So there I was, on my back and coming to. I wasn’t sure what hit me or even that I was in a fight. As I started to regain my composure I asked the question on anyone’s mind when they just got put down with a devastating blow, “what the hell just happened?”
“I’m moving out,” she repeated.
I didn’t see it coming. My last column highlighted the beginning of a very positive chapter in my life. Where I discovered my confidence and self-control. It was all rainbows and butterflies in Hawaii. This was the beginning of a chapter where I lost all self-control, restraint and respect for the one person I had left … myself.
The first thing I had to do was find an outlet. Something that allowed me to take all of this negative energy and direct it into an activity that would benefit my physical and mental health. For me it was simple – fighting. I dusted off my heavy bag and proceeded to unleash years of pent-up anger and resentment.
For every time I compromised myself for the sake of making her happy. Every time I allowed her to take us back to the same boring restaurant when I wanted to explore new and exciting options. For every time I was dragged to one of her family functions or gatherings with her friends. Knowing that I died a little inside every time I was forced to interact with humans. I proceeded to give that bag a beating unlike any Mike Tyson has ever given an opponent. What I didn’t realize is that the bag was pulling the old rope-a-dope.
It Hit Back
I believe it was the 17th-century french poet Lil Dicky who exclaimed, “Boards don’t hit back.” Meaning while it looks fancy to break wooden boards and build your confidence against an inanimate object, it’s not going to get you anywhere in a fight.
This isn’t necessarily true. After 20, 30, 40 rounds with this particular inanimate object, just when I was beginning to punch myself out and wear myself down, this board hit back. After just one year of focusing my efforts on boxing and kickboxing, I knew something was off. I discovered that as a result of repeated impact to the point the skin was removed from my knuckles and the heavy bag soaked in my blood that I had developed arthritis in my hands.
My outlet was gone and I had no backup plan. All of the aggression and emotion that I put into this seemingly healthy outlet was quickly diverted to clearly unhealthy options such as drinking heavily, rewatching “Parks and Recreation” for the hundredth time and eating fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For the same reason, you see some fighters refuse to sit on their stool between rounds I needed to keep moving, stay standing. I didn’t.
When you’re full of so much anguish, anger, and resentment, sitting down to take a break sounds like a harmless option but it can be nearly impossible to get back up. For a long time, I didn’t get up. In some ways, I still haven’t. Even when I feel I’ve gotten my second wind and I have a burst of energy I’m every bit as exhausted as I was when I sitting down.
Fighting is a good way to solve internal conflict but it does absolutely nothing to solve external conflict. In all this time I never stopped to actually resolve the ongoing conflict that was my marriage and that 10 years after it began, it was officially over. “Long story Shortt,” it was her fault. I can share more insightful wisdom gained from this experience, but it’s my column. So there I said it … It was her fault.
Conflict resolution is something I approach from a completely new perspective. Open and honest communication about my anger and resentment go a long way.
As far as the wisdom gained from my boxing defeat it was simple, respect the sport. There are years worth of knowledge to be gained from professionals before getting started. Things as simple as wrapping your hands properly, punching properly to avoid injury, mixing up your workout to avoid repeated impact are not concepts you can learn and apply on your own, just to release your aggression.
UFC 264: Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 3 Recap
Speaking of respecting the sport, what was on display at UFC 264 was the complete opposite of respect. I mentioned in my previous column that in order to win this fight, Connor McGregor would have to get inside Dustin Poirier’s head. He would have to make this fight a personal one.
He executed this plan to perfection. McGregor went as far as bringing up Poirier’s wife. From the start, the fight looked personal for Poirier. McGregor opened the round immediately throwing spin kicks to prevent Poirier from getting settled. The two ended up exchanging punches which could have only benefited McGregor. Then Poirier nearly got caught in a first-round submission. All of this was completely outside of Poirier’s game plan, which was to stay patient and attack the leg.
What happened next will be heavily debated for years to come. Some fans claim to see the exact moment Poirier checked a kick properly which led to McGregor’s gruesome injury minutes later. McGregor and Dana White have claimed that Connor had ankle issues for years and unhealed stress fractures and arthritis.
What cannot be debated is McGregor did not respect the sport and in the end, he paid the price. At the end of round one, McGregor threw a kick that resulted in his leg being fractured and one of the most horrifying injuries we have seen.
In this sport and in all martial arts, you have to respect your opponent at all times. You have to respect your limitations and injuries. A properly checked leg kick is every bit as dangerous as the leg kick itself.
UFC 265: Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane
The next major UFC fight is for the Interim Heavyweight Championship. Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane. Keeping with the theme of respecting the sport, there is no division in the UFC that calls for this more than the heavyweight division. One single punch can nullify months or even years of preparation.
Lewis is the fighter that can make that happen. He holds more knockouts in the heavyweight division than any other fighter, spends almost no time on the ground and is known to set traps for his opponents. Leading them to believe he is injured only to counter-strike.
Gane is one of the most complete fighters the division has seen. High-level striking mixed with an exceptional ground game. What he lacks in power he makes up for in perfectly-timed combinations.
It is rare to see a successful heal hook in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), but Gane managed one in just his second UFC appearance. I expect this fight to stay standing in the early rounds. If Gane manages to come out of those rounds unscathed, I fully expect him to walk away with the victory.
Gane has far superior cardio to Lewis and Lewis is known to slow down significantly as the fight goes on. Gane has to be patient and land his combinations from a distance because Lewis can end a fight with a single punch in any given round.
“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