will try again.” – Twenty One Pilots

Thank you for allowing me to share this. @3rdandShortt

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