After years of enjoying Mixed Martial Arts as a fan, I've become obsessed with a crazy idea: what if I were to train and compete in an real MMA fight?
A user on the Reddit MMA group recently proposed hosting a night of amateur MMA fights for group members, and after some deep thought, consultation with my wife, and no shortage of intense nerves, I signed up. I agreed to fight an opponent with similar skills (read: none) at 185 pounds, aka "middleweight" in MMA. I currently weigh 209 pounds after dropping nearly 60 pounds since my worst weight a few years ago. I have 5 months, 21 days to lose 24 pounds of fat and learn how to strike, grapple, submit, avoid being submitted, increase my cardiovascular endurance and not talk myself out of this insane idea.
Other than watching a lot of UFC and WEC events on TV and taking a few "cardio kickboxing" classes at my gym, I've never done anything even remotely related to combat sports. No grade-school "McDojo" karate school. No high school wrestling. No boxing. No jiu-jitsu. No clue.
My opponent Mike is a 24 year old guy with (if he's being honest) similar weight to be lost and similar (lack of) skills. Given that we won't lay eyes on each-other until we're staring across a locked cage in Las Vegas, there's a large element of trust here. I have to trust that he's giving me and the organizers an honest summary of his skills and physical condition, and he has to trust the same of me.
Now that we've got a (virtual) handshake agreement to meet in the cage on Oct. 17th, my next steps are to figure out a training regimen - I need to increase my explosiveness, reduce my bodyweight (but not lose muscle!) and start to learn some MMA fundamentals, all while working full time, being a good husband and father, and not losing my mind with nervous worries about what I've committed myself to.
And so it begins.