NTT Observe

A Fighter Is Never Alone

A Fighter Is Never Alone

Coach Chris Prickett heading wrestling class at NTT. Photo by Andy Cotterill

By Brian Appel

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FIGHT NEWS!

Your fighter has a new fight.

LETS GOOOO!

The hype begins.

It could be days, could be weeks out, but you’re excited now.

You begin watching the opponent’s previous fights and do your own breakdowns, seeing where the holes might be and where your fighter has the upper hand.

Fight week and you secure your pay per view.

The weigh ins are live.

You tune in and congratulate your fighter for making weight like a true champion. You’re proud of your fighter and can’t wait to watch them make their walk to the cage.

“FIGHTING OUT OF THE RED CORNER…”

Edge of your seat.

“FIGHTER ARE YOU READY? FIGHTER ARE YOU READY?”

You hold your breath.

“FIGHT!”

Remind yourself to breath.

Every punch, every kick, every takedown you ROAR!

Score every round like you’re a judge.

Fight over.

You still remind yourself to breath.

You pull your phone out to record the final outcome.

Your fighter wins!

It feels like you won too, and if things don’t go their way it would have been a kick in the gut.

15 minutes.

15 minutes to show the world who you are. What you can do. Why you deserve to climb the rankings and break into the premier leagues.

Like any sport, success here is based not on just skill, but marketability and social following, and 15 minutes is not a lot of time to make an impression.

Good or bad, you could go viral either way, on repeat forever.

You crush a KO and you have the world at your feet, your foe does it and you’re last year’s news.

Fight night is over and most fans step away until the next event.

For some it’s much deeper than that.

Some very fortunate people are with their fighter in the trenches as well, in their own, special way.

In no way do I know what it’s like to be a fighter and I will never pretend to know, but from my family’s privileged position at a fighter gym let’s us observe close hand what they go through every day.

Watching them sweat, and bleed, and get ready for their next challenge.

The sacrifices they make.

Watching food intake down to single calories.

Multiple hard training sessions.

In the room while high caliber athletes are training is quite humbling.

Seeing the fatigue and the injuries and yet they continue to push themselves with every ounce of their being right to the end.

A gym family feeds off one another, pushes each other, complements one another.

When the physical part of training is over they discuss what they just worked, giving pointers, and offering to drill it out some more later in the day.

For a new fighter working their way through the ranks it’s not lucrative, just another sacrifice and struggle.

Sacrificing luxuries so they can train, taking whatever sparse fight opportunities that come their way and doing so for little pay, or none at all for amateurs.

Every like and share from a fan increases social media presence and helps to get sponsorships, even the most meager of which helps tremendously.

Being up close to witness the sacrifices, the struggles, the highs and the lows, has made us fans for more than the 15 minutes these athletes ply their trade… has made us fans for more than just the fighter. It has made us fans of the fighters as people.

The world can be extremely thankless sometimes, so I thank the athletes and coaches for allowing us to be witness to the training, the conversations, the inspiration to become a healthier, the advice, and most importantly for being positive role models for everyone that walks into their gym, young and old alike.

“Fighter are you ready?”