As part of the big changes I’ve mentioned before, I’m also starting a 90 day challenge. I have about 50 more pounds at least to lose before I’m at my ideal weight. I’m inviting all of you to join me on this challenge. If you’ve had enough of being overweight, feeling tired or just want to be more active. Join me on this journey together. You have NOTHING to lose but weight! Just click the link above to get started!
This morning I appeared on KENS 5 San Antonio with my MMA coach and some others from my gym. I thought I would share the video with you all. Everything went really well and it was a fun experience.
So past few weeks I’ve been going through a lot of changes and adjustments in my life. As well as all of the exciting things that have been happening.
I’m down about 60 lbs total now, so that is great progress. I’ve been on this journey for about six months or so, it’s amazing how far things have come. If you would have told me that day on the river last summer, when the kids were calling me a beached whale, that months from then, I’d be down 60 lbs, training for an MMA fight and featured in a national MMA magazine, I’d have thought you were insane. Yet here we are.
On Saturday, April 27th, I will be on KENS 5 San Antonio morning show with my MMA coach discussing my weight loss and the gym and such. Hard to believe how all of this is happening. Thank you also to Mayra Moreno of KENS 5 for having us.
Since I’ve been off work dealing with my anxiety attacks, I’ve had a lot of time to do some self reflection. One thing I’ve learned in my time off is a better sense of my own self worth. I think part of that comes with the weight loss as well.
Along with that, I began to question why I’ve spent so much of my life working jobs I can’t stand. My current job pays well and has great benefits, I just hate it. It’s an insurance call center, and I hate being bombarded over and over with phone calls from people calling to bitch about their bills, or coverage, or whatever. I realize such things are necessary, I just hate having to do it.
We have all sorts of sales numbers and call quotas that are tracked, cataloged and documented. If you go to the bathroom for too long, you get managers coming and looking for you and scolding you for being off the phones. Seriously, I’m 39 years old; I quit asking permission to take a shit years ago. I’m sure not gonna sit there with a stop watch timing myself.
So i’m working on an exit strategy. A big part of that is I’ve decided to take Fat 2 Fighter to the next level. I’ve launched Fat 2 Fighter Solutions. What I do there is life coaching, with an emphasis on health, weight loss and fitness. This has been an exciting journey for me so far, and even though I have a little ways to go yet, I want to help others who are having the same struggles that I was.
Now to clarify, a life coach is not a therapist, or a fitness trainer. I’ve caught little grief from both who said I’m doing something I’m not licensed to do. I don’t give advice, and I don’t create diet or workout plans for people. The clients are totally responsible for their own progress.
What I do is help them through the process, listening to them, asking them questions and helping them come up with their own diets, workouts, etc. What this does is empowers each person to take control of their own lives and removes their reliance on any outside source for their well being.
I’ve had one session so far, and have a few more lined up for next week. Hopefully I can get this to grow and make a living at this while helping others get healthy and feel better about themselves.
One thing that it’s taken me too long to realize, is that none of us will ever get ahead in life working for someone else. All we do in jobs is work our tails off helping someone else fulfill their dreams while our own life passes us by. Both my wife and I have decided that enough is enough. It is time to take control of our lives and start doing and making what we know we are worth.
Rachel: It doesn’t bother me, I’ve always been a super girly girl and its only natural for people to comment on my appearance. I don’t take offense. But yes I would prefer to be known more for my skills. Pretty girls are a dime a dozen. But it’s like Ronda Rousey always says, more people know me because I’m attractive, but if it wasn’t for my fighting skills, nobody would know or care who I was.
Rachel: I love to read about Ronda Rousey and other successful female fighters. I like watching their highlights and fights and reading articles, it really motivates me. I also have a dry erase board on my refrigerator and I always have my short term goals written so I can see them every day. Then when I accomplish a goal, I check it off.
Today’s special guest is MMA fighter Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke. She currently fights with Invicta FC. She was kind enough to sit down and talk with me about her career and offer some inspiration.
F2F: What got you started in MMA? As a girl it couldn’t’ have been the first thing on your mind
Jessamyn: From when I got started to actually persuing it as a career was a long time. When I started when I was like 19, at the gym where I started to train, it was purely for fitness/hobby reasons. I’ve always been an athlete and always worked out, been in shape and played sports. I had just graduated high school and had just moved to Richmond with my mom, and I was in college. I wasn’t really doing anything. She was like, you need to see what’s going on around here, and it’s a new town, so go find a hobby. Make some friends, go get into something. And I wanted to do something you know, because I have like a really bad habit of picking up a hobby for 2 or 3 months then getting bored with it. So I got a pretty short attention span when it comes to stuff like that. So I wanted to do something different. So I thought it would be cool to take a kickboxing class or something like that. You know, up till then I had never done any kind of martial arts or combat sports. I’d never done any of it. I thought it would be kind of neat.
So when I started it was just for something to do, but when I started, I totally fell in love with it. I just became addicted to training. I went to all the classes I could, I’d there before they opened the doors, I didn’t want to leave. I was like that for years! Then I started doing competitions like grappling pretty early on, things like that. But it had been almost 3 years since I had my first Muay Thai fight, and I won it and it was like from that moment “Oh my God, I have got to do this more often, as much as possible!” At that time, MMA wasn’t really a viable option for women as a career. I mean, it was kind of around a little bit. Gina Carano was just barely on the scene, and I only knew who she was from Muay Thai.
I think she just started doing some bigger stuff in MMA, and that was pretty much it. So I decided I wanted to be a professional Muay Thai fighter and that was it. But then it didn’t really happen that way. MMA started getting pretty popular even for women, so by the time I made my MMA debut, it pretty much took off. I’d always trained in everything. Once I found out it was a viable option, I finally felt like I found a real passion in my life. I’d never had that before. When I started fighting, I decided it was a worthy pursuit for my life, and so far I feel like I’ve made the right choice.
F2F: When you decided to do MMA full time how difficult did you find it to get started?
Jessamyn: You know, not terribly to be honest. I know it’s a pretty common thing to hear women complain about how hard it was to find fights and opponents. And it was at first, it was very difficult to find fights. But it didn’t’ really affect my training. I kind of felt like, even if a fight fell through, I would just keep getting better and use it as an opportunity to improve. So even after several dropped opponents, I never got discouraged; I kept working and getting better. By the time I graduated from college, I decided I would work just enough to make money to pay my bills, then spend the rest of my time training and preparing. So I could focus all of my attention on this. Once I did that I was like well, it’s going to happen.
I’ve never felt like I’ve been stifled in any way. I kind of feel like at least in one aspect, women have it a little easier because there’s less competition. And if you are dedicated and put in the work, then you will stand out because there just aren’t that many of us. For the guys, there are just so many male fighters out there who are talented and have the dedication and the drive, but they have a terrible time breaking out and getting noticed and getting onto the big cards. I think it’s harder for them to find opportunities. I mean when I was an amateur I had places paying for me to fly out and fight for them. Because they knew I was legit, they knew I was going to put on a good fight and they knew I’d make weight. Even though I was amateur, they knew I’d act professional. So to be totally honest, I didn’t find it too difficult.
F2F: That makes sense what you said about the women. I know on things like The Ultimate Fighter, you see guys who are 15-0 and they can’t even get into the house.
Jessamyn: Right! And I mean, it’s the truth. I think the hardest part is just being patient. Don’t expect it to happen overnight, because it doesn’t. I’ve been training almost seven and a half years now. And the last couple years have just now been the really exciting part. You just have to stay diligent and it does happen. I feel like for me, everything happened at a pace that was appropriate for where MMA was at the time.
F2F: Yeah, this seems like the perfect time for women’s MMA. You’re basically getting in on the ground floor.
Jessamyn: Exactly! And with Invicta just starting and being like an up and comer, this is perfect. We got the Ultimate fighter coming up now. And I found out I’m just eligible enough to be on the show, so it couldn’t have worked out better.
F2F: What would you say has been your biggest obstacle to overcome in your career?
Jessamyn: Um, usually I tell people the hardest thing was getting enough fight experience as a female fighter. Because there are less of us, it’s harder to get the experience needed to compete at high levels. So you just have to make the most of what you get. I did manage to get seven amateur fights before going pro. I’d have liked to have more, I wanted to have ten. But it didn’t work out that way, so I just had to take what I could and grow from each fight experience, since I didn’t know when I’d get that chance again. So I might go 6, 8 or 12 months in between fights whereas guys might be able to fight once a month or every three months, so I had to take as much as I could from each fight. Since I’ve gone pro with Invicta, it’s been pretty much a non-issue. I could have been on Invicta 4, but I needed to give my body a break from fight camp and work on developing my skills for the next camp. It’s pretty to get the experience you need when working for a company like Invicta.
F2F: Yeah, they have a really good product going on. I’ve been excited about how things have gone with them. I know in your last fight at Invicta 5 with Miriam Nokamoto, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding that fight with the illegal knee she threw. I know you’ve already done a ton of interviews on it. But just to touch on it, in the week since that fight, what impact has that had on your life and career?
Jessamyn: It’s been definitely a roller coaster, but that truly is part of the fight game. I’ve lost fights before, I mean, not controversially, but I have lost fights. It’s just a matter of dealing with a loss and part of being a fighter. Part of what makes MMA so exciting is you never know what is going to happen in a fight. Even with this fight despite all the controversy that went down, and all the negative feelings I still had so much fun with the whole experience. And I learned a lot!
Everything from the weight cut, to the fight prep, my camp; it was over all a great experience. So there are a lot of happy feelings. But as far as the controversy goes and the bad calls, when I fought Muay Thai I had some pretty shoddy judging or fights that I feel shouldn’t have gone the way it went. But as an amateur, it doesn’t really matter. Your amateur record isn’t permanent. You just learn something from it and try to move on. So that’s what you do.
But as a professional it’s a little harder to do that. For one, there is a lot of money on the line. Also, this is your permanent record. Whatever you do as a professional is going to follow you everywhere, I mean it’s not going away. So you have your permanent record on the line. Then you know when and outcome is controversial and you appeal it like we have and go public, you’re going to catch some criticism. So it’s hard to kind of deal with that. It’s upsetting when people aren’t happy with what you’re doing. But for me, I’m a professional in this sport so I see it as my responsibility.
I see this as a blatant, illegal foul. This was something to me that questions the integrity of our sport. We have pretty black and white rules. And when these rules aren’t followed, to me that lowers the bar in our sport itself. As a whole our sport is better than that. Like I’ll be the first to admit when I think certain rules are stupid. I think the 12-6 elbow rule is the dumbest rule in the book. I really do. I think it’s idiotic that it’s against the rules. But, it’s still a rule. So if you throw that strike, you’ll be disqualified, or it’s a no contest, or whatever. You’re done. It doesn’t matter if you think it was right or wrong, it’s against the rules.
So to me that’s what happened. The fight was still on; the ref had not stopped it. She threw a knee that hit me in the skull that put me down. And to me, that’s black and white. I feel like it’s my job that I need to stand up and say, “Hey this is wrong.” And to bring attention to it to make it right. We’re better than this as a sport. I hope this spurs people on to consider implementing instant replay. We need on hand instant replay for stuff like that. So I’m happy with my decision to appeal it, regardless of what the commission says. I see it as a professional as part of my responsibility. I would expect any other fighter to do the same thing. I’d question if another fighter who this happened to didn’t appeal it. I’d wonder why don’t they care?
But overall, I’ve had overwhelming support. The minority who has been critical of my decision to appeal it has been very very small. They’re very vocal, but very small. I’ve had some pretty big names openly support me. So that made me feel I made the right choice. Honestly I have a good feeling about it. I just heard a radio interview with Big John McCarthy talking about it for the first time. When I heard it, I was like “Well there you go”. But at the end of the interview, he said if he’d had instant replay, he’d have DQ’d Miriam. He said but he’s only got one set of eyes and he admits there could have been an error.
He said with what he had at the time, there was no good call, and no matter which way he’d have called it, someone would have been upset. So he made the call and I can totally respect that. Referees have the absolute worst job, I would not want that job, and I totally feel for them. I have no ill will toward Big John McCarthy at all, he made his call and that is fine. But this is why we have commissions, so if I feel he made a mistake, we can appeal it and go through the process. But hearing that told me a lot, it was interesting hearing that come from him. I think he’s a great ref, but I think he made a mistake. But he said he has no hard feelings about me appealing it. And if the commission overturns it he’d be totally ok with that.
Some people asked me why I didn’t make a big stink about it at the time, why was I clapping for my opponent. For one, I got kneed in the head pretty hard, you know? The second knee hit me and I felt Big John put his hands on me. I never fully collapsed on the canvas; I was still on my arms. And I remember thinking “Wasn’t I on my knees?” but he was talking to me, so I figured I’d better stop thinking about it and listen to him. And nobody said anything to me right away at least. So I just tried to be a good sport. I didn’t want to make a scene and make myself look like an ass, only to find out later it was legit. I never want to take away from someone’s win, or ruin that moment.
F2F: I think you did the right thing. You handled it with class you did the right things at the time. Then afterwards you went back, reviewed it and went through the process. Because Big John wasn’t going to overturn it if you threw a fit anyway.
Jessamyn: Exactly. So it’s just always easier to be a good sport. It really is. Plus it makes you feel better. If you throw a fit, that just makes you feel worse. I was willing to take it on the chin and just let it go. But once we got back to the warm up area people were coming up to me saying we have got to appeal this and there were already pictures of it online. Then I was like ok, this is bad. Then it starts to hit you, like “Wow! This was really bad!” so then I decided I needed to appeal it. It wasn’t a gray area at all; it’s pretty black and white.
F2F: So what are your thoughts going into the Ultimate Fighter tryouts?
Jessamyn: I’m super excited about it. Regardless of what happens I think it will be a pretty neat experience. I’ve never gone to a fighter tryout before. My training partner, Gina Begley went to an XFC try out a while ago; she kind of told me how they ran things. But personally I’ve never been to one, so I’m excited over the new experience. I think it’s a great opportunity to get your name and face out there. It’s also a great opportunity to show your stuff to some pretty influential people where the UFC is concerned.
F2F: Do you know if Miriam is going to be there?
Jessamyn: She’s not. I saw where her camp announced that she will not be trying out. I guess I’ll have to wait on that rematch.
F2F: What are your thoughts on the format this season for TUF? With the guys and girls living in the same house?
Jessamyn: You know, I don’t know. At first I thought it didn’t matter. I train with guys all the time anyway so I’m used to being in that environment. So to me it would be stranger to train with women all the time. I guess it’s going to be eight men and eight women. I think that might be a good thing. I think if it were all women I think there’d be way too much cattiness. So maybe it’s a good thing and the guys can level things out a little bit. But I don’t know how that will work or how it will go over.
I do think on one hand, as far as the guys go. And I don’t care what anyone says. Any female who trains seriously knows deep in their heart that I’m right. But guys always have to level down a little when they train with girls. If both are equally skilled, especially if the guy is bigger, he’s going to have to level down just a little bit. They are just more explosive and have more muscle. So there are some advantages males have.
I think it will help we’re all the same size, all 135, so that might even things out a little. But I wonder if the guys will hold some resentment because they are going to have to train with women. I have a training partner who is male. We are the same skill, same height and weight and everything. But when he needs to be pushed to his limit, I’m just not explosive enough or strong enough to do that. I can be an awesome training partner. But I can’t push him beyond the breaking point.
I think women and some fans might get upset and say “Well you can kick a guy’s ass!” I think when you’re evenly trained there are still certain advantages guys have. So I wonder if there will be some resentment with guys on the show for training with women, because physically we can’t push them as hard. But there will still be guys for them to train with. We will definitely get the benefit of training with guys. Unless the female is so unbelievably technical, the guys might learn some things from her.
F2F: I’ve heard some concerns that the show might move into some kind of “Real World” meets “Ultimate Fighter” territory. I hope it doesn’t go that route.
Jessamyn: Yeah, me too. I like it better when they stick to the training with the fighters and fights. Like this last season, I thought was great. There were a few moments I thought were a little too sappy or boo-hooey to me. But I like it when they focus on the fighters and the training and the fights. I just enjoyed it so much. But I really don’t want it to go into this downward spiral into this Real World type thing. I think it would bring women’s MMA down. I think the women can train just as hard and put just as much into it, then fight hard on fight day.
F2F: What do you do when not fighting or training?
Jessamyn: Um, I’m always training or thinking of fighting. I train everyday even if I don’t have a fight scheduled. I’m always focused on improving. When I have some down time I really enjoy relaxing. When everything else is always so go go go, I’m ready to play some video games, watch a movie. I don’t really have another hobby other than trying to defrag my brain on the X-box or something like that. I don’t really go out. I’m not a big night life person. I like to sleep. Might seem kind of boring, but my life gets real exciting every few months.
F2F: What would you have to say to any young girls, or anybody struggling with weight that is looking to train in mixed martial arts and just starting out?
Jessamyn: I would say some of the best advice is always to stick with something long enough to find out if you hate it or love it. Sometimes you don’t always know right away. If you want to see results, you have to stay consistent. Like with MMA, there will always be an excuse not to train. There are people out there who have great potential, but maybe they just don’t feel confident in training or doubt if they can really do it. So maybe they’ll just not train or give up. But if you stick to it, you’ll be amazed at the results. I really feel like that’s what I did. I stuck to it. I showed up every day and trained and I feel like I’m reaping the rewards now. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened.
You go to the gym, train hard and put everything you got into it and stick with it. I do this year round. I don’t have an off season. I don’t take a week off after a fight like some fighters do. I was in the gym on Sunday after my Invicta fight Friday. I was going lightly, you can always adjust your intensity but you have got to get in the gym and train. If you want to be a great fighter, you have to put in the hours. If you want to lose weight and be fit, you have to put in the hours. Whatever your goals are you can reach them, you just have to put in those hours and it will happen. You’ll get your results; the formula is really the same.
Thank you very much Jessamyn Duke for taking the time with me. Best of luck to you at the Ultimate Fighter tryouts. You can connect with Jessamyn on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jessamynduke
Jessamyn’s loss to Miriam Nakamoto discussed above was overturned today by the Missouri Athletic Commission and ruled a No Contest due to an illegal knee to the face of a downed opponent. Congratulations to Jessamyn for sticking to her guns and doing what she felt was right. Sometimes the right choice isn’t always the easiest.
So after almost six weeks off due to various illnesses and personal crises, I got back to the gym this week. I tried to go easy on myself and just did two nights of no gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on Tuesday and Thursday nights. It was really good being back, though my cardio really got bad during my time off.
It was super hot in the gym for one. They just did some remodeling and I think are still finishing up with the A/C, so it got really warm really quickly. We did some drills for about half an hour, then did free roll the rest of the time in five minute rounds. Tuesday night I gassed out pretty quick. I was going against a much younger guy, who was in really good shape. Though I noticed during drills he was really rough. Usually in drills, you kind of try to walk through the techniques, or do them quickly but gently so as not to hurt your partner.
He was just grabbing me and trying to fling me all over. He even grabbed my t-shirt at one point and ripped the sleeve out of it, which annoyed me. You don’t grab clothing in no gi. If you want to grab clothing, that’s what training with the gi is for. In a tournament you can lose points for that. In training, you rip your partner’s clothes and piss them off.
Once we started free roll, I dominated him pretty good most of the round. I got him down and took side control and held it for awhile trying to open up an armbar or choke. But he would buck a lot and eventually I got exhausted, so he was able to get out from under me and tap me out in a Kimura hold.
After that, there was about a minute or so left, and I couldn’t catch my breath. Our instructor had me sit out the last round since I think I was looking rather pale. It was a good class over all though. Seems like cardio is often the first thing to go, but also comes back pretty quickly too when you stay with it.
On Thursday I switched partners a few times as stragglers would show up late for class. We did pretty much the same kind of drills we did on Tuesday. There is one drill, I don’t know what you call it or how to describe it, but it really kills your abs. I mean, that’s all good, just not fun at the time. He showed a couple other techniques that I just couldnt’ get. I find that a lot in BJJ. There are a lot of techniques that involve putting one foot here, the other leg there, cross one arm over behind the other arm, bend over backwards and scratch your nose with your toe.
Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. But it feels like that when trying to do it. It looks so easy as they show it, but trying to execute it is another story. Maybe it’s because I’m a white belt, or a bigger guy, or both. So far my best technique is smash and choke. It’s simple, but effective. Though at some point, I’m going to have to learn some of the fancier moves.
When we rolled Thursday, I rolled with my buddy Hunter for one round. Hunter worked with me a lot then took a few months off after winning his fight. He always threw me around the mat before, and now that I’ve gained experience, I was anxious to roll with him again to show him how I’ve improved. Well, Hunter is real skinny, and tall, he’s like 6’5 or so and its ALL legs. He’d go straight to his back to defend, and I could not pass his guard no matter how hard I tried. His fucking legs don’t end, ever. It’s like Jack and the Beanstalk, they just go on and on forever. I’m clear up behind his head trying to pass his guard, and he wraps his legs around my head to triangle me. I managed to wiggle out of it, but I stumbled backward, he jumped on top and got me in an armbar before I could react.
The next round, I rolled with Jason, our instructor and gym owner. I never rolled with him before. He’s a brown belt and has probably forgotten more than I actually know about BJJ. He knows all the moves, all the counters, and the counters to the counters. Though he never really tried to tap me out. He pretty much just held me down to see if I could escape, which I couldn’t. After him I rolled with another guy I didn’t know. I did pretty well against him most of the round, by the time that round was over I was out of gas. I sat out the last two rounds.
Jason told me afterwards that my cardio will come back quickly as long as I keep returning. It’s funny too because as I was rolling, I feel physically stronger than I did a few months ago, and in my head I know the techniques. Something would open up and I knew right away what to do, but would just tire out before I could actually execute it and then would just lie there.
So at least it isn’t like completely starting over, plus I’m almost 60 lbs lighter than I was when I started. This coming week, I’m gonna get back in Muay Thai on Monday, then try to hit BJJ on Tues and Thurs. Then hopefully do BJJ and MMA on Tues and Thurs nights. As long as I have no more injuries or illness to slow me down again, I should be able to get on track to get the rest of this weight off.
Today our special guest is Chad “The Savage” George, former WEC fighter and subject of the hit documentary “Occupation Fighter”, currently available on Netflix.
F2F: What was that moment when you knew being a pro MMA fighter is what you wanted to do? Was there a watershed moment when you knew?
Chad: You know it actually was more of um; I had to make a choice whether I was going to pursue my artwork professionally or if I was going to do the fighting. I was kind of at the point with my art where I didn’t really want to do it anymore. So it was really an easy decision to make. It was like ok, do I continue with something that I’m not really into or do I try this other thing? And luckily it was the right decision.
F2F: When you finally made that decision, how difficult was it to get started and to get the training and exposure you needed?
Chad: Well that’s the hardest part. When you make a decision like that, you’re going from an industry where you know I was actually making a living, to having no financial income, living on someone’s couch and not being able to put gas in the car. You know that was tough. That was the hardest part, to keep believing in it and to keep grinding and keep going forward. That’s definitely the hardest part.
F2F: How did Occupation Fighter come about?
Chad: I wish I could have some glamorous, awesome story on how it came about, but unfortunately it’s not so amazing. Outside of the fact that I moved next door to the director. My girlfriend and I bought a condo in a little complex and we were the only people who lived there next to the director, who was really interested in what I did. Because he really didn’t know anything about MMA and he’d see me walking around the complex with a black eye or whatever. And it really just caught his attention. We started talking and he had this really amazing idea for a documentary. And that’s what he was known for. He’d done a bunch of documentaries in Germany and so we decided to go forward with it.
F2F: It’s a really powerful film, I mean anyone who is considering becoming a pro fighter who watches this will either be more motivated to do it, or will be scared away.
Chad: Haha, right!
F2F: But I mean, that’s not a bad thing. The film is so real; you can watch it and know you aren’t going into something like a fight career blindly.
Chad: Yeah, the response has been incredible.
F2F: How much has your life and career changed since the film’s release?
Chad: Oh man, I can’t even put an amount on it, it’s been tenfold. Mostly the biggest change is realizing that everything we do affects people around us. And until we realize that, we’ll never know how the things we do impact others. And if nothing else the film has helped open my eyes again. Because sometimes we just forget.
F2F: When you were filming, is there any experience that stands out to you from that time?
Chad: No particular one thing, the whole experience itself was pretty incredible. When you have someone documenting everything you do over a long period of time. You know, I don’t have a word for what to call it, but the whole thing is just life changing in itself.
F2F: What would you say has been your biggest set of obstacles or single biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Chad: For me, I’d say the biggest thing I had to overcome was the battle with myself. I’m sure you if anybody understand what that means. You know, if you want to make a big change in your life, you have to battle the one that’s going on inside you. And even if you watch the film, if you watch the stages I went through, you’ll see a guy who starts out trying to figure himself out to being a guy who knows who they really are.
F2F: That battle seems to be a pretty common theme with most fighters. I see it a lot on The Ultimate Fighter.
Chad: Yeah because what’s interesting is in my situation is that I had a camera on me for 8 or 9 months. The Ultimate Fighter guys only have to deal with that for 8-12 weeks. Yet in that 8-12 weeks, they have to be forced to face themselves whether they want to or not. And that’s something that most people are not ready to do.
F2F: One thing on the Ultimate Fighter, it’s shorter but with so many guys you can almost predict who is going to win the fights each week, because you can see some of them defeat themselves mentally before even setting foot in the cage.
Chad: Yeah, absolutely and that’s going on inside all people all the time. And you know it’s just a matter of whoever can get a grasp of that before the other one is what it comes down to.
F2F: So what would you say worked for you in overcoming those obstacles?
Chad: I don’t know if there is any one thing that works. For me it was just the whole self-diving in and digging in and wanting to know about myself and why I do certain things. Realizing you don’t have to put on an image or facade for others to accept you. You just have to be confident in what it is you do and why you do things, and don’t be embarrassed by it. Just accept it and go do it.
F2F: Yeah, I noticed that kind of theme running through the movie. At times it feels like two separate films. At the beginning you’re talking about the haircut, the Mohawk and the branding. Then later in the film you say you don’t care about the hair or any of that stuff, you’re just going to go and do this thing.
Chad: And yeah, that was actually the point I was talking about. When I finally realized I don’t need all this glam and glitz for people to accept me. I’m like “Oh I can just be me?” that’s so much easier.
F2F: So what would you say your plans are for the future?
Chad: Well right now, I’m in rehab from my recent back surgery. We’re looking to hopefully make a comeback in October. But we aren’t committing to anything until I’m healthy and at 100%. But the plan is to at least get a fight in before the end of the year.
F2F: Any idea who you might be fighting with promotion wise?
Chad: No, like I said, I’m not committing anywhere just yet. We have a lot of people contacting us wanting to book that fight. You know, because of the film and everything. Every local promotion is trying to book that fight and my fan base here in L.A. has really grown. But I’m not worried about that right now. I’m worried about getting healthy. But I’m working hard and getting stronger and once I’m back and healthy, it will be the strongest version of me this sport has seen yet.
F2F: What would you say to someone in their 30s or 40s or who is overweight considering training in MMA?
Chad: Don’t let others dictate what you want to do. If you believe you want to do something, follow your heart and follow your dreams. As long as you believe it, you can achieve anything.
Thank you Chad for taking the time to talk and for sharing your experiences with Fat 2 Fighter. I highly recommend everyone check out “Occupation Fighter” on Netflix. You’ll see the real day to day life of a professional MMA fighter. It’s a great film.
You can connect with Chad on Facebook here:
And here is Chad’s gym