Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vs KangEn


The day after New Year’s, which I got a little out of hand at but not too bad, I decided that it's time to step things up. Although I quit drinking cold turkey for a year from the day I first started training, and haven't really had any problems with it, I knew that it was time to quit again. I had allowed myself to have a day or two of drinking after each fight but that started turning into longer and longer periods of time. I know that I will always be an alcoholic and I know that it can easily get a hold of me again. Most of the times I have messed up in my life alcohol has been involved. I decided that I am once again going to give up drinking for a year and really try to push myself, in all areas of my life.
Two days ago, the day after New Year’s, I got the call that I've been waiting for. A few years ago the WBC started sanctioning Muay Thai fights and ever since then it has been my dream to win one of those pretty green belts. I've been praying a lot lately for God's direction in my life. To show me where to go and what I should be doing. Out of the blue Dennis Warner, the biggest Muay Thai promoter in the states, calls me and asks if I wanted to fight for the Interim Super Lightweight WBC International title in Beijing, China in two weeks. It's was going to be a benefit show for the earthquake victims. Unfortunately for the past two months all I have been doing is MMA training, on top of that fact that I've been really sick for the last two weeks. One thing that I've learned from all of these years of training is that it doesn't always matter how much, or how little, time you have to get ready for a fight, anything can happen. I've had fights where I have trained perfectly for weeks and everything went right, then in the fight I feel exhausted. On the other hand there have been times where I've taken a fight on two days notice and never felt better. We can't always pick the way that things happen in our lives but we can decide how we deal with them. Nine times out of ten things are going to go completely different than you had planned. We just need to trust in God and realize that He's in control, things will work out. There's no way I would ever pass this opportunity up, even if it was on two minutes notice.
It will be against a guy that I've seen fight out here twice, KangEn. He fought my boy James Martinez and Kongnapa. He beat them both, although they pretty much screwed Kongnapa over. I know that he's a good fighter and that this is going to be a really tough fight, especially since I only have a few days to get ready for it. Fortunately I have been training a little bit and haven't been gorging myself like I usually do, so the weight shouldn't be a problem. Saturday I went to sparring over at Couture's to see how good of shape I was in. I tried pushing myself as hard as possible so that I could get a good idea of where I'm at. Chris Hordecki was there, he's fighting on the Affliction card in three weeks. I did a few rounds with him and felt pretty good, obviously I'm not where I would normally want to be but given the circumstances I can't complain. Although my cardio wasn't where I wanted it to be I did feel pretty sharp. I know that I'm just going to have to fight smart. Today, Monday, was my first day of full training. I felt pretty good. I ran three miles this morning, my calf is still killing me from when I pulled it a few weeks ago but it's not too bad. After that I did about seven rounds of boxing pads with Mike. Again, I felt sharp but gassed out. At four I went over to Toddy's. I sat down and talked to him for a bit about everything that's been going on, he said that he would help me get ready for the fight. It was really weird being at the gym after having been gone for two months. I hit pads with Nope for four rounds, which exhausted me. I forgot how much more difficult it is to do Muay Thai pads than boxing. I did feel sharp and my kicks felt great, other than my hip killing me. Toddy went over some technique stuff with me about fighting southpaw's. Went and hit the bag a few rounds and finished up with my exercises. Still feeling kind of sick but I only really notice it first thing in the morning and late at night. Rhonda got me hooked up at the spa over at The Palms Place, which is awesome, and I went over there last night. They have a huge Jacuzzi as well as an ice pool, which is basically ice cold water so I don't have to do those damn ice baths. They have steam and sauna rooms as well as this room that you can just kick back and watch T.V. and eat fruit. It's really great. I'm going to try and get over there every night after training. I need to go see Denny, my chiropractor, tomorrow.


Well today was frustrating. I got up this morning and did my sprints, which were brutal, but I made it through them. Unfortunately I didn't have time to do anything else because I had to get our passports over to Dennis and then go see the doc. I got my hip worked on, which has really been killing me lately. I went down to Randy's at four because Tompkins told me he had a few southpaws that could give me some work. We did a bunch of drills for like half an hour, which was incredibly boring because it was really basic stuff and I really didn't need to be working on that right now. It was a really good warm up though and after that we did five, 5 minute rounds of sparring. I felt OK for the first three rounds but then I hit the wall. I had nothing left. I couldn't breathe, felt as if I had asthma or something. I just couldn't get enough oxygen. I managed to push through it but feeling that way really frustrated me. I know that you're going to have good days and bad days but it still put me in a bad mood. I'm going to go back on Thursday and hopefully I will feel better. I know that there's not much I can do about it. I mean I took this fight on less than two weeks notice after having not done any Muay Thai training in two months, on top of being sick for the past two weeks. Even knowing that it still frustrates me to not be at my best. Oh well, I know that God will get me through no matter what. After training I was feeling really lousy, exhausted and in a really bad mood. I went over to the spa and relaxed. I alternated between the jacuzzi and ice bath for about half an hour. I was still really out of it from training so I didn't stay very long. It did make me feel much better. Tomorrow's a new day! I knew that the most important thing in this fight, and in any fight, is to be in the right frame of mind, to be mentally strong and let nothing distract you from your goal. I just need to stay focused because there's not a lot I can do about the physical stuff. Just going to read the bible, all the wonderful MySpace messages that keep me encouraged and relax.


I had a hard time sleeping last night, which always seems to happen the harder I train. I felt terrible this morning, exhausted, sore, just out of it. Went and did some rehab with Bob. He worked on my hip a bit and loosened it up and then I had to go over to Warrior. Did my 3 miles on the treadmill, I felt so exhausted. I hit the bag a bit but I had absolutely nothing, it was really frustrating. I left the gym feeling bummed out and felt as if I could have slept for a week. I went over to Mark's and ate a bit and tried to take a nap. It was as if I was too tired to even sleep. I may have passed out for about 20 minutes but it didn't feel like much. I had no idea how I was going to make it through my night session. I went over to Toddy's at 4, warmed up and stretched, still feeling completely drained. Started hitting pads and I was actually feeling a little better. I did about 7 Thai rounds and then 5 just boxing. We went over a lot of technique stuff, which was good. I was feeling much better although I was still exhausted. I went over to the South Point last night after training, Becca had a room there. It was nice just to hang out and relax. Got up this morning at 10 to go train but it was not happening, I could barely move and to top it all off I felt as if I was getting sick again. I decided to skip my morning session and just sleep in. For some reason I couldn't fall back asleep so I just lay there until 2. Finally I got up and went over to Mark's place to get something to eat. Had some lunch and relaxed watching some fights. I had to go to Randy's at 4 to spar and I was still feeling lousy. I didn't know how I was going to make it through. Finally I picked myself up and went over to the gym. I did about 5 rounds and I actually felt pretty good. I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable with southpaws although I still think too much instead of just letting go. Went back to Mark's for a bit then had to go to Warrior at 8 to hit pads. We just did some technique stuff and clinched for a few rounds, I was feeling much better. I got a full day of training tomorrow and then Chaz is having his first MMA fight tomorrow night. Hopefully I can get some sleep.


Got up this morning, felt as if I could have slept all day, and dragged my ass to Bob's for rehab and then went to Warrior. I did my 3 miles, I was so tired and my right knee was killing me, just like it did last time I was in Thailand. I just wanted to go home. I did some technique sparring with Matt and then finished up with my exercises. I was so drained. I went to Mark's and had a bite to eat and then watched some fights. Dennis called me and said that we had to send him passport photos so that he could get our Visas. Just one more thing on the list of crap that I gotta do before we leave. Hopefully I can get them to him in time. I went and saw Denny at 3 and got a good massage, I was feeling much better. I had to go straight from there to Toddy's. I warmed up and Master Toddy went over some techniques with me. I did about 8 rounds with Nope and actually felt pretty good. After that I had to go straight to Chaz's fight. I started feeling really worn out on the way over there, on top of being starved. He ended up winning a close decision. I was really happy for him but I felt like crap and left as soon as his fight was over. I was so tired and my body felt as if I was getting sick. They had this really great article about the fight on the WBC Muay Thai website. It was so crazy to see my name up there on the main page, very surreal.


I got up this morning feeling alright. Still sick and sore, but much better. Mark and I had to get our photos done this morning for our Visas and get them over to Dennis. Hopefully he will get them in time. I had to rush to get all this finished right before training, it was stressful but I got it done. I felt pretty good sparring, there were a bunch of southpaws that I got to work with. None of them really had Kang's style but it was still good for me to get a look at their angles. Evan, from Randy's, and Dong Hyun Kim(UFC fighter) were the best for me to work with. I really tried to push the pace and I actually felt pretty good. I mean I was exhausted but I was still able to push to push it and stay sharp. I was 145 when I got up this morning, which made me extremely happy. The last thing I wanted to have to do is cut a bunch of weight. I went to the spa tonight after training, it was so relaxing and just what I needed. I'm so grateful to have so many people that help me out. So grateful that God has placed so many wonderful people in my life. I did about 5 sessions between the Jacuzzi and the ice pool. My hip still hurts badly but overall my body is feeling better. So I come to find out that I’m the main event on this card. It's crazy to me, especially after seeing all the other amazing fighters that are on the it. I'm sitting here reading the write up about the fight and it's so surreal to realize that they are talking about me. I can't even believe it. It's a really interesting feeling, one day you're sitting there sick as a dog, having not trained Muay Thai in 2 months and contemplating switching over to MMA all together. Then, the next minute you get a call to fight for the WBC title, something that you've been dreaming of for years, in China of all places. It's amazing how quickly things can change in your life. That's why no matter where you are, good or bad, you need to know that at any second it can all turn around. We need to appreciate every little thing, even the hard times. Keep your head up and know that you can accomplish greatness. I just think how easily I could have passed this up. I mean it's probably the worst possible timing for me and it would have been easy for most people to say no. But for me, I take every opportunity I have, whether it's bad timing or not. I just know that if it wasn't meant to be than God will direct me. I used to be the type of person that hoped for the best but always planned on the worst. This constantly kept me in a flat line state. Not ever being too sad but never being too happy either, always just OK. Now I've realized that we need to expect and plan for great things. I mean sure you might get disappointed but when you expect bad things then that's exactly what you will get. I think it's much better to expect great things and not get them rather than expecting bad things and getting exactly that. Of course bad things are going to happen but even during these times we get stronger and wiser and we need to know that better days will come.


Tried to sleep in this morning but I woke up at 8 so I just lay in bed until 1. I got my hand lasered at 4 and then went and saw Dawn, who I thought was going to go to church with me. We hung out for a bit and said our goodbyes then I went to church solo. It was the most amazing service, I wanted to cry the whole time, it was so powerful. The pastor lady kept asking if someone was there who was going to end their life. She kept asking and said that she just had this strong feeling about it and couldn't let it go. Right when she was about to give up someone raised their hand. They prayed over him, it was really amazing. Afterward I went over to Dana's where she prayed for me. It always makes me feel so much more confident when she prays over me. I stopped by and saw Gina and said goodbye to her after that. I was feeling really tired but much better than I had been. This fight is coming up quick!


Mark and I are sitting here at the airport waiting for our plane, the flight was delayed an hour. I'm feeling the best that I have in the past 2 weeks, although I am still a bit congested. Sunday night I fell asleep at 1AM and woke up at 4:30AM. I was wide awake and full of energy for some reason. I felt as if someone had slipped me some PCP in my sleep or something. I even thought about getting up and going for a run and then decided against it. I tried to go back to sleep but just ended up lying in bed until 8. I went and did some rehab with Bob and then headed over to Warrior. For some weird reason I felt really good, like unnaturally good. I did my sprints and felt so good that I actually made them even harder than normal. I did about 7 rounds of mitts with Mike and still felt great. Afterward I headed over to Mark's and all of a sudden it felt as if someone pulled my plug. I felt like I could barely move. I was going to lay down for a minute but I knew that if I did I wouldn't ever get back up. Instead I just tried to relax and do nothing. I had to be at Toddy's at 4 and I had no idea how I was going to get through it. Finally I headed over there and got warmed p. I felt so dizzy and just out of it. After I got a sweat going I actually felt OK. I hit pads pretty good and then headed to the spa after, which was amazing. Rhonda came by so that she could laser my hand and knee. We went to eat at Simon, this restaurant in the Palms. It was so good! Too bad I could only eat fish and veggies. I've actually been feeling pretty good on my diet. Normally I'm craving sweets all the time and feeling starved but I've been feeling pretty good this time. I guess it's because it's such short notice and the fact that it's been my goal to win this belt forever now. I got some really good sleep last night and I felt like I could have slept all day long. My body is just spent. I had to go in and do sprints after I did laser with Bob. The sprints weren't too bad. At first I did the normal set but then I bumped it up like I did on Monday. I got my heart rate up to 187bpm. I'm not sure when your heart will finally just explode but I had to be close ha. I did some technique mitts with Mark and then clinched with Chaz for a few rounds. I was feeling really sharp and ready to go. I was glad to finally be finished with my training. Now it's just a waiting game until the fight and I gotta get the rest of this weight off. The only time that I really get hungry is when I'm bored, which I know I will be on this long ass flight. Oh well, I gotta eat. Airplane food is probably the worst thing for you when you're trying to lose weight but that's OK. I'll just weigh what I weigh and cut what I gotta cut, no point in stressing over it. I was 144 this morning so no matter what it won't be too bad. The hotel we are staying at has a spa so we won't have to go anywhere when it's time to cut. My brother came over last night and we did my hair. Once again I didn't have a clear idea of what exactly I wanted and once again it almost ended in disaster. I mean it will never be a total loss cause I can always shave it all off, but I didn't want to. I had a relative idea of what I wanted but once we started cutting it, it wasn't going the way that I thought that it would. I didn't want anything too stupid looking. I mean I like to do my hair crazy but I also like it to look good, plus this is the biggest fight of my life and the way you feel is 90% of the fight. If you're not comfortable in the way you look than you will not fight the way you could. So I ended up with a fat black, blueish mohawk. At first I didn't like it but it's growing on me. So now we're just sitting here at the airport waiting for our plane. It's crazy to think that just a week and a half ago I was contemplating giving up Muay Thai all together and completely focusing on MMA, not that I could ever give up Muay Thai. I mean I will always take fights but to continue putting 100% of myself into it was the question. Now I'm on my way to China to fight for the WBC title, something that I've wanted for years, crazy how things work out. I just think how easy it could have been to turn down this fight because of the circumstances and then someone else would be in my place. It's pretty crazy to think about. No matter what happens I am grateful and will have no regrets, I'm living my dream.... Well I'm sitting on the plane to China getting ready to take off. Mark and I are sitting in different aisles and we both have middle seats, sucks! Oh well, once again you just gotta work with what you got. Fortunately each seat has its own entertainment screen, just like the ones on Air China (which we are supposed to be on), so that will make some of the 14 hours go quicker. I have some Xanax which helps me sleep, although it does make me really groggy. Once again this all feels like a dream. Am I the one that's really doing this right now, is this really my life? Feels as if I'm watching a movie. I've been reading my aunt Cindy's book, Journey on the Crest, she wrote it while she was hiking from Mexico to Canada on the continental divide. It's funny cause I'm reading about what she did and it seems crazy to me yet I know at the same time that when people read about the things that I've done they think the same thing. Hopefully one day I will put all of my writings into a book, people seem to really enjoy them for some reason. I guess that's a big motivator for me to constantly write my stories down. I'm feeling really good about this fight. I definitely know that it is what I am meant to be doing so what is there to be afraid of? I know that God has a plan and that He will guide me. There's no way that I could do any of this without Him. I am eternally grateful.... Well that flight wasn't too bad. I slept a lot, then watched a few movies and played some games. I did my best to eat healthy but it is airplane food so what are you gonna do. Sitting on the plane in Hong Kong about to fly to Beijing. It sucks cause on the flight over I watched on the map as we flew right over Beijing and thought, " Can you just drop us off?" It's all good though, only a two and a half hour flight back. Still not sure when the press conference is. Dennis said that they didn't give him a schedule so he didn't know either. I can't wait to get there. We've been taking the frog on tour, taking pics of him everywhere. I asked Gina to bring me one of those neck pillows when she came to say goodbye to me at the gym. Instead she shows up with this huge stuffed frog that's holding a heart with X's and O's on it. She also sprayed it with her perfume so it smells like her. She is nutty, although it is pretty funny. At first I wasn't going to take it because it's so big but I know that it meant a lot to her. Mark and I decided that we would take him on tour as if he was a real person and get photos of him in the seats and riding the escalator and stuff. I was pretty stiff when I got off of the plane but I stretched out for a bit at the airport and felt better.


Well we're finally here. All in all the flying wasn't too bad, other than my body getting really stiff and my shins swelling up. This hotel is crazy nice! I thought they might kick us out when we walked in ha. Checked my weight when we got to the room and I was 147.5, I gained 3.5 pounds on that damn plane. I started to worry a bit but I knew that they had a spa here. Part of me thought that maybe it was just like a massage place or something. If they don't have a sauna then I am screwed. The last thing I want to do is run this weight off, never doing that again. Fortunately I found out that they have a sauna, steam room as well as a Jacuzzi pool, and they are all really nice. We went over to the mall with Dennis and one of the other guys. Tried to find something that I could eat, everything looked and smelled so good. Finally found me a delicious salad, yum :) It was actually pretty good although it made me even hungrier. Mark had some nice beef dish that looked amazing. Headed back to the room and lay up. I took a shower in the super fancy bathroom we had. This room is like the ones the girls stayed at in Bangkok at that 5 star hotel they were in. The water in the shower came straight down from the ceiling, it was pretty cool, on top of a normal one out of the wall. After that we watched some Sumo on TV, which was awesome, then I passed out till about 11pm. I watched the end of Fracture and then fell asleep again till about 6 in the morning. Checked my weight and I was back down to 144.5, thank goodness! We gotta go to a rules meeting at 9 and then I think I will have from noon till 2 to cut weight. Not sure when we gotta get all dressed up fancy. I just want to weigh in and eat...Wow, this fight card is going to be amazing! Cutting weight was not fun! Haven't really had to in a while but this was such short notice so didn't have much choice. It wasn't too bad though, I can't complain. I did the ice bag, trick which makes it ten times easier to sit in a sauna. You just put a bunch of ice wrapped in a towel and then you can breath that cold air in instead of sucking down heat the entire time. One of the other fighters was in there for about 5 minutes and then said he couldn't take it anymore. I was cracking up. I did about an hour, not straight, and then went to the weigh ins. We show up at the press conference and I was blown away, it was a really big deal. They had this huge stage with a huge banner of the fight behind it. There were all these media and press people there that filled the room. They had these two long tables where all the fighters were going to sit with our names in front of our chair. I was thinking to myself, "Am I really the main event on this, is this really happening to me?" We all had to go in the back and wait for them to call us out for the weigh ins and then after that we were supposed to go get changed into our nice clothes for the press stuff. They didn't make us wait too long but I was starving and thirsty so it seemed to take forever. Finally they called my name. I walked out there and got on the scale. Ended up coming in at 137, 3 pounds light. I couldn't believe I had dropped that much. Guess I had misread our scale, damn kilo conversion. After that they had KangEn and I stare each other down so that they could take a few photos. He didn't seem to want to look me in the eyes. He was a lot smaller than I had thought he was going to be. I remember watching him fight Kongnapa and James and he looked a lot bigger. I also thought that his legs were going to be huge, well everyone's legs look huge compared to mine ha, but I still thought that they were going to be bigger. So after that we went in the back and got our fancy suits on. It was kinda cool to get all dressed up for this. I was so hungry but we had to get right back out there for the press. Scarfed a banana down and some Pedialyte. They had us all make a statement to everyone and then asked some random questions. I kept having Mark bring me up waters and apples and stuff to snack on. I was keeping everything under the table as best I could, I really didn't care. They had those freaking cough drops in a bowl like they were candy, just like when I was in Thailand. Is that an Asian thing or something? We finally finished the questions and then they had all of us take a bunch of photos. They had KangEn and I take a few with the belt. It was so funny cause he really didn't seem to want me to touch it. He kept pulling it toward him. I thought to myself, "Hold onto it as long as you can cause tomorrow it's mine!" So after that was all finally finished they had a bunch of fruit and snacks out in the lobby. Some of it was pretty good although they had these cookies which were horrendous. I remember we kept laughing about how bad they were. Finally we got to leave and get some rest. Went over to the mall and got some food. It was so good and I was stuffed. We went back to the hotel and rested for a bit but then we had to meet at 6:30 to go to the arena for a dress rehearsal, the last thing that I wanted to be doing. Oh well. So we end up going over there on one of those death buses that Anthony and I came to love so much last time we were here. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the arena. It was an unbelievable sight. It was at the Olympic center, so crazy to see all of the stadiums and things that they had built for the Olympics completely empty. They build all that stuff for that one event and then it just sits there doing nothing. It's very surreal to be around it, almost like a ghost town in the future or something, hard to describe. So we walk into the arena, felt as if I was going into the K1. There were lights and smoke everywhere, it was beautiful. They told me that it held about 6,000 people and that they expected it to be full and also there would be about 30 million people watching from all over the world. Insane! We had to do a rehearsal for the walk outs with all the affects and timing and things. Unfortunately they didn't really plan this out too much and it took forever. We had to go over it about 20 different times and it took almost 2 hours. It's going to be really cool though, we're coming up through the floor just like in the K1. It was frustrating but I was just trying to enjoy the whole thing. We finally got out of there around 9:30 and went back to the hotel. Mark and I walked over to get some food but couldn't really find anything so we went back to the room and ordered some room service. We had to go to the venue the next day at 11am, which was crazy to me, and the fights started at 3. I'm going to get up at 6 and get some food in me and then at 10 I'll try and pick something up to bring to the fights. I can't wait for this, just gotta enjoy every second because by this time tomorrow it will all be over with.
-Today's the day. Weighed myself before I went to bed last night and I was 152. I feel really good. Mark woke up at 6 this morning and I guess headed out to go site seeing around the city. I lay in bed until about 6:30 and then finally just decided to get up and get something to eat. They have the most unbelievable buffet here, it's enormous. Or maybe I just think that it is because I'm starving. It belongs in Vegas. I had a 4 egg omelet, fruit,yogurt,2 bowls of cereal, muffins, rolls, and juice. So good! Tried to come back to the room and sleep but I just lay in bed for a few hours. I know that this guy thinks that he's just gonna smash me out. I mean I only took this fight 10 days ago and he probably figures he can walk right through me. Well he's got another thing coming. I want this so bad. I know that God has a plan for me and no matter what things will go down the way that they were meant to. I just want to fight the way that I know I can. I know that I can beat this guy, even under these poor circumstances. I know that I belong here. Of course, like anyone else, doubts cross my mind but I know that there's nothing to worry about. What can man do to me? I was sitting at breakfast this morning, watching the sun rise over Beijing, and I had a realization; 7 years ago I was a full blown alcoholic with no direction, no future and heading to a dead end. Now here I sit in China, again, about to fight for the WBC title, how crazy is that? I started this journey just wanting to have at least one fight and now here I am on my 34th going after one of the biggest titles there is in this sport. It's amazing how you can change your entire life with one decision. You just have to go for it, no matter what. Realize that there's going to be bums and obstacles along the way. Nothing worth doing is ever easy but the harder it is the greater the reward. This is my dream and no one can ever take that away from me. I thank God everyday for giving me the strength and direction to do this. I know that I need to go out there and put my entire heart and soul into this fight. If I do that I will come out victorious.


Wow, where do I begin. We left for the venue around 11:30am, did my best to just relax on the bus and not work myself up. I was feeling really good, although a bit tired. We arrived around noon and they showed us to our dressing rooms. As we were coming in they were going over some of the production stuff, I could tell that this show was going to be amazing. Got in the back and just sat around and relaxed, think I actually fell asleep for a few minutes. We had about three hours to kill until the show started. Most of the fighters slept or at least tried to. Big Steve (Banks) was running around all over the place, he said that he had no idea how we could just sit there relaxing. It finally started getting close to show time so I started stretching out a bit and getting loose. Got my hands wrapped around 2:30, I like getting them done early so that I don’t have to rush and can just relax. Still makes me nervous about my hands though, even though Mark does a really great job wrapping them. About half an hour before the first fight we all had to go out for them to do that big intro production. It was actually really cool. Coming up through the floor and everything, reminded me of the K1 fights in Japan. The place was packed, a lot of military types there, think they all wanted to see me smashed. Just gives me more motivation. After that we all head to the back. The Japanese guy was up first, he was fighting Jomthong, WBC champ and all around bad ass, who’s only about 19 I think. I was using his gloves so I had to wait until after his fight to start hitting pads. There were only six fights so I knew that they could go fast. I thought the first fight would go pretty quick, especially seeing how much of an ass whooping the Japanese guy was taking (they had a TV monitor in our dressing room so that we could watch the fights). He actually managed to make it to the end, not sure how, it was brutal. He came in the back after, really beat up, I told him what a bad ass he was, he was still all smiles. Finally got my gloves on, Fairtex 8oz’s, mittens. I’ve fought in them before, they’re really nice but they make me nervous. The South African was up next, he had a really great fight. It was three rounds of toe to toe action. I was really impressed. He ended up taking the decision. Steve was up after that, he had this awesome pink gladiator skirt he was wearing. Quite a sight I must say. He fought a three round, K1 rules fight against this Chinese Judo guy. From the opening bell it was obvious that the guy had nothing for Steve, he was getting killed. He was tough though and kept trying even though he got dropped like ten times. Steve won easily. He ended up splitting his shin at some point during the fight but it wasn’t that bad. I really started warming up good after his fight. Hit some pads and got my first wind out. I felt great but the short notice on the fight and just having gotten over a cold was definitely noticeable. I knew that I was going to have to fight smart and pace myself. Mark told me to go out there and win the first round but not to go after as hard as I normally like to. Wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to keep myself from doing it. Edwin Aguilar, WBC Mexico champ, was up next. He had a San Shou fight against a really tall Chinese guy, not sure why he took this fight. He ended up losing a decision, just got thrown around the whole time. I only saw a little bit of it because I was finishing up getting ready. I was feeling confident and ready to put on a show. I knew I could beat this guy, just needed to stick to fighting smart and dictate the pace. I also knew that he was a really slick, smart fighter and he’s a southpaw, which may cause some issues. Finally Belarus was up next, he was fighting Lamsongkram, WBC/Radja/Lumpinee/S1 champ...bad ass. Not to mention the fact that he took the fight on a week’s notice, this would end badly. He was crazy but you had to respect him for that. Kicked pads for a few minutes more. Their fight actually lasted a bit longer than I thought it would have, he was tough. Lam was just way too much for him, put on a clinic, stopping him in the third. Finally I was up and once again I was extremely calm, too calm. It’s as if I’m not about to do what I’m about to do, it’s crazy. Tried to work myself up a bit to get some adrenaline going. They brought me to the right of the stage where I waited for my intro. They played a little video of me fighting first but the only problem was that it wasn’t me in the video. It ended up being a fight of one of Chaz’s friends, Chase, that had fought the same night as the video I had sent. I guess at first glance you could have confused it for me, didn’t really matter, made me laugh. Finally my music comes on, crazy in the head by three bad jacks, and they signal me to walk out. I was pumped up now, ready to go. The music, the crowd, the lights, it all got me going, it was amazing. Came up through the floor and made my way down the ramp, just soaking it all in. Said my prayer before jumping over the ropes, time to go to work. It was so unbelievably hot from all of the lights that the canvas was burning my feet. I didn’t mind the heat cause it keeps you nice and loose but my feet were killing me, like the asphalt in Vegas in the middle of the summer. I bowed to everyone and sealed the ring. KangEn in came out next and the crowd erupted. I could see it in his eyes that he thought he was going to walk right through me, he had another thing coming. Finally they bring us together in the center of the ring. The ref went over some instructions, not that I could understand a word of it. This was it, I’m fighting for the WBC title on the first ever WBC Muay Thai show in China, unreal. The bell sounds for round one and we come together in the middle of the ring. We both felt each other out, just pitter patter stuff. He throws a hard right uppercut left cross, I saw it coming and easily blocked it but it did have some pop to it. Started working my teep a lot, he was eating it every time. Threw a bunch of outside leg kicks, not too hard but they were fast. He didn’t seem to even come close to blocking them. He throws a strong left body kick, which fortunately my elbow blocked because it was hard. He bad really good eyes and could see a lot of what I was doing coming at him ahead of time. The first round was over and I was feeling good, no clear winner on that one. Mark told me a few things in the corner and told me to pick it up a bit this round. The second round was a lot more of the same, I started laying in with a bit more power and got to work on his body. We clinched up a few times and I was able to dump him on his ass easily each time. The ref would say something to me every time that I did, not sure what. I felt really good about that round but again it was close and it being his home country you just never know. The third round I really picked it up. Tried to start working my elbows in but his southpaw stance was really throwing me off. At one point we were clinched up and the ref came in to break us up, my hand got caught up in the ropes and it looked as if I was holding him. The ref started warning me and I pointed at the ropes to try and let him know that my hand was stuck. He then proceeded to take a point away from me, who knows why. I couldn’t believe it, they are going to try and steal this from me any way that they can. At the end of the round we were in the clinch near the ropes, I went to dump him and he fell right on top of me. My ankle snapped behind me with all our weights on it. I heard a loud ‘pop’ and felt a horrible pain, as well as in my knee, and yelled in agony. I was scared to try and get up because I thought I had blown my knee and my ankle out. I was thinking,”Oh hell no, not like this!” I got up limping, trying to hide it, he knew I was hurt and came right at me. Didn’t even have time to think about it and went right back at him. The end of the round sounded and I hobbled back to the corner, my ankle was on fire, it had to be broken. It was swelling badly in the corner, luckily my ankle guards kept some of that down. “I know it hurts but you gotta keep at him, push through the pain and don't stop using that right leg”, Mark tells me in the corner. He said that I really needed to win these last two rounds. I was really feeling my wind going toward the end of that round but I knew that I was just going to have to ignore it, dig deep and push through. I dropped him with a hard left hook at the beginning of the fourth, snapped his head around and he hit the floor. The ref just signaled for him to get up, no knockdown. WHAT THE HELL? I really started going after him following that, just putting it all out there. I could tell that I was really getting to him and he was exhausted. I was as well but I wasn’t going to quit until I was dead. My ankle was killing me. Managed to slam a hard left elbow off his head when he came in close, which swole his eye up immediately. Just putting pressure on my ankle was killing it so it was really hard for me to put any power into anything. I tried to do some of my fancy stuff instead but it was really difficult to get going and never landed anything clean. He was doing some dirty stuff, to top it all off, hit me when we were on the ground, kept holding the ropes, stuff like that. I was dumping him like a rag doll every chance that I got. For some reason I felt like Buakaw vs Masato 1, they gave him every chance in the world to win that fight. Going into the fifth my gas was gone but I just pushed through it and kept moving forward. I could feel my ankle bones moving around but I through a few hard kicks with it anyway, I knew that I would be paying for it afterward. I was really pushing the pace, running him down, he was spent. He had this look on his face like, ‘this isn’t supposed to be happening’. Kept pushing it until the final bell sounded. I went back to the corner and just wanted to pass out but Mark told me to take a lap around the ring letting everyone know that I had won. I took a lap, doing my best to ignore the shooting pain in my ankle and the exhaustion. Everyone was telling me that I had won but I didn’t think that there was any way they would give me the decision. They brought us together at the center of the ring, I just thanked God , no matter the outcome, for keeping us safe and allowing us to do what we love. The freaking announcer was already yelling KangEn’s name before they read the decision, as he had been during the entire fight. I knew that they were going to give it to him, but you never know. Finally they announced it, split decision in favor of him. Of course I was disappointed but at the same time I couldn’t be happier. Not only was I living my dream but I had just made history in fighting for the first WBC title fight ever in China, how could I possibly be upset. I mean unless I knocked him out or completely destroyed him there was no way that they were going to give it to me. Patrick, the WBC President guy, all the other fighters, Dennis and a few other dignitary types came up in the ring for photos. The first thing Patrick said to me was, “We’ll get you that belt back, you won that fight!” Lam and Jomthong came over and both told me the same thing ‘you won, you won’. It was OK, Mark was a little less understanding, he was heated. Dennis told me that he would set the rematch up in Vegas this summer. They had this confetti come out and something about it messed with my sinuses, I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t stop hacking, it was horrible. They actually announced right there that there would be a rematch in Vegas in July. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain, just wanted to lay down. We were in the ring for what seemed like forever taking pictures. Finally got out of there but then every single person in the audience, it seemed, wanted to get there picture with me. They were all telling me, in their own way, how great I was and how they had thought I won the fight. Part of me just wanted to go in the back but it makes me so happy to take pics with everyone. I know that there are so many fighters that won’t give fans the time of day. I finally made it to the back, everyone couldn’t stop talking about how badly I had gotten screwed. I really didn’t care, actually it seemed as if I was the only one that didn’t care. I mean once it’s over it’s over, no point in dwelling on it, on to the next one. Finally got all my gear off and put some ice on my ankle. It was so swollen and killing me, I couldn’t even walk on it anymore. Dennis came in the back and was apologizing to me and saying what a great job I had done. I told him it was no big deal, really. I know the score when you fight in someone else’s home town/country. We all took some pics together, we had a really great with each other, then headed to the bus. I tried to walk but it wasn’t really working. Steve had me jump on his back and carried me, although he was limping as well. I am so grateful that I get to travel the world, live my dream and meet so many wonderful people. We got back to the hotel and showered up. They took us all out to dinner, it was a lot of fun. Dennis got hammered and was walking to all the different tables making toasts. It was weird not drinking but at the same time really nice. I told Mark not to get mad at me, I hadn’t told him that I had quit drinking. “I don’t care homie, as long as we’re kicking it, it’s all good”, he says. Diner was awesome, all the Thai’s were hammered and singing, it was a lot of fun. They brought KangEn and I up in front of everyone saying how we had the fight of the night, even though it was controversial, and that we were going to have an even better one in Vegas. Everyone gave us a big round of applause, it was a great feeling. After dinner a bunch of us headed back to the hotel and Mark and a few others went out for a bit. I passed out the second I hit the pillow. I’m sitting here in LA waiting for our flight back to Vegas. The flights sucked so bad cause my ankle felt like it was going to explode. The guys wheeled me around the airport on one of those luggage cart things since we couldn’t find a wheel chair, it was fun, everyone was starring. They told us that they could get us one but we would have to wait. The last thing I wanted to do was wait. Once we got to LA we all said our goodbyes and took a few pictures, what a fun trip that was. I don’t think that it has really set in yet, everything that I have accomplished. The pain is definitely setting in though. It feels as if it were ran over, every time I try and take a step I can feel the bones, or something, moving around. I gotta go see Rhonda right when I get back and see what kinda damage I actual did to it.
Well I’ve been home for a week now and it has been interesting. It was so nice to finally get back here, especially after that long ass flight from China to LA, where we were surrounded by babies. Fortunately I was able to sleep for about 7 hours. The worst part was trying to deal with the pain. My ankle felt as if it was going to pop and both of my legs swelled up like sausages. For some reason every time we landed at a new at airport it seemed as if we were at the furthest end from the gate that we had to go to. Pain in the ass, and for some reason I always decided to decline the wheelchair, cause I didn’t feel like waiting. About about half way through the walk I really wish I hadn’t. I guess I just don’t like being needy or something. We got back to Vegas around 7pm and Chaz picked us up and dropped us off at the gym, where our cars were. We stopped in and said hello to everyone and then I headed to see Rhonda to have here look at my ankle. She took one look at it and said that she thought that it was broken. Obviously this sucked to hear but what can you do. You just got to stay positive and realize that things will work out. She got me this strap on cast thing and some crutches and set me up an appointment to get an X ray the next day. She told me to stay off of it as best I could until then and wrote me a script for some pain killers. Normally I don’t like to take meds but I was in tremendous pain. Went back home and relaxed for a bit, I was exhausted yet had a ton of energy at the same time. Dawn called me up and we went to Marie Calendar’s to pig out. We got eight different kinds of pie and half of a loaf of corn bread, which was about the size of a birthday cake, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Oh man, the pies were so freaking good, and the corn bread, DAMN!!!!! We hung out for a bit then I went home and passed out. Rhonda didn’t want me driving, luckily Dawn was able to take me to get my X rays. Using crutches really sucks and they’re painful, I felt like a cripple. It’s definitely something that I pray I will never have to really deal with for any length of time. So I got my X ray, went home and waited for Rhonda to call me with the results. I knew that my ankle was jacked, just didn’t know how badly. I mean it could be the difference between a few weeks or a few months of healing. I really didn’t think that if it was broken it was too bad cause I was able to gimp on it a bit, although it was extremely painful. I was messing around online and Mark sent me a message telling me to go look at the WBC Muay Thai page. They had this great write up about the fight. It said that it was a controversial decision and that the rematch would be in Vegas this summer. To my surprise I found out that the reason the ref took a point away from me is that he said I was ‘arguing’ with him. I couldn’t believe it. He had been warning me of something, in Chinese, then I tried to let him know my hand was stuck and he takes this as ‘arguing’ and takes a point from me, unbelievable. I knew that they would do anything they could to take it from me. I’m glad though cause now I get to rematch him in my town and he’s going to have a rude awakening. He thought that it was a tough fight with me this time and I only trained for a week. Just wait until I have a full camp, I’m going to make him wish he never stepped foot in the ring with me. I don’t want to just knock him out, anyone can get knocked out and just say that they got caught. No, I want to destroy him so badly that he just can’t take it anymore and says ‘no mas’. There’s nothing better than beating someone up so badly that they just can’t take it anymore and quit. Plus I get to do it in front of all of my family and friends and it’s 2 days before my birthday. What more could you ask for. So Rhonda calls me, sounding very excited, telling that nothing was broken. I couldn’t believe it. I guess I didn’t sound ecstatic and she asked me why I wasn’t happier. It’s just that I’m not really the type of person that worries about anything. If it was broke than it was broke and I would deal with it, if not than that’s great. I know that no matter what God is in control and that He will get me through anything. So she tells me that she wants me to start rehab everyday with Bob (Donatelli), to try and stay off of it for at least two weeks and then we will see where it’s at. She set me up an appointment with Bob in the morning. Surprisingly I didn’t feel jet lagged at all and my sleep was good. Went to Bob’s in the morning, he put me on the laser for half an hour and then had me bike for twenty minutes to get the blood flowing. Every five minutes he had me change how far I was from the pedals so that it would stretch my ankle out. It was a bit painful but not too bad. He said that we would do this every day until it gets a bit stronger and then we could move on to other things. Hassim Rockman was in there rehabbing his shoulder. Had his little baby girl with him, who was so adorable. He’s freaking huge! I really was jonesing to go out and do things but the pain was really bad, especially when I tried to drive. I wasn’t even supposed to be but I didn’t want to bug people for rides every day. Had to stick my right leg in the passenger side, which was in this huge strap on boot cast thing, and drive with my left foot. Probably not the safest thing in the world but what could I do. So I wake up the next day in a tremendous amount of pain, it was unbearable. Felt like my ankle was tearing. I went in and saw Bob and he said that we would lay off of the bike for at least a week and just stick to the laser. I asked Rhonda if I needed to get an MRI too see if anything was torn and she said that we would wait until Monday and see how it was feeling. She didn’t want me to have to pay for anything unless I really needed to. Of course I decide to give up drinking when that’s the only thing I want to do right now. Friday morning I woke up in so much pain that I couldn’t even get out of bed. I had to call Bob up and tell him that I couldn’t make it down. So I take a bunch of pain killers and pass out. I woke up around five and all of a sudden the jet lag sets in. It felt as if everything hit me all at once, like a tidal wave. I laid on the couch and watched movies for a few hours then passed out. I slept until like 1pm the next day, still feeling exhausted. The swelling had really gone down but for some reason the more that it did the more it hurt. It was especially painful on the sides, it just has this tearing feeling every time that it moves. I don’t know what I’m going to do because sitting around all day long, getting fat, is driving me nuts. I’m gonna have to find some way to work out or I’m going to lose it. I’m seeing Rhonda Monday morning and she is going to let me know if I should go and get an MRI. I would feel better just knowing what the deal was, I want to fight so bad right now. It’s funny cause normally I would love to be able to just relax and do nothing but I guess when you’re forced to do something it makes all the difference. Someone posted the video of the fight online. Of course I hated watching it, as I do all my fights. They really screwed me though, he hit me when I was on the ground and when the ref was breaking us, like three different times, was constantly holding and clearly got dropped and there is no way you could take what happened as me arguing with the ref, freaking stupid. It’s crazy reading the article on the WBC website and realize that they are talking about me, very surreal. I don’t know if this is how most people feel but to me it’s the strangest thing in the world. I mean I think of myself watching Buakaw or Dekker’s and looking up to them and then I realize that there are people that look up to me in that same way, such a weird feeling. I just feel so blessed to be able to have a positive impact on so many people’s lives. I mean just being able to touch one person’s life is the greatest thing in the world. Knowing that I’ve touched countless is unreal. I just do my best to be true to myself and try and reach out to everyone that I can. I try and think what I would want from someone that I looked up to. I just want to make a positive impact, win or lose, and inspire people. I want to show people that you can go after your dreams and accomplish them no matter what your circumstances are. I mean I can’t even begin to imagine where I would be today if I never decided to quit drinking 7 years ago and go after my dream of becoming a fighter. Yes I do, I’d be dead. A choice to give up my lifestyle and go after something that seemed almost impossible to me. If you knew me back then and I told you that one day I was going to be fighting for a WBC title in China seven years from then you would have had me committed. It just goes to show you that no matter where you are in life, no matter your circumstances, your age, no matter how many obstacles stand in your way or how many people tell you that you can’t do it, you can do anything that you put your mind and heart to. Every second is another chance to turn it all around. No matter how many times that you fall or fail or how far away it seems, as long as you have a breath of life in your body you can still accomplish your dreams. I don’t think that there is any way to be truly happy in this life unless you are doing what you know you were meant to. Whether it’s fighting, art or something else that God guides me to, I will always go after what He puts in my heart. No amount of money or popularity will ever be able to pull me from that. I would rather be homeless and know that I’m doing what I was meant to than be a millionaire living a lie. I challenge you all to search your hearts, look deep inside, find out what it is that you truly want out of this life and go after it. We aren’t promised tomorrow, we aren’t even promised today, all you have is right now. No matter where you are at it is never too late to change. Face your fears, live your dreams!

-May God bless you all      

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