“Are you a fighter?” It used to be because of my mangled ears that I would hear this question. The cauliflower is usually a dead give away for pugilists and wrestlers alike. Media and the growing popularity of the sport is making the “fighter” look easy to identify.
I used to joke when asked about my ears that I was born this way. The response was always an awkward “sorry” and a quick subject change. The part that bothers me about the question is the instant classification that I get thrown into; brute,psycho,illiterate,caveman,Neanderthal etc. take your pick. I’ve even been accused of having people write my blogs/status updates for me. Fighters are generally not very cerebral in the general public, after all you don’t have to be smart to hit someone.
To be honest I can’t really disagree with the general opinion. With front runners like Ronda Rousey and the Diaz bros flipping off their opponents, we generally come off as crude to say the least. The most exciting fights get the limelight, the bloodbaths and the vicious knockouts, whilst the superior grappling/bjj oriented matches get overlooked or boo’d even. The fighter look is more akin to the 80’s punk rock scene, big, dyed Mohawks, tribal and skull tats. Newcomers dying to stand out turn to the typical tough guy monicker. I can’t help but laugh at stuff like this. What happened to just being “good” to get noticed.
Another growing trend I’m seeing is the wannabes. The guys that wear the tapout shirts and mean mug everyone they walk passed. They cant wait to tell you about who they train with and that they have a fight coming up. Its like screaming for someone to ask them if they fight. I don’t get it. Who cares what other people think of you and why would you want to look like something that you could be possibly called out on. That’s like me saying I’m a NASA scientist, two questions would debunk me. All respect to those who try and fail at whatever they sought out to do. But if you didn’t make it, don’t pretend, whether it’s football or astronaut. It’s all about being exactly who you see in the mirror. Be proud of who you are. I fight for a living, but it’s not who I am, it’s something I do.
When I was starting out I looked up to fighters like Evan tanner and Genki Sudo. These were guys role models are made out of. Tanner was a recovering alcoholic that turned it all around and became UFC middleweight champion. Sudo had extravagant entrances coupled with amazing on the fly technique that wow’d the crowd and peers alike.. At the end of his fights he always held up a flag of the world stating “we are all one”. A simple and powerful message. I truly miss guys like them and try to do what I can to spread a similar message. I’m no where near Genki’s level of showmanship, he is in a class by himself, but I’ll do anything I can to spread the “We are all one” message.
When people ask me if I’m a fighter, I tell them “no”. While I do fight for a living, it will not define me. There is no shame in fighting, its a beautiful sport, but i could quit tomorrow and nothing would change. I’d still train for my health and stress/mental release.I’m not a fighter, I’m a human being. We are all one.
Edit:there is nothing wrong with being an upcoming fighter or anything for that matter, just make sure you do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it just because you want the title of being a fighter, you’re probably going to get hurt or humiliated. Chok dee! (Good luck in Thai)