Sunday, March 29, 2009

The View from the Other Side of the Cage

You already know that I fight, but you might not
know that I train with other fighters and do some coaching on the
side. I had a unique opportunity to watch one of my star pupils fight
in Reno last weekend. It's almost harder to watch someone you care
about fight. I had heard the boy he was fighting was a Golden Gloves boxing
champ. I was honestly scared for my fighter, 33 year old Kenneth
Bailey, who is more of a wrestler. When I saw the kid, Chris Rose, it
compounded my worries. Kenneth stands at 5'9"- Chris was over 6'. Kenny
had to cut weight- he dropped nearly 18 pounds for this fight. You all
know how that can make you weaker.

I just interviewed Kenneth
to find out how he felt- this being his first legitimate fight and
all. He told me, "My adrenaline was pumping like crazy. It was one of
the hardest things I've ever done in my life (this from a guy who has
fought fires). Knowing family and friends were watching made me
nervous. My ground game was pretty good. I knew I had to take him
down to avoid his punches- he had a lot of reach on me."

someone who was watching, you could never tell that Kenneth was gassed.
He looked sharp and was busy the whole time. Chris would throw punch
after punch, and Kenny would effortlessly keep taking him down- raining
down fists to his face and body.

After 3 long rounds, the
decision went to Kenneth- it was unanimous! My husband and I were
sitting next to his family and his fiance and we all cheered so loud. We
were so proud of him for how hard he fought. He really put his whole
heart into it. Your first fight can make or break you. This one
definitely made him. He came out of it pretty unscathed except for a
tiny mouse (boxing lingo for a black eye). His opponent was quite a
bit more marked up.

is all gung ho for his next fight in Reno on May 2nd. Poor guy has to
drop 30 pounds for that one. I know that you are all thinking that
he's crazy, but believe me- at his height, you need to try to fight at
a lower weight class. At 167, he'll continue to fight guys that are
huge- guys that are dropping lots of weight for weigh in and packing it
all back on before the fight. If he chooses to fight at 155, I'll try
to get him to stay around that weight, so he'll just have a small
weight cut before each fight. He can make the cut, and I'm confident
that he'll do a great job with that fight, too.

On a more
personal note, it might interest you to know that Kenneth has gotten into
trouble in the past for fighting in the streets. Around 4 months ago,
he started training with us at our fight club. He's working on turning
his life around, staying out of trouble and being a good father and
husband. He said, "Instead of getting in trouble for it, I'm out there
doing what I love to do and getting money for it."

a former street fighter to say, "I like the sportsmanship aspect of the
sport. My opponent contacted me for pictures, and I had no problem
sending them to him." is really something special. It should help to
dispel the myth that fighters are rude, thugs. Kenneth is one of the
nicest guys you ever want to meet (outside of the ring). He's always
quick to share his knowledge with other fighters and nice enough to
train with the youngsters that come in to the club.

This guy
only misses a practice if it's an emergency. I warned him after his
fight that he'd need to take a few days off because his body would be
in pain, and he'd need time to heal up. Like clockwork, he showed up
at the gym on Monday to train. I asked him if he was hurting. He
said his neck was killing him- I asked if he felt like he got hit by a
truck- he did. He took the night off of training but still watched.
What a trooper. I'll stay home and soak in Epsom salts for days after
a fight. You really put your body through the ringer when you fight.

to Kenneth- he trains like a beast, and he's just a sponge when it comes
to picking up new techniques. I can honestly see him making it big
time- hopefully UFC. So, if anyone wants to sponsor him, better get him
while he's still got room on his shorts.

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