For those of you who may not know, I had a fight down in Charlottesville this weekend. To say a few unexpected things happened would be an understatement. Learned a few lessons, which I’ll break down here.
1. Promoters will be promoters
The craziness started on Friday, right after hitting the road to head south. I received a call from my coach saying that my opponent had gotten injured the day before, and he was dropping out of the fight. Before I could get too upset, he informed me that they had already found a replacement, but the fight would have to be done under modified rules. It would be only striking and takedowns. If one of us took the other one down, we would just get reset back to our feet. Yes, I know how that sounds. Regardless of the rules, I still had a fight, and I was ready for it.
Sitting in the meeting on Saturday, the officials don’t mention anything about my fight being under modified rules. I went to find my coach right after so we could figure out what was going on for sure, but he was already talking to the promoter, along with my opponent’s coach. I walk up to them, and can tell almost right away that there seems to be a problem. I walk up, and the other guy’s coach asks me what my experience is. I tell him that I have six MMA fights, and two muay thai smokers(all information that has been provided to the promoter). Well, the coach didn’t like that as this was his guy’s first Thai fight. I will admit that I was at first agitated at the coach. I wondered why would he accept it in the first place if this was all information that he should have already had. We figured that out pretty quickly when he said the promoter told him that I was green, with very limited experience. We then also found out that he had completely made up the part about the takedowns, as the other guy’s side had never agreed to that. After figuring all of this out, I don’t feel so bad for cussing the dude out….
2. If you’re already prepared, you won’t have to worry about getting prepared
After hearing about the rule change on Friday, I went through a lot of different frames of mind. The first was anger. I was pissed. I had spent six weeks getting ready for a MMA fight, and while I was still fighting, it wasn’t what I got ready for. I immediately came up with a different game plan, mainly one to try to piss everyone off as much as I was. I assumed he wasn’t much of a grappler if we weren’t going to be spending any time on the ground(this was before finding out it was just thai rules). I planned on spending the entire first round taking him down. That’s it, just keep taking him down time after time. I literally wanted people to boo. I was going to engage in the second, and fake shots to set up my strikes. Once I found out it was thai rules, that obviously went out the window. Rather than focus on the negative too much, I reminded myself that I had said I wanted to do a Thai fight at some point, so this would be a good opportunity to tackle that challenge. I switched my frame of mind, and was ready for a stand up war.
3. While I still need a lot of work, I have come a long way
Like I said previously, my only muay thai experience was in two smoker fights. For people who don’t know what those are, they’re fights that take place inside of a gym, mostly for people who haven’t competed before and are looking to get their feet wet. Both of those were against fellow teammates, so it’s not like I was trying to kill them in there either. I was definitely excited to see what I could do against someone I had never trained with. In a traditional muay thai fight, the scoring is based mostly on kicks and knees landed. I would also have to switch up my mentality a bit from the gameplan that I had set out for my original fight. That is until one thing happened. My coach Jeremy came up to me and said,
“We know how traditional Thai fights are scored. Knees and kicks score your points. They may not know that down here! They may score it on damage.”
After hearing that, I decided to switch back to my original gameplan. I used the first round to feel him out, see what he wanted to do. He threw a bunch of leg kicks that didn’t really have anything on them. Seeing the first one not hurting me made every one after that progressively weaker. I got more active towards the end of the round, just to let him know I was coming after his ass.
I wanted to spend the second round making him uncomfortable. I tried to make sure that every kick he threw was met with a flurry of punches. I noticed that he started keeping his left a little low, so I sat back and waited for him to throw his jab. Once he did, I came with my overhand right. I staggered him a few times with that. He threw a few more leg kicks, but I either checked them or jabbed him back when he threw them. I heard his corner tell him to look for his cross towards the end of the round. I remembered to stay aggressive when I heard the ten second warning, and felt I had won the round.
Remember when I said I heard his corner tell him to look for his cross? Well he came out with that loaded in the third. I already knew what to watch out for. I started moving my head around more, just to keep him guessing a little, then started coming in with some strikes. I can’t remember what exactly lead up to it, but I hurt him pretty bad with an overhand toward the end of the round. I hit him so hard that I could feel his nose crunch and chin get moved back when I connected. Felt pretty damn good. Stayed aggressive all the way until the end, and felt I had easily won that round as well, thus winning the fight.
Since my fight was an exhibition, they didn’t score it, thus there was no winner or loser. My coach said he would have scored the fight for me, but purely off of control and damage. He said that my opponent had better Thai technique, and technically scored more. I wouldn’t argue that at all. I only threw a couple of kicks, and he landed a bunch. But as I said earlier, I switched to my original gameplan, which was for a MMA fight. I was able to put him where I wanted him along the cage, to where I could have clinched him if I wanted to. I didn’t because the ref said at the beginning that if you weren’t active in the clinch immediately, then he would break it. I don’t believe in throwing a bunch of crappy little knees just to be active. I want to hurt my opponent in the clinch, so I decided not to use it in the fight. I also landed much bigger strikes, he only landed I think one punch, and I think I would have had a better chance to finish him if I landed that same punch in the third with the small gloves on. This is why I’m still happy with the weekend given all the shit. I was still tested in a new way, and I felt successful in taking it on.
Like I said, I know I still have work to do, but I’m excited to see what the future holds. I’m still hungry, even with fighting this weekend, so hopefully I won’t have too long of a layoff. As always, thanks for taking the time to read.,
Edit: I forgot to mention one thing. I also tackled a big mental obstacle. I tend to have a mental block standing with guys who are taller, or longer than I am. Well, homeboy had to be at least six foot tall. I’m 5’9. Well, I decided that I didn’t give a shit, I was going to hurt him, and I did. The lesson here, reach is nothing but a number