My UFC Beating

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One of the key philosophies within Buddhism is paying attention to our fears.  Fear can teach us so many lessons about ourselves and show us the things that we really should be working on but ignore because it’s just too painful to face.  For this blog post I wanted to share a frightening experience I had and hopefully show how even if things end badly, lessons can still be learned.

This is my experience as a UFC fighter

 Before I tell you about my horrific UFC experience I need to tell you another story so you can fully understand what exactly happened in the octagon.  I was training with my Wu Ji Chyuan Fa instructor and was on the verge of a breakthrough (which happened a lot with this particular teacher), unfortunately breakthroughs never come easily and this one was no exception.  Sifu Garriga had on the focus mitts and I was trying with little success to hit them.  Every time I would throw a punch, he would simply move the target and I would end up punching the air.  Over and over we did this until my arms felt like they were at least four inches longer.  This exercise lasted about forty minutes and I was beyond frustrated at my lack of ability to connect.

 Then I gave up.  I simply didn’t care anymore.  I had given all I had to give and had nothing to show for it.  Unfortunately there was still twenty minutes left in our lesson and Sifu was not about to let me slide.  I threw one last punch with nothing in it because I had nothing left.  This also meant I had no expectations and ego.  I just threw the punch.

            I hit the pad harder than I have ever hit anything in my life.  I got rid of all the stuff which was preventing me from living in that moment and was able to be free.  Sadly my ego instantly resurfaced and I couldn’t hit the pad again for the rest of the session but I still remember my success and I think that feeling will stay with me until I die.

            Years went by and I started training at a center where a lot of fighters within the UFC and other professional organizations trained.   I never really had any desire to fight professionally and by the time the UFC got going I was far too old.  One day I’m going to a morning Muay Thai class and there’s this fighter who had a professional bout later that night.  He’s sitting on the couch with ice on his hand and all of the coaches shaking their heads.  Due to a very stupid accident (a jack slipped while he was changing a tire) this fighter had broken three bones in his hand and therefore could not fight that night.  This meant promoters had an empty fight card to fill ridiculously fast.  This is about the time I walked through the door.

 “Lamb will do it!”  They all said in almost unison as I came in.  It didn’t matter to them that I had never had a professional fight in my life. They didn’t care that not only was I on the wrong side of thirty, I was on the wrong side of forty.  They just needed a body and there were no illusions about what was going to happen if I were to step into the octagon.

After the worst peer pressure I’ve ever experienced in my life and after a little bit of crying I lost my mind and agreed.  I was going to be paid a whole $300 for the fight so how could I possibly decline?

For the record…this amount didn’t even cover my co-pay.

I showed up to the event and there were over five thousand people in the stands.  For some reason I hadn’t even considered how there would be other people present watching the horror.  I think my mind was already trying to block out the event.

Walking out to the ring had to be one of the most frightening things I’ve ever done in my life.  I hadn’t told my friends or family what was happening…why would I?  I was alone walking into a cage with a professional trained fighter who was going to do his best to hurt me.  I didn’t have a coach, a corner-man or anyone else to walk out with me.  I was completely alone, trying very hard not to poop.

The guy I was fighting had muscles and a six-pack.  I did not.

When the fight started I only had two strategies: run and when I couldn’t run, hold on.  To say that he beat me would be the understatement of the century.  Let’s just say they didn’t have to test me for any performance enhancing drugs after it was all over.

I did everything I could think of during the exchange.  I remembered this When Animals Attack video that said if you’re being attacked you should try to stick your thumb up the animals butt to establish dominance.  This ended up being a very bad idea.

I called ‘time out’, several times but this didn’t work either.

He used me like an anger management doll.  I had been punched, kicked, choked and thrown all within the first twenty seconds.

Somehow…by some random act of God I made it to the end of the first round.  Do you know those little stools the fighters sit on in-between rounds?  Well, I didn’t have one.  No one even thought to send one out with me because no one pictured it lasting that long.  When I realized this I just went to my corner and laid down on the mat.  The referee came over and yelled at me, telling me I couldn’t do that.  I told him he might want to rethink this position because I had a feeling I would find myself back in this position very quickly.

I remember making eye contact with the ringside EMT to make sure we were on the same page.

Now, let’s go back in time for a moment.  Do you remember the story I told you about trying to hit the focus mats?  Those feelings of being helpless, about not caring anymore…that’s going to come into play right about now.

As I stood up as the second round was about to begin, I had never felt so lost and hopeless in my entire life.  The crowd was booing me and I just wanted to go home and forget I had ever agreed to this.  The round started and my opponent came at me.

Just like with the focus mitt, I threw a punch without anything attached to it.  Without caring or placing expectations, I just let go and gave in.  My punch landed on his chin and he went down very hard.

In UFC matches there’s not a ten count or anything so when a fighter goes down, the other fighter is supposed to keep fighting until the referee stops the fight or the opponent taps out.  None of that happened.  I just stood there praying to be anywhere else and hoping he wouldn’t get up again.

I don’t really remember much after that.

When I woke up I was in the locker room backstage.

A week or so later, I decided it was time to start training again and went back to my Muay Thai class.  One day after class as I was putting my gear into my gym bag, my opponent from the match came over and sat down next to me.  This was the first time we had spoken to each other since that night.

“You know something Lamb, that punch you landed…I’ve never been hit that hard in my entire life.  I actually didn’t think I was going to be able to get back up from it.”  He told me if I had pressed after that punch connected I might have won.  This was a lie, we both knew it was a lie, but it was nice of him to say so.

If you are looking for a good way to face your fears, the UFC might be a good place to start.  Who knows, you might even get in a lucky punch or two.  Just make sure they pay you more than $300.

1 comment

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