Outside the Cage – “The MMA Critic”


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My son’s eyes lit up when we arrived at the carnival. I don’t know if it was the massive amounts of cotton candy that was seemingly available everywhere we turned that did it to him; or maybe it was the bumper cars, ferris wheel or one of the other rides that whooshed, twisted and spun around us as we walked. Either way we were both ready for to have some major fun that night.

After dropping nearly thirty bucks on tickets for the rides I spotted a familiar face in the crowd. It was the mother of one of my students that I had taught some time ago. After a smile and quick hello we talked for a few minutes before she called her son, who was a few feet away with a few of his friends of his, over to say hi.

“Jake, do you remember Jeff, he used to teach you martial arts when you were smaller?” the lady asked, excitedly awaiting her son’s response.

The kid seemed puzzled at first, his recollection skills apparently not having much success at recognizing my face.  That changed a second later . Nodding his head I could tell he was about to speak. “Your wrestling sucks!” he screamed at me. My posture straightened immediately. His mother, obviously embarrassed at her sons totally unexpected comment, called his name out using a harsh tone to let him know his actions were inappropriate.

I got a little pissed and naturally prepared to fire back verbally with a few key points to explain that I was actually a pretty good wrestler; that Koscheck was a national champion and one of the best wrestlers in the game; that it’s his strong point and that he takes down pretty much everyone he fights. A split second before I let those words loose from my mouth I stopped. The fact that the kid was picking his nose, quickly reminded me that he was probably only seven  or eight years old. After a second of processing the situation, I decided to let it slide :).

It’s obvious he didn’t come up with that idea himself, as there is no way his wrestling assessment skills are fully developed.  I’m sure he had probably heard some adult say that about me at some point in time, most likely when the fight was being aired on Spike Tv. Many people are so quick to jump at the chance to criticize another person, and so hesitant to offer any sort of praise. As a fighter we must have a “thick skin” to handle that sort of thing. All fighter lose, so we all must face criticism at one time or another during our careers.  It’s simply part of the job.

That being said, I absolutely love the fact that as professional fighters every ounce of  pressure is on us. It’s the driving force that makes me train my butt of in the gym! When we win it’s because we fought well or executed a flawless game plan during the bout. On the other hand, when we come up short and don’t end up victorious,  we are the only one responsible for that less than desired outcome and therefore must expect to face some criticism from fans of any age.

Why did we lose? A small tactical error may have caused the loss or a lack of proper training may have resulted in us being less than our best on fight day. Occasionally it’s a mental thing that helped place the the “L” on our record, because we were thinking negative thoughts during the fight instead of positive ones and all of a sudden those bad thoughts turned real in a heartbeat.

We can’t blame referees for missing illegal strikes or for allowing our opponent to call a time out in the midst of battle because that stuff just doesn’t happen in MMA. Well maybe it could, but ultimately we are responsible for the end result ninety-nine percent of the time.

Train hard, fight smart and get ready for a little criticism after your losses and sometimes even after your wins!

Here are some of my other “Outside The Cage” articles you might like…

“The Two Big Guys = Big Trouble”

“Pushups Instead of Time outs!”

“Growing Up with a Fighting Dad”

“Free Food!”

Categories : Articles & Stories

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  1. mmablaster says:

    That is hilarious, smack talk by an 8 year old.

  2. Phil says:

    Sometimes fighters lose not because of a tactical error or a lack of training. Not because of negative thoughts either. Sometimes fighters lose because their opponent is a better fighter than they are.

    Because even if both fighters train well, execute a perfect gameplan, and have positive thoughts… There will still be a loser and a winner.

  3. Rob B says:

    That’s what makes me tentative sometimes about inviting friends/family out to a session of some sorts, whether it be just training, spar or if I decide one day, a fight night at Joslins. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I go there and bust my ass to better myself both physically and mentally, and the thought of listening to people talk smack/criticize me would probably piss me off and do the whole “Well let’s see you have the balls to do what we do” thing (I once mentioned my knees were a bit sore after BJJ and I got the “Well maybe you’re not cut out for this” and the ever popular “Maybe you’re too old to be doing this kind of thing”). Some people just don’t get it is my point I guess. Okay enough ramble, just avoiding work at this point 🙂

    As for the 8 year old, dear lord that did make me lol (although I would have felt the same as you, that’s for certain!)

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