Once again I find myself in limbo in between fights, not knowing what to do. I had been hoping to be on this November 21st Lion Fight card in Connecticut, as that's what they had led me to believe, but no dice. I only took a week off after the Thompson fight and was right back on the grind getting ready. The next one I'm scheduled for now isn't until March 26th, rematch with Yamato for my title, but that's not for another 5 months...and it's already been 3. When I originally signed with Lion Fight and with Glory I had hoped my days of constantly searching for fights or having these long breaks in between was over...wrong! I'm still in the same boat I have always been. I think the worst part is that I never know how long my break will be so I get right back in the gym killing myself only to find out at the last minute that I'm not on a card. At least if I knew I could take a vacation or a break if I wanted to. Woosah! Oh well, just gotta figure out what I'm gonna do now, maybe head back to Thailand or something. Obviously I can get a fight there any day of the week, the problem is that I basically would need to decide right now because I need to be back in Vegas to spend Christmas with my mom and sisters. I always hesitate to go considering my luck traveling overseas, particularly Thailand. Not to say I haven't had as many injuries or health scares here in the states, guess it's just that much worse when you're in another country. I'd rather go there because I want to not because I don't have any other options. Kirian is still trying to get me on the S cup in Japan at the end of November, which would be ideal. I've always wanted to fight there as well as fight in the S cup. It's still up in the air though. The problem right now is that nothing is for certain, but then again I guess that's always the case. I really don't know what to do, I'm gambling no matter what I decide. I could keep training my ass off in hopes that something gets lined up but if it doesn't I'm going to lose my mind. I could just ease back on my training and then if something comes up I could get going again or I could completely stop, take a vacation and say screw it. I'm just stuck in the middle right now of what I want to do. I know that I need to stay active and sharp but anytime that I've tried to rush/force a fight something horrible has happened. At the same time I know that if I just decide to take a break the second I do something will come up. I'm heading up to Canada right now to do a seminar and then next weekend I'm getting flown out to make an appearance at this amateur tournament in Oklahoma, where Mark lives. We set up a seminar there as well. At least I got a few things to keep me busy. The people in Canada told me that they had to rent a church out to hold the seminar because so many people signed up that their gym wouldn't have been big enough to accommodate everyone, crazy! Blows me away. I honestly still feel like such a baby in this sport, like I just started, I guess I always will. Should be a good time at both. I have to fly to LA first, then Minnesota and then Saskatchewan I guess it's better than one long ass flight but I think it would be a lot shorter if we just flew straight. Unfortunately the only direct flight I would have had to stay an extra day and I need to get back home since I'm leaving again right away. Hopefully I'll be able to sleep most of the flights.
The seminar in Canada was amazing. It took about 12+ hours, between flights and layovers, to get there, which sucked. Arrived there around 9pm and I was so out of it. When I went through customs they asked what my purpose for traveling there was. I said vacation as usual just to avoid dealing with all the BS. Unfortunately I didn't know just how small Regina, Saskatchewan is and the guy says, “No one comes here on vacation.” Crap!!! He immediately starts in on all the questions and I didn't have many answers for him, which made it that much more suspicious. He sent me into a back room to wait for someone else to come in and question me further. There were two other guys waiting there as well. I was so out of it and exhausted. I started wondering if they were even going to let me in the country or if they would just stick me on a plane back home. Finally another customs guy comes in and questions the two other guys waiting. One of them was there for some random concert of a no name band. Apparently this guy just follows them around going to all their shows. He had been arrested once when he was younger for some weed so that's probably would flagged him. They eventually let him through. The next guy was a pastor from Uganda, I'm sure the whole Ebola scare is what got him held. That and the fact he didn't really have a lot of answers to their questioning about why he was there. Eventually they let him through as well. Seeing as how shady those two had been I figured I would easily get sent through. Finally it was my turn and the questioning begins. He didn't seem to like any of my answers and was very confused about what I was doing there. I was trying to be as friendly as possible but my exhaustion was making my patience run thin. I started coming to terms with the fact that they might not let me in. He tells me to wait there for a bit and he would be back. I sat there along for a while and eventually the first customs guy comes in. He asks what I was still doing there to which I didn't have an answer. He asks me if I had ever been arrested before to which I tell him about a time I had been put in jail overnight for drunk and disorderly. He says, “Yea that's probably it, I'll go and see what the hold up is.” The 2nd guy finally comes back, he tells me that he had gone out front and talked to Craig and Tammy, owners of the gym who were there to pick me up, and cleared everything up. He tells me that I should have gotten a work visa ahead of time and this would have gone a lot smoother. He says that he could do it now but since I was only there for a day, and the fact that he just didn't feel like taking the time to do it, that it was no big deal. He gave me some paperwork in case I came back again and sent me through. Thank goodness! I get through customs and Tammy and Craig, who are both extremely friendly and nice, are sitting there waiting for me. They were very apologetic about the situation and said they had no idea since they had never brought anyone out before. I was exhausted and starving. They took me to this nice spot where I grubbed on a big steak, it was so good. Fortunately the hotel was really close by. They dropped me off and told me to hit them up in the morning and we could grab some breakfast before the seminar. Went up to my room, which got upgraded to a suite since they had extra room, it was like a little apartment. There was a gift basket and thank you card from Craig and Tammy waiting for me, so nice of them. It said how thankful they were that I was out there and how much they, and everyone else, was looking forward to the seminar. The basket had a bunch of snacks and drinks. I was so exhausted, luckily I was able to pass out right away. Got up the next day around 10 and hoped in the shower. Craig picked me up at 11 and we headed to get some breakfast. The first place was packed so we went a little further down the street to another spot. It was busy too but we were able to get a table after about 15 minutes. Had a nice breakfast and we sat and talked for a while. Craig seemed like a really down to earth guy who had a good mindset when it came to teaching, which was refreshing. Finally we finished and headed to the church where the seminar was being held. When we arrived I was blown away at just how many people were there. As soon as we walked in the whole place erupts into applause. It definitely made me feel good, and embarrassed as usual. I talked for a bit with one of Craig's students, who had just been through ACL surgery and was trying to get back in the ring. I gave him some advice on some things that really helped me out and told him to keep his head up. The seminar went really great, everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was a bit tough teaching so many people, had over 60, and trying to get around to everyone. As most seminars go the time flew by. Afterward we all got a big group shot then did single shots with everyone who wanted one. Said goodbye to everyone and then Craig dropped me back at my hotel. He was going to come back in get me in about an hour for this after party/dinner thing they had set up, which was right down the road. I was pretty exhausted but also starving. Grabbed a shower quick and lay down for a minute. When Craig picked me up he told me not to feel obligated to hang out as he knew how tired I was. I told him I was happy to go but I would let him know how I was feeling as the night went on. They had reserved the upstairs at this restaurant/bar. There was a big long table with about 15-20 people from the seminar already there as well as a big screen TV with the game on. We all hung out and ate, most people drinking a bit and having a good time. Fortunately Craig and Tammy were pretty tired as well so we didn't stay long after we were all done eating. Said goodbye to everyone and thanks them and they dropped me back at my hotel. It was only about 10pm but I felt as if it were 2 in the morning. I was going to train both Craig and Tammy the next day before they had to take me to the airport. When I finally got to my room and lay down I was so exhausted that could barely see yet I had the hardest time falling sleep. Typical! Got up in the morning, showered and packed all my stuff up. They picked me up and we went to this nice little breakfast spot. Afterward we went to their gym, which was a great little spot. A breath of fresh air seeing a gym solely dedicated to Muay Thai. I did about half hour with each of them one on one and then had them do drills together for another hour. After we finished up they drove me to the airport. We said goodbye and they thanked me for a wonderful seminar and told me how much everyone loved it and that they would definitely have me back out. Fortunately for me the flights home didn't take as long as it had coming up there. We went from Regina to Minnesota to Salt Lake City to home, much quicker. I was such a zombie though, felt like I had been on autopilot since flying out there. Got a good few days of training in once I was back. Still no word on Japan but I kicked my training into full gear just in case. Had to fly right back out to Oklahoma City that Friday. As soon as I landed there I got a text from Kirian letting me know that I'd be in the S Cup tournament, which definitely surprised me. I knew they wanted an American, just not one that had any possibility of winning ha. Thought they would just give me a super fight or something. I was definitely happy and excited. Part of me wished I had at least brought my running shoes yet at the same time I knew how crazy and rushed this weekend would be and I doubt I would have found time to get a run in. On top of the fact that I really could use a few days off. Heather picked me up from the airport and then we drove about 30-45 minutes to the venue the Glory fights were being held. Exhausted and starving, and now I really had to be good on what I ate since I'd be fighting in 3 weeks. The fights were amazing yet it was depressing because there was probably only about 500 people there, if that. It was depressing. Not sure why they held it so far out of town. They gave me VIP seats along with a pass to the after party, not that I would go. Met a bunch of guys from Mark's gym, who were also sitting in the same section. Funny part is one of the guy's names was Ty, or at least that's what I thought he had said. And Ty is also the name of the guy who brought me out for the amateur fights, so I assumed that's who he was. The entire time we were hanging out things just seemed off because he was asking me about the fights and the seminar and in my head I was thinking, “How the hell should I know, you're the one who brought me out” hahaha. He even called me as he was sitting right next to me so I had assumed he just pocket dialed me. It wasn't until later that night that I realized it was a completely different person. During the prelims they were all hungry to so we all went and got a bite to eat at this little dinner inside the hotel. Everyone was chowing down on burgers and greasy ass food, I had to settle for a veggie omelet, tragic. We ate quick and made it back by the time the main card was getting started. So many people were coming up to me asking for pictures. It really blew me away, always does. Corley was there, guess he had a guy on the under card who already fought. We chatted for a bit and then I went and sat down to watch the rest of the fights. They were all really good, particularly the main event between Kiria and Van Roosmalen. They were killing each other, not sure how either one of them was able to walk afterward. I was so exhausted, damn near passing out. After the fights finished up Heather and I bounced out of there and I drove us to the hotel. At first she said the hotel was only 30 minutes away but after mapping it out it was closer to an hour and a half. It was brutal. We got there about midnight and there was some confusion on her room as well as they were having issues with mind. Mark wasn't going to make it till the next day so they gave his room to someone else. Eventually they got mine cleared up but I waited till she got hers squared away till I went to crash out. Luckily I was out the second my head hit the pillow. Ty told me that he would pick me up in the morning so that we could have breakfast and then go to the fights. I got up and grabbed a shower then got a text from Ty telling me he was in the hospital, had some heart issues but was ok, so he wouldn't be able to pick me up. He let me know he'd make sure someone would come and get me. I figured whoever it was we could stop on the way and grab some food but when I saw who it was my dreams of food were shattered. It was an older lady with her 2 grand kids. Last thing I was going to do was ask them to stop for me. Guess I'll just starve. The fights were being held in this big auditorium, think it was at a high school. I met Ty's wife when we went inside. She told me how sorry Ty was, which I laughed at. Obviously it's not his fault and it was really no big deal. She showed me over to the judges table where they were going to have me sit and watch the fights. Bryan Carrol was there judging. Great to finally meet and hang out with him. Sat there for 10 hours straight watching fights, fortunately at one point Bryan had his girl run out and pick us up some Subway. I would have eaten out of the garbage at that point. I was dying for a coffee too but settled for a Xyience eventually. Mark was there, great to finally see him, he had a few guys fighting throughout the day. The fights were decent all around, there were even a few really good ones. Finally they stopped the fights at 7 and were going to finish the rest the next day. When we originally set up the seminar I hadn't thought about the fact that they would be after a long ass day of fights, and the fact there was another long ass day tomorrow. I was exhausted, I couldn't imagine how tired the people who had fought were. I couldn't believe how many people not only stayed to take it but seemed genuinely happy and excited. I felt so bad, wanted to give them as much as I could yet at the same time not keep them there all night. Told them that next time we would plan this all a little better. After we finished up we got some photos, I thanked everyone for coming and then a guy that trains with Mark, Raider, gave us both a ride back to the hotel. I headed up to my room and grabbed a shower, I was so starving. Hit Mark up to see if he wanted to get something to eat but after a while I decided to head out. Bryan happened to be across the street at the Ihop with his girl so he told me to join them. I didn't want to impose but they insisted. It was nice hanging with them, he was cracking me up the entire time. Had the waitress thinking I was someone famous. I said everyone's famous, just depends who you are standing next to. Bought them dinner, which he was mad at saying I was his guest, ha. I'm the one who intruded on you. Thanked them for letting me join them and headed back to my room. Had a much harder time falling asleep that night, my brain and body were just fried, which is surprising because all I did was sit around all day watching fights. Guess that in itself is pretty exhausting. Got up at 8, showered, then went and had breakfast with Bryan at the same Ihop again. He insisted on paying this time. Went to day 2 of the tournament after that. You could tell everyone was worn out but again the fights were all pretty good. They were down to all the championship fights this time. They were having me give everyone their belts after they won so every fight I was hoping in and out of the ring. At least I was getting some exercise haha. It was really great being around all that again, brought me back to when I first started. The hunger and fire in everyone's eyes, it was refreshing. Day 2 went till about 4. I had seen literally over 100 fights over the past 3 days. You would think I'd be sick of fighting by now but nope, just sick of sitting. Once again Corley reffed almost every single fight, I don't know how he did it. He and his guys had about an 8 hour drive back to Texas afterward as well. Finally finished up, thanked everyone for having me after taking pictures with everyone who wanted them. Raider, who was clocking about 100mph the entire time ha, gave Mark and I a ride back to his place. We stopped at this spot on the way back to eat. They had seen in on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, which was great for them because they got to get some amazing food. Unfortunately for me I gotta drop some weight. Still had a nice pork chop and a salad which were pretty amazing. Thanked Raider and said goodbye and then Mark and I chilled at his spot for a while. I was starting to get hungry again but what the hell was I going to eat. Mark had to head to the store anyway so I asked him to grab some bananas so I could make protein pancakes, which he had never heard of. I knew if I didn't make something that I was going to have to starve because the only thing open was fast food. Unfortunately Mark didn't exactly have a flat pan to make them in. His was all warped out so they kept running together. Ended up almost being like scrambled eggs in the end, all mashed up haha, but was actually pretty damn good. Mark crashed out pretty early, I stayed up for a bit watching some movies. I was exhausted as usual but when I tried laying down to sleep I wasn't able to, typical. I had to get up at 5 so I could grab a shower before he had to take me to the airport in time. I was debating just staying up but I think around 3 I was able to finally fall asleep. Got to the airport with plenty of time. Thanked Mark, he said he would try and get a rush on his passport so that he could go to Japan with me but didn't know if he'd be able to. Flight home was ok, anything's better than the Canada trip. Training's been great, I'm just wrecked. I mean I was getting ready to take a break right before this fight came up because I had been so burned out. Either way I'm happy something came up. Found out Pornsanae is in the tournament as well, which is crazy because he normally fights way lighter. I'm just hoping they don't put us together, I don't think I could do it, I just wouldn't feel right about it, on top of the fact it's not exactly for a lot of money or anything big. Fortunately I found out that they put us on opposite sides of the bracket which means the only way we would face is if we both make it to the finals. That's a relief. Chaz is going to go out there with me because Mark wasn't able to get his passport in time and Kirian has to stay home because Zoila is fighting for a title 5 days after me. Told him not to even worry about it, as he felt bad, I'm pretty easy when it comes to fights. I came up having Thai guys, who barely spoke English, screaming at me in the corner. I learned a long time ago to be self sufficient in there. I drew Michihiro Omigawa, Judo black belt who has fought in the UFC several times, for the first round. The only guy who won't actually be a real stand up fight I get, figures ha. Wouldn't expect nothing less. I'm sure it will end up being more of an MMA fight with him just trying to rush in and grab me the entire time. I just need to keep my distance and pick him apart, if I can. I'm taking tomorrow off, I'm so beyond fried out. I've been going down to help Gil (Martinez) once a week for the past 6 helping him get ready for his title fight against Pettis. He's been looking really good. Came a long way in a short amount of time. Just trying to get him to add a few things in to his arsenal so it's not just that brawling style, which he's great at. Anthony just has such good timing and vision that it will play into his game. If he can just add a few feints and some kicks it will add a whole other dimension to his game. Either way it should be a great fight. It's always crazy helping, and being friends with, these guys that I used to always watch fight coming up. I guess people think the same thing about me at times so I can see how they feel. My life always seems so normal to me but it's not till I take a step back that I realize just how crazy, compared to most, that it is. Amazing the direction your life can take, good or bad. Thankfully my weights been real good. The fights at 143 and I've been around 155, cake. I just wanted to make it as easy as possible seeing as how it's all the way in Japan and I won't be able to have my usual routine.
I woke up Thursday morning and I was just done. I wasn't all that sore but my body was just gone, completely dead, flat. I seriously contemplated staying in bed but eventually got my ass up. Felt like a zombie when I was doing mits with RJ. I was just useless. We finished up around 10:20 so I had about 40 minutes until it was time to start conditioning with Kirian, assuming he showed up on time. I tried to move around a little and do some bag work so that way I didn't cool off too much but it was pointless. I had nothing. I was so close to calling Kirian and telling him there was no way that I could do this, I just didn't see the point. I just couldn’t bitch out and live with myself though. I was going to push myself regardless. Who gives a shit how I really feel. He showed up at 11 and we got started about 15 minutes later. I felt as if I would black out at any minute and we hadn't even started. He was putting me through the 'Ghost' workout. 1 minute rower, 1 minute burpees and 1 minute double unders (jump rope) going as hard as you can throughout, and 1 minute rest in between rounds. My legs were already so shot from the sprints I had done this week. I tried to push it as hard as I could but my body just wasn't having it. I was still how well I did considering how I felt. I finished up, went home, showered and threw myself into bed. I wasn't able to pass out but what else is new. I went back to the gym at 3:30 so I could stretch out for a bit before training. Kirian was hurting pretty bad so he told me he didn't know if he would be able to hold pads for me. I told him not to even worry about it either way. Eddie showed up at 5 and we hit a run. I could barely move. We did the 2 mile creek run and then I stopped by the gym to see how Kirian was feeling. When I asked I could see the look on his face before he even said anything. Told him not to even stress, I was just going to run some more and then Eddie and I would work. Not sure if I would have been able to do anything worthwhile anyway. Eddie and I hit another mile then did some technique sparring. Diego joined us towards the end. I was fried out beyond words. Just prayed that I would be able to rest up and feel better tomorrow.
-I took the morning off and tried to sleep in. Still ending up waking up early but lay in bed till noon. I felt even more dead than I had been yesterday, damnit, and I still had sprints to do tonight. My body and brain are just screaming at me to stay in bed and take the whole day off but I just can't bring myself to do that. If I had more time to get ready for this fight I probably would but I'm only 2 weeks out and I gotta get in what I can. I had no idea how I was going to get through these sprints. My legs were completely shot, along with everything else, I was having a hard enough time just walking. Just warming up was pretty rough but once I got going I actually didn't feel that bad. I was wrecked after I finished however and still had pads with RJ. I told him that we could just go easy but as usual as soon as I get going I can't hold myself back. Afterwords I did some technical sparring with Eddie, Zoila and Diego. I'm so beyond fried out. Again I hoped that I would be able to get a good nights rest and be able to push it hard on Saturday. I've actually been sleeping rather well for a while now, ever since I moved out here actually. Not that I feel all that much better from it but it's still been a nice change.
-I woke up today(Saturday) again feeling even more exhausted than I had been yesterday. It's as if everyday just get's stacked on top of the previous and I continually break down more and more. I was so done when I woke up Thursday morning, don't even know what I am now. I had wanted to get in some shark tank rounds in today. Kirian was driving up north for Zach's title fight to corner him but said he would get some guys to come in and work with me. I got to the gym around 10 to get stretched out before I was going to run the hill. At 10:20 Kirian texts me saying Diego can't it until 1:30 so that's when we will get started. Well shit! Would have been nice to know that before I was already here. What the hell was I going to do until then? Oh well. Take my sweet time running, maybe do some bag work and then some technique with Eddie till then. I hit the hill run at 11:15, my poor legs were like Jello. How the hell was I going to get through this shark tank? I pushed the run as best I could. Usually, no matter how shot I feel, by half way in to it I start loosening up and feeling a lot better. That wasn't the case today. I just felt worse and worse as the miles went on. I just had no energy, useless. Got back to the gym around 12 and Eddie was there doing some bag work. I contemplated just leaving so many times but then I would say, “Screw it”, start shadow boxing and moving around but then I would just crash. Crap! I almost hit the guys up and told them to not even bother coming down but then I would think about how I will probably feel just as bad, if not worse, during the tournament. I have to push through regardless so if I don't do it now what makes me think I will be able to do it then. Woosah! Eddie and I started doing some light technique around 1 and then Diego and Bryan rolled in 20 minutes later. I always know I can get through work outs regardless of how awful I am feeling but I don't ever want to just get through them, I want to crush them. Most people get broken in shark tank but it's always my goal to try and make everyone in it want to quit, as opposed to the other way around. Today that wasn't even on my mind. I just wanted to push myself as much as hard as I could. Diego's leg has been jacked up for a while now, thanks to Gaston smashing it in. We were doing 1 minute of me pushing the action, 1 minute of me being defensive and 1 minute clinch. I told Diego to alternate on the last 2 because I knew if I was going all out I would end up kicking his leg off. I still ended up cracking it a few times unfortunately. I was able to push myself pretty good, and my recover level was decent. My body was useless though. Either way I'm happy that I gutted it out. I'm so wrecked now though, beyond! Long ass week, happy it's over. Did an Epsom salt bath when I got home in hopes that it would make me feel better, which it did, a bit. Grabbed some food and then crashed. I'm a zombie. Woosah!!!
Got some good rest and good food over the weekend, all healthy. Feeling a lot better now but my weight shot up about 5 pounds. I was 158 this morning. Freaked me out a bit but I know that it's mostly water retention and will come off easily. I slept in till about 1. I was going to get up and hit a run at the gym but I had to give Teresa a ride to Bart at 1:30. I hit one afterwords though. Just hit 5 miles. My body, especially my legs, were feeling pretty tight but thankfully they loosened up towards the end. Kirian got me in with Mike Swain, 5 time Olympian/Judo world champion, to help me with some Judo stuff. He teaches at San Jose state so I had to leave here at 5 to make it there in time to watch his class at 6:30. Traffic wasn't too bad most of the way there but got pretty bad once I got close to the city. Once I got there I had no clue where I was supposed to park because I didn't know where exactly his building was. I kept driving in circles looking for a spot that I hoped would be close. Finally I found a parking garage for students/visitors, finding his building was another story. I didn't realize how big of a campus it was. I looked up the map on my phone but it was pretty hard to read. They had a bunch of construction going on as well so every time it seemed like I was going the right way I'd hit a dead end and have to reroute. At first I thought I was going to be early but the more time went on I wondered if I would ever find the place. There were hardly any people walking around so it wasn't like I could ask anyone for directions. Finally somehow found the building after walking for what seemed like forever. Next step in this was finding which room they were in. Again it took forever but I finally found it. Mike came up and introduced himself, really nice guy. We talked for a bit, told him who I was fighting, what my background was and what it is I was really looking to do. I really just wanted some basic stuff, set ups they use and hand position. It's not as if I had the time to really delve deep into the sport. Fortunately a lot of the fundamentals in the Muay Thai clinch go across the board, wrestling/jiu jitsu/etc. He told me to just have a seat and watch the end of class and then he would go over some stuff with me. It was fun to sit back and watch the class. There's was probably about 50 students in there, all different levels. After they finished up Mike had me work with 2 of his high level/black belts. Did a round or 2 with each of them. Think I took them by surprise because I was not only able to hang, but also able to sweep them a few times. I could tell they were slightly annoyed by it but then afterwords we were talking and I told them I was a Muay Thai fighter and they were like, “Oh, that explains it” hahaha. I think they thought I was just some random MMA fighter or something. Had a good time. Unfortunately Mike never received the videos of my opponent from Kirian so it was hard for him to give me any specific instruction but what we went over was more than enough. Might try and get in with him again before I leave if I can. Driving all the way out there and back is just rough though but gotta do what you gotta do.
Yesterday morning I got to the gym and was so close to leaving. My energy just plummeted the second I walked in the door and only got worse as time went by. I was debating on just going home because I was supposed to do sprints and felt they would do more harm than good. I finally decided that I would just do a 3 mile run. My body was so done, there's no way I could have done them. It was a miracle I even got through the 3 miles. It felt as if my body was full of lead. Finally finished and was glad that I had at least done something. It's always such a delicate balance in pushing yourself past the pain and over doing it. I tend to mostly over do it ha, but over the years have been getting better and better at listening to my body. It's still a battle. I was so wrecked after just that. Went home and once again couldn't sleep. Still nice to just rest though. I had pads with RJ at 5, felt so awful but my technique was feeling good. Did some sparring with everyone after that. My vision is what really bee on point. I'm just able to see everything coming a mile away. I was had to do my sprints afterwords since I skipped them this morning. Didn't know how I would manage. “Don't act like a bitch”, that's how. As awful as my body was feeling and as out of it as I was I actually crushed those sprints. My cardio felt amazing, probably the best I've ever felt. Did the last set at 13.5/14, my shoes were melting. I was like the walking dead afterwords though. Went home, had my rabbit food and just zombie moded on my bed. It was a rough day physically but emotionally/mentally more than anything. I just couldn't shake Gatti (found out the other day that he may have cancer and it's in a spot that it would do more harm then good even just testing it). I was on the verge of breaking down all day. I slept good last night but the days are just piling up on top of each other and I feel like I'm just getting further and further into a hole, never fully recovering. I'm sure that a big part of it is the fact that I'm dropping weight and not eating much but I really don't want to have to cut much in Japan. I did pads with RJ at 10, felt ok, just out of it and my body is fried. My technique is on point though and my right hand feels the best it ever has. Why can't I feel this good when I actually have energy? Everything's so backwards in life. Kirian got the the gym at 11 and put me through 'fight gone bad'. I knew it would be rough considering how shot my body was but I'm gona bust my ass regardless. My arms and legs were so done before we even started and that's pretty much what every exercise in that damn work out uses. It was only supposed to be 3 rounds but I ain't no bitch so I did 4. My 4th round of it was actually my best. Went home and wasn't able to sleep once again, now I'm really out of it, feels like I'm dreaming. Stretched out and then Eddie and I hit a 5 mile run. I just couldn’t get moving but made it through. My hamstrings felt like they were going to pop at any moment and I felt as if I was on the verge of just blacking out. When I got started with Kirian there was just absolutely nothing left. I tried to push myself but I was gone. This mornings workout took everything I had left out of me. He stopped me after just 2 rounds and told me to save it for sparring. I sat down for a bit then tried to hit the bag. I was beyond done, couldn't even lift my arms or legs. Almost passed out. I'm done, I knew it was pointless to even bother. Stretched out and then went and saw Deanne to get a massage. I had a hard time even driving. I feel a bit better after she worked on my, just exhausted. Hope to feel better tomorrow because I have to spar Gil at 2, last day we work together. I was supposed to do sprints too but there's just no way. My weight should be way down. I was 10 out this morning.
Woke up on Friday feeling a little better, of course I don't think that I could have felt any worse. Allowed myself to have a but more food than normal, particularly carbs, as I need all the help that I can get. Get to Gil's an hour early so I could get a good stretch and warm up. It was like trying to get a semi truck up a giant hill in the middle of the winter. It just wasn't happening but I was there to help Gil so I had to suck it up. Michael (Manaquil) came in today as well to fill in for Ky, who had some work stuff. They did 2 rounds first and I did my best to stay loose and warm while they worked but it was tough. I did 3 rounds with him after they were done. I was still able to push myself considering how awful I felt and gave him some good work, just not as much as I wanted to. Showered, said my goodbye's and they all wished me luck in Japan. Hurried up and got on the road to try and beat the traffic but it was useless. There was an accident right before the bridge and caused a huge back up. This was going to take forever. I hit Eddie up to let him know I didn't know what time I would make it to the gym. I had planned on doing a little run at 5:30 then some light technique after that. Finally the traffic cleared way and I sped off and was able to get home at 4:30. Before I got home Eddie told me that he wasn't going to make it in. I had planned on just going to the gym and getting my run in and stuff but the second that I parked my car in front of my house it was as if every piece of my just shut down and I just sat there for a while starring off into space. Felt as if I might black out at any moment. I decided to just call it a day after that. Kirian, Gaston and Eddie weren't going in either so there wasn't much point. Went in my room and layed in bed. Got up after a while and tried to get some healthy food in me that would hopefully help me recover. I was supposed to hit with Kirian the next day at 12 and then do some shark tank rounds after that. My last hard day. Got a good nights sleep and again I was feeling slightly better, my weight was 152 thankfully, still good. Went to the gym and stretched out after I had a decent breakfast. Had planned on running outside but it was pouring so I just hit the treadmill, which I hate. Eddie was already there, he did some rounds with RJ as I got my run in. I was struggling. Not only did my legs feel like cement but my hamstrings felt like they were on the verge of snapping. Just did 3 miles. My legs felt a bit looser when I was done, just more shot. Eddie had to leave before we did anything. Told him not even to worry about it because I was useless. Didn't even know what I'd be able to do anyway. I just kept telling myself, “If you feel this way in the tournament you're going to have to deal with it so might as well get used to it now.” I was actually able push myself pretty good during pads. I was dead, my body was shot, but I was still sharp and powerful. We finished up at 12:30 then Kirian told me Bryan and Diego would be there at 1:30for shark tank. Damn! I gotta wait for an hour and then spar. How am I even going to get through this? Kirian said he was sorry that he miss timed it. He thought I was doing my run after our pad work. I almost told him that we should just do it on Monday instead but again, might as well suck it up now. He got me some Afterglow, chugged it down and then I got on the bike to hopefully stay loose until they arrived. I was so dead! I got on the treadmill after that and just walked. Diego got there about 1:15 so we started moving around a little. I was so out of it. I would try and get going but then just crash. How the hell was I going to do this? Bryan got there and joined us, still just light technique. Kirian finally got us all together and had Chris (new fighter at the gym) join us. He was just going to do the clinch parts with me since he's a lot bigger, basically just to hang on me and use his weight to tire me out. I knew Diego's leg was still really jacked up so I didn't want to hurt him but Kirian told me not to worry about it. We were going to do 3, 5 minute rounds. Spar, spar, pads, clinch, spar. I pushed it as hard as I could, my body felt like jello. It's designed to make you feel like shit but I was already starting out so far in the hole, not to mention the half hour of pads I had already done. Made it through and didn't do too terribly. No matter what you're going to feel awful. Finally done! Stretched out and went home. Showered, ate then threw myself into bed. I need a vacation damnit! Got as much rest as I could this weekend. My body is just done. I was 9 pounds out this morning, good! Started the water load today. Got to watch a few of Michihiro's fights today. Man, this is going to be annoying! Basically going to be an MMA fight. I just need to make sure I stay in the right mindset and don't let it take me out of my game. I just need to go in knowing what kind of fight it's going to be. I need to use fast hands and smash the hell out of his legs whenever I can. I don't want to allow myself to be ok with losing just because it's not my style of fight. I need to go in there to win this whole tournament, because I definitely can. I'm really looking forward to it. Once I get past him the rest of the tournament will really be stand up skill vs skill. Excited to be on a card with Pornsanae and Bovy, who I've always wanted to meet. I did an interview with Matt Lucas today. I'm so fried out, woosah! Still don't know if I'm going to do the K1 fight on New Years. I'm just stuck in the middle. I definitely could use a break yet at the same time my next fight isn't until the end of March. That's way too long. We'll see. Gina is supposed to come up here to visit me and check out the gym as soon as I get back.
Today was the last day of any real training. Surprisingly I was feeling good but tonight my body finally gave out. Monday I woke up 7.8 pounds out, which was a nice surprise. Went in to hit some sprints in the evening. Cardio still felt great but my hamstrings were still so tight that I only did 3, 3 minute rounds. No point in pushing it. I moved around a little after that then knocked out some exercises and bounced. I was so exhausted. Fortunately I haven't really been dealing with any bad food cravings like I normally do. Woke up today at the same, 150.8. Felt pretty good hitting with RJ although I was definitely starting to feel the weight cut. Did a 2 mile jog after we finished, which was probably the most difficult 2 miles of my life. Came home and tried to get some sleep but just lay there as usual. I was starting to feel pretty out of it but I was still motivated to train tonight. I did a mile run while waiting for Eddie and then we did another 2 once he got there. I was starting to shut down minute by minute. By the time we got back I was full on zombie mode. Did a few rounds with Kirian but I was literally useless. I decided to take the K1 fight. I just know that if I turn it down I will regret it. No matter how bad a fight as gone I have never regretted taking one, only passing them up. As nice as it would be to take a break I have to take fights whenever I can. I was so out of it after pads but Kirian had me do some judo work with Val and Joe. It was great but would have been a lot better if we had done this about a week ago when I wasn't dying. Called it a day after that. I still have to do my damn hair. Ugh!
Once I got home the other night and got something to eat I actually started feeling better. About half way through giving myself a hair cut I realized, “Aw crap, every other time you've done this you've actually had help.” I started to get a little worried. I was too late to have anyone help me so it was either going to work out or I would just hack it all off. I don't know how but it actually turned out pretty good. That's relief! It was still early so I figured that I might as well get the dye job finished as well so that I don't have to do it tomorrow. I thought this was going to be the easier part but I couldn't have been more wrong. Trying to put bleach patches only in certain parts, backwards in the mirror, isn't exactly easy. It was damn near impossible. Not only that I ended up having to do it twice because the first time didn't turn out light enough. Once again it somehow worked out. I scorched the back of my neck however. That hurt! I was able to get some ok sleep after that. Woke up the next day at 148.8, about 5 pounds out. Nice! I was so happy. Still feeling good. I had to get all packed up, go to the store, the gym and shave the sides of my head. As the day went on I was feeling a lot more drained but overall relatively good. Had to go to Whole Foods to get a few things for the trip. It was a mad house because of Thanksgiving. Luckily I was able to get what I needed and get out of there pretty quick. Got to the gym, stretched out and told Kirian, “Let's do the K1.” I was feeling kind of weak and dizzy. Definitely not as bad as I normally would be when I'm this light. Ronnie came in to train today, We hung out while stretching out and warming up. We were waiting on Eddie so we could all go on the run at 5. I was struggling but I started feeling better about half through the 3 miles. It was the slowest run of all time, not that it needed to be fast. I definitely wasn't going to move around with the guys after that. I didn't want to risk injuring myself. I just did 5 rounds on the bag, sort of. Basically just going through the motions and trying to keep sweating. I stretched and rolled out after I finished. My back was bugging me a bit from tweaking it out doing drills with Val. Said my thank you's and goodbye's to everyone. I was super emotional, as usual. Went home and showered. I still had to put the color in my hair, which was definitely easier than doing the bleach. I had to do the color twice as well. Finished the rest of my laundry and got all my packed up and then finally to bed. Woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep. What the hell? I was so exhausted. At 6:30 I decided to just get up. I still had to shower, shave, eat my rabbit food and get the last few things packed. I made some spinach and egg whites to take on the plane with me. I was 148.8 again, same as yesterday. Feeling good surprisingly. Git to the airport early because Chaz had landed there at 8 from Vegas and I didn't want him having to sit around by himself forever. Sitting on the plane now waiting to take off. Feeling good, tired and dehydrated but good. It's an 11 hour flight and they are 17 hours ahead so it will be about 3pm Friday when we land. I think the weigh ins are around 1 on Saturday. I don't think I will really have to cut much, if anything. I can't go to the sauna because I have tattoos, damn Yakuza ha. Think I just have a photo shoot to do Friday night and that's it. Really looking forward to this experience. Grateful that Chaz is with me. Stephanie gave me a bag last night with some presents in it. I opened it up when I got home and there was a card in there. The second I opened it I broke down just from looking at it. The entire thing was covered in notes from everyone in the gym. I was beyond emotional. She also gave me one of her favorite rosaries, and this little stuffed monkey haha. So blessed!
-Slept for the first 2 hours or so of the flight. I'm exhausted but I get to eat my rabbit food in a little bit. It will be my last meal until after weigh ins. Everyone was already eating their airplane food dinners. Can't say it was giving me any cravings fortunately. You couldn't pay me to eat that poison. Chaz was easting these habanero almonds however that I was dying for. We have a little more than 6 hours to go. Hopefully I will be able to crash back out.
Can't believe it's only 8pm here. I'm shot, feels like 4am. I was half out of it most of the flight so it wasn't that bad. I was just so uncomfortable and starving. Chaz was pretty much passed out the entire time. Lucky! I plan to do the same thing on the way back. We hit a few major bumps on the way. They must have been pretty bad to move this giant ass plane. Landed at 3pm and made it through customs pretty quickly, then got our bags. I just wanted to pass out. Got out front where there was a guy from Shoot boxing waiting for us. He said we would have about an hour drive to get to the Shoot boxing office where we had to stop by before going to the hotel. I tried to sleep but it just gave me a headache. It might have been the awful music that he was paying in his van. Think it was Disney radio or something ha. We got to the office and met one of the head guys. That guy Buakaw knocked out, Hiroki Shishido ,was there. Couldn't believe how small he was. Everyone was dressed in nice suits yet they all had on sandals with socks haha. The head guy told me that Yamato wanted to meet up with me on Sunday. I told him, “Of course, I'd be happy to. It will be good to see him.” He let me know that the weigh ins would be at noon tomorrow, which made me so happy, and the driver would pick us up at 11. There would be a press conference afterward at 1, which to me meant they would go quickly. We'll see. He gave me our per diem, 3,000 yen each(about 250$), which was a nice surprise because I didn't even know we were getting that. We headed back to the hotel, which was pretty close and really nice. It looked like there were quite a few places nearby to get something good to eat. Chaz and I had our own rooms. They were nice but super small and cramped. I unpacked all of my stuff and was going to pass out but I figured that I should at least bath out a little bit of weight. I was still 148.8. I figured either way it would make me feel better after all that travel. My suit and everything was super wrinkled, that carrying case didn't do much. I called down to ask for a iron, which took me forever to explain and then even longer to figure out how to use. Chaz was having issues with his internet and as nice as the hotel was no one really spoke much English, other than the maintenance guys, which seemed backwards. After I got all the wrinkles out of my suit I hit the bath. It was basically a deep sink, I had to sit in it. I had brought a little more than 4 cups of Epsom salt with me. I wanted to use enough to help me sweat but not too much in case tomorrow I needed it. If that happened I was going to have a hard time dropping any weight because this damn room has no heat and it's freezing and it's not like I can go to a sauna. What made it worse is the water didn't get very hot. It's always interesting. Fortunately once I got in it was hotter than I had thought and was able to start sweating quickly. It always worries me those first few minutes when nothing is happening and I start freaking out that I'm not going to be able to sweat. I couldn't really tell how much I was dropping, I just did 20 minutes in there. It was no picnic but wasn't too bad. I broke out in all these heat bumps on my chest and back from it. Freaked me out for a sec till I realized what it was from. I showered, dried off and was 66.5kg (146.6), so 3.3 pounds to go. That's a relief! If I can float a pound or two over night then I probably won't have to do anything tomorrow, which would be great. The bath did make me feel a lot better. Chaz had gone out and got sushi, which sounded amazing. Can't wait till I can eat. I heated up my oatmeal and prepped it for tomorrow. Not really sure why I did that tonight, it smells amazing and is killing me not to have it. I hope the weigh ins go smoother than most of ours do in the states. I need sleep! Feeling good though.
Well glad the hard part is over. Woke up this morning with 2 more pounds to go. Bummer. Still felt pretty good though and 2 is cake....mmmmmm cake. Decided to start the cut 9 just in case I needed the time. Slept ok last night but woke up at 5 and couldn't sleep any more. Stretched out a bit and then filled the tub up as hot as I could get it, which wasn't all that hot. I kept the bathroom door shut with a towel under it to try and keep the heat in. I used almost all of the Epsom salt I had left but saved a little just in case I had to do another session. I decided that about 15 minutes should do the trick. Started with 7 minutes fully submerged, 3 mostly legs and then the last 5 all the way under again. It wasn't too bad but those last few minutes I was beyond over it. I got out and just sat there for another 5 minutes or so as I continued sweating. Dried off and checked my weight, 143.3/65kg, perfect! Thank goodness. Emptied the tub and then showered off. I was actually feeling better than I had been when I woke up. I got all my stuff together and then lay up for a bit. Chaz came up to my room around 10:45 to help me grab all of my things. I got all my post weigh in food and drinks together and then we headed down. The driver was there but we were the first to show up. He had one of those giant tour buses to take us in. Told us we could get in and wait for everyone else if we wanted. Pornsanae, Kru Dam, so great seeing them again, Bovy (which is so surreal fighting on a card with him) and a few others got on a little after us. Eventually Souwer, Masab Amrani and their team got there but it wasn't until about 11:45 that everyone else arrived. I was exhausted but fortunately I didn't feel too badly. I tried to rest as we headed over to the weigh ins. It was raining and traffic was bad but fortunately it only took us about 20 minutes to get there. It was held at another big, nice hotel. We arrived just after 12. I was just hoping that things were better organized and ran smoother than they do back in the states. We walked through the hotel and upstairs into the meeting rooms where the weigh ins were being held. There was tons of press there, this was a big deal, it reminded me of the press conference in China when I fought KangEn, and everything looked as if it was about to start. They had a bunch of tables and chairs set up in the back with all the fighters names on them. Most of the Japanese fighters were already all back there, including Omigawa. I put all my stuff up and sat down. They had Pornsanae and Bovy and I all at the same table. We chilled out for a bit and waited for it to start. It seemed as if it would be soon but you never can tell. I was feeling ok but still couldn't wait to have that first sip of Pedialyte. Finally they started calling our names one by one. I was about the 4th or 5th person they called. Omigawa weighed in right before I did. He was 65.5kg, about a pound over. I wasn't sure if they had a pound allowance here or not, I didn't really care either. I wasn't about to make a fuss over it. Finally it was my turn. They had one of those scales they always use in Thailand with the wheels on the bottom. 64.5, .5 under, bam, nice! They had us get together and do some face offs so they could take pictures. He wasn't all that short and seemed pretty solid. This was going to be a good fight. That first sip of Pedialyte is always the most amazing thing. Nectar of the God's ha. Got into the back and tried to pace myself getting the fluids and foods in me. Over the years I've tried to be better and better about taking my time and not hurting myself, it's still difficult though. I used to bring a giant meal to the weigh ins, eat it there and then have another meal later on that night. But it would always be way too much and I would feel flat and bloated. Now I try to just bring a light snack, get all my fluids in me and then have a real meal later on. The Thai's were chowing down on all this gas station chicken and sushi they had brought. They have iron stomachs, no way in hell I was touching any of that. We had to wait an hour for the press conference to start, which was fine by me. Just happy that I can eat and drink. I had a bit of my oats and fruit with some Sun Butter. Had some bananas and baby food as well. So good! I was feeling so much better, not that I had felt all that bad. Finally they tell us that the press conference is going to start soon so everyone gets all of their fancy clothes on. All the Thai's had was their jump suits. Pornsanae kept cracking up about how big everyone one was compared to him. They put us in line in the order we would go out. I was next to Mosab, we talked for a bit. He seemed like a nice, down to earth guy. I couldn't believe how small he, and everyone else there, was. Even the 70kg fighters didn't seem very big to me. One of the few times I've ever felt like the tall one. He told me that he still didn't know who his opponent was. At first they had him lined up with Rob Emerson, don't ask me why, but apparently he had some child support issues and wasn't able to get his Visa. I guess they were still trying to get someone last minute but they still weren't sure. Talked to Souwer a little as well. Hadn't seen him since he was out at CSA for his seminar. They called us out one at a time and had us all sitting at this long table. There were translators for all of the foreign fighters and the press started asking questions. How do you feel about the tournament, what do you think about your opponent, things like that. I had Chaz bring me up the rest of my Pedialyte and sucked it down. Everyone was very respectful and the whole thing went rather smoothly. Finally we finished up and they had us all get together and take big group photos. ON my way to the back some random guy stopped me to ask for a photo. Told me how happy he was that I was in the tournament and how excited he was to see me fight live. Always so surreal to me! Everyone got changed back into their normal clothes and then we had to sit back down for the rules meeting. I was cracking up the entire time because they had two of the ref's simulating moves that were legal/illegal. I don't know why but it was so funny to me. One of the ref's was this big, bald guy, looked like Random Task ha. Wish I had filmed it. I was feeling good, just exhausted and looking forward to some real food. Met Kawasaki, they guy who got me on the card and the one Kirian had been dealing with. He was really nice and spoke decent English. Finally they finished up but I knew we would still have to wait for everyone to get together and get back on the bus. Fortunately Kawasaki offered to drive Chaz and I back to the hotel. On the way out I was stopped several times for photos. Finally we got to Kawasaki's car. I just wanted to pass out. It was still raining out but the sun was finally starting to shine and the clouds were clearing. We got dropped off at the hotel and Kawasaki told us that I might get a call in an hour or so because they needed me to go do a few promotional photos for the event. “Or maybe they won't even call”, he said. I hoped that they wouldn't and I could just sleep. I told Chaz I'd hit him up after a little while and we could go eat then I went and layed up. It was only about 3ish, so nice having weigh ins so early. I had originally thought that the fights would start around 7 tomorrow but apparently they begin at 2. Guess the early weigh ins make a lot more sense now. At least they went quickly. I lay around for about half an hour and then Chaz and I went and got some sushi. He had been to a place last night he said was good but there was a closer spot he wanted to try so we went there. A little hole in the wall spot, reminded me of the restaurant in the documentary “Jiro dreams of sushi”. We were the only ones there. It was this old couple who ran it. The woman was really nice and did her best to talk to us in her limited English. It was tough to order anything seeing as how there were no pictures and everything was in Japanese. We started with some hot tea, which was quite good, and tried to figure out how to order something. Finally she points to a poster on the wall that had a few of the options they had. We pretty much had to eat the same 2 rolls over and over again but they were really good. Super simple but amazing. The problem is they weren't very filling, felt as if I could go on forever. What I really wanted was a nice big steak or something. Normally I don't eat rice but at least it was all super fresh and healthy. Finally, after about ten rolls, we thanked them and called it a night. Ended up being about 80$, not bad considering how expensive I thought it would be. Headed back to the hotel, told Chaz I was gona lay up and maybe we'd go eat again later. I went up to my room and the second I lay down the phone rang. It was the front desk letting me know that a driver was there to pick me up. Damnit! They told me to bring my fight shorts. I put them on under my sweats and headed down. Hit Chaz up and let him know I had to head out but we could grub when I got back. Houcine Bennoui and his trainer were downstairs waiting as well. The guy that had picked us up from the airport was the same one taking us to the photo shoot. I sat up front with him. We got over to the Shootboxing gym, same one we had stopped by yesterday. Went up to the second floor where the actual gym was. It was extremely small. Had a tiny ring on the floor, which is where they were doing the photo shoot, a few bags, weights and that's about it. The Dutch girl, as well as a few others, was there sitting around waiting. Suzuki was in the ring getting his pictures taken. He seems like the Masato of Shootboxing, superstar. I had no idea if everyone there was waiting to get there pictures taken or how long all this would take. Woosah. I took my shoes off and plopped down on the ground up against the wall. The floor was some kind of rubber, vinyl, like a tire. Reminded me of the floors at the ice rink where I used to play hockey, had that same smell as well. Brought back a lot of memories. The lady taking the pictures seemed to really enjoy shooting Suzuki, and he was living it up. Great, this was going to take forever. Finally they finished and luckily called me next. Took all my clothes off other than my shorts and got in the ring, well basically had to crawl under the ropes because the ceiling was so low I couldn't jump over them. Fortunately it was really warm in there. There was a large, white, sheet hanging as a back drop and lots of lights set up, which made it even hotter. The lady was really nice and it was cute listening to her attempt to communicate with me and give me instructions. We went through the usual poses, didn't take too long, and finished up. She thanked me and sent the next person in. Houcine was next. Got my clothes back on, other than my jacket because I was starting to sweat, and sat back on the floor. I stretched out a bit and talked with Souwer's manager, who had also been with him at his seminar at CSA. I was still going back and forth on my attitude towards these fights. On one hand yes of course I wanted to win the whole thing, I always go in there to give it all I have. On the other, not only was it a short notice fight, relatively seeing as how it was a different style than I'm used to. On top of fighting the biggest pain in the ass MMA/Judo guy in the tournament first. What do I care if I lose? I told myself that I can't go in with that type of attitude, you can't be ok with losing. I know that I can win this fight, and win the whole thing. I just need to want it. Finally Houcine finished and we headed out. I was so tired. I definitely wanted to eat again one more time before crashing out. I told Chaz earlier to try and find a steak house or something nearby. I need something filling. When I got back to my room I gave him a call to see if he had found anything. He said there was a steak house down the road which had some good reviews. Perfect! Told him to meet downstairs at 7:30 and we would go. I lay up for a bit and tried to rest. My brains were mushed and jet lagged, not knowing what to do. I just lay there with my eyes closed. Finally it was 7:30, met Chaz downstairs and we hit the road. He had mapped it out on Google and said that it was a little past the sushi place he had went to last night. About a 5 minute walk. I knew it would be good for me to get my body moving around a bit. I was actually surprised how good my legs were feeling since I didn't get an IV this time. That's usually the one thing I notice when I don't, my legs just feel dead. We walked and walked, past the place he had been to and walked some more. He didn't have an address, just a photo of the building and a rough idea of where it was. On the map it had shown it was 5 blocks from the hotel but the problem was that we didn't know what they considered a block. Was it every street or every main street and which streets did they consider main anyway. We kept going....and going...and going. It had said that it was only a 5 minute walk and we had been walking quite some time longer than that. He said, “I know the second we stop and turn around we're going to find out we were right there.” I knew that he was probably right but I was starting to get annoyed...and hungry. We decided to give it one more block...nothing! We finally turned around and headed back, this time on the opposite side of the street in case we had missed it. We walked and walked. We would pass many other restaurants, but they didn't look all that appetizing and I was really craving a steak. On and on, my feet were starting to kill me. The only good thing was the fact that now I was truly hungry whereas before I just wanted to eat. It didn't seem like we would ever find it but I was set on that steak to where nothing else seemed appealing. We started trying to come up with a back up plan. There was a Denny's by the hotel but that was a last resort. I kind of wanted noodles yet I'd rather not eat things that I normally don't , but at this point I just didn't care. We could always do sushi again but I knew that I'd be left just as unsatisfied as I had been earlier. Eating at the hotel restaurant was a possibility as well. Finally we ended up back at the hotel and still hadn't decided. He said that he would go ask if they knew where the steak house. I had to run up and use the bathroom, my stomach was pissed, bubble guts. By the time I got back downstairs Chaz had it figured out. Somehow we had walked right past the steak spot and it was right down the street but it said they closed at 9. It was almost 8:30. Apparently we had been walking around for almost an hour, sheesh! It didn't matter now, we were about to get steak. He got the address written down and we headed back out and grabbed a cab just in case. It was literally right down the road. How the hell had we missed it? I think it was because we had been looking for a red roof, which we could see in the photo, but from the street it was hardly visible. We got dropped off, 7$ just for that but they have to get their minimum. We walk up to the front and there is a waitress standing there. “We close”, she says. Oh hell no. “I thought you were open till 9”, Chaz replies. “No, no we close”, she continues. “No way, I bet you they just didn't want us eating there”, I say to him. “Fuck it and fuck them. I'm over it!” I say. We went back to the hotel and went to a restaurant there, I was so annoyed. They brought us out there menu's and I was ready to set the world one fire. They just had no options. I felt like I was in that scene in My Cousin Vinny when they go to eat and the menu just says “Breakfast, lunch, dinner”. I was about to lose my mind. Nothing looked good at all so finally we just decided to go to the sushi spot he went to last night, at least it would be slightly different than the one earlier. Luckily it was close by, well close enough, still had to walk a bit. My feet were killing me, I was starving and I was just done! We finally get there and I just plop down into a seat. At least I would finally get some food, but I was pissed it wouldn't be a steak. Could be worse. Told Chaz to just order a bunch of stuff. I had really been wanting a seaweed salad but how the hell would I even ask for that? F it! The sushi there was pretty bomb, just like the spot earlier, but again it was minimal and nothing was filling. We kept putting them down, roll after roll. Finally called it a night because what's the point, I'll never be full. I knew I had my protein cookies, sun butter and some snacks back at my room if I still needed something to eat. We headed back to the hotel, I'd be so happy to finally be able to lay down. We were all getting picked up at 11:30 the next morning to go to the venue. I wanted to try and get a breakfast and maybe a lunch beforehand. The breakfast buffet at the hotel, which Chaz had been to in the morning and said was good, opened at 6:30am. I told him that I'd go when the opened and then go back to bed so I could get some more rest and hopefully get lunch. I would still love a steak, we found at that the spot was actually open until 11, mother fuckers!!! F them! I wouldn't go there now just on principal. I told him to try and look up some other places for tomorrow, I'd hit him up for breakfast in the morning and said goodnight. It was so nice to get back to my room. I was just spent. Brushed my teeth and got ready for bed. It was still freezing in my room. I put all my sweats on and got under the covers. All that sushi finally hit me and I was pretty full. Got back to a bunch of emails and hit Kirian up. Told him I felt good, weigh ins went smoothly, etc. After that I passed out immediately. Woke up around 5, again, couldn't fall back asleep so I just lay there until 6:30 then gave Chaz a call. I was feeling good, legs did feel a little funny but that's normal. Eye's were a bit puffy and I was still looking all sucked up but overall I felt good. I knew that after a few more meals and some rest I would be good to go. The breakfast buffet was on the 26th floor, I headed up. When I got out of the elevator a few people were standing by the door waiting, as they hadn't opened yet. Andy Souwer was there so we talked for a bit. I told him nice work on his fight last week, where he had KO'd his opponent in the 5th round. The guy was show boating, dropped his hands and Andy put him to sleep. He laughed and said, “Yea well this guy was no good but at least I'm healthy to fight tonight.” I said goodbye and to have a good breakfast as I was waiting on Chaz. As he walked in the restaurant Chaz walked out of the elevator. The waiter took our tickets and showed us to a table. The whole restaurant overlooked Tokyo. The sun was coming up and it was such a beautiful site. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera on me. Now I definitely wanted to have a healthy breakfast but I only had so many options. They had a wide variety of food, just nothing all that healthy. I grabbed some fruit, eggs, pork buns(I know, not healthy), miso soup, Canadian bacon (sort of), chicken wings, a tea, a coffee and then sat my ass down. Fortunately it wasn't too greasy or anything but not what I would have gotten if I had better options. I just hoped that I would be able to get something decent for lunch. Finished up then headed back to my room to rest for a bit. We definitely didn't want to go through the debacle of finding food like last night again so once more Chaz looked up some spots. He found a Hard Rock Cafe about 10 minutes away. I almost said let's just go to Denny's but I knew I'd regret that. Rested in my room for a bit and then got up. Showered and got all my stuff together for the fight so I wouldn't have to rush after we ate. We went downstairs at 10 and tried to ask the front desk guy how to get to the Hard Rock. He starts typing away on his computer again. I was like, “Here we go again.” We only had an hour so I was getting ready to say screw it and just go to Denny's but F that. We just went out front and asked a cab driver , who ended up just going back inside to ask. Woosah. Finally they get it figured out and we are on our way. I just don't understand why this is all so difficult. It seemed as if the cab driver knew where we wanted to go but I guess we shall see. We pass the MOS burger spot that Chris from the gym had told me that we needed to check out. We would definitely hit that up tomorrow. We finally arrive at the train station/mall where it's at. Go upstairs and there it is, Hard Rock Cafe, thank goodness! In my mind I saw a menu with every option you could possibly want. Unfortunately the truth was far from it. As we walk in we see people ordering at the bar. This isn't a good sign. They seemed to only have a picture menu and there was only 4 options. An egg breakfast, a sandwich, pancakes and something else that I couldn't figure out what it was. These sons a bitches. We got to the front and ask if they have a bigger menu, as Chaz had looked them up online and they had shown a lot. He says, “Oh yes one second.” For a brief moment I had hope as he went and grabbed there full menu. He hands it to us and everything I could possibly want is on there but then he hits us with the bad news and tells us they don't start serving it until 11. WTF? We were both getting ready to kill someone. As much as I wanted to say screw it and bail I knew there would be just as many issues anywhere else we tried to go. And we were running out of time. The egg breakfast didn't look half bad so I just ordered that. Chaz got the same and we sat down. It appeared that all the food was coming out rather fast, never a good sign. I'm sure it was all just sitting back there under heat lamps. I had to eat something so what could I do. I just prayed that I wouldn't get sick. The food arrives and the eggs look as if they had been made from a powdered mix. The 'bacon' was just chopped up greasy ham and some nasty hash browns. Not only did nothing look good but there wasn't very much of it. I don't understand why it's so difficulty to get something decent to eat around here. I said a little prayer and dove in. The eggs weren't exactly awful but far from good. Bacon was ehh. Now normally I wouldn’t eat hash browns, particularly before a fight, but I was starving and had to get some calories in me. They were the only thing that tasted like they should. Well, close enough anyway. I devoured it all with the quickness and was still starving. Chaz was about as fed up with the food situation as I was. It just seemed impossible to get anything you wanted. Hoped in a cab and headed back to the hotel. I had already packed up all my stuff before we had to go meet up to leave. Double checked to make sure that I had everything and lay down for a bit, not that I was able to rest. I was too much in fight mode. Finally it was time to go. Got my stuff together and headed downstairs. I was feeling good. Body and mind were starting to wake up. I just felt disgusting from the food but what can ya do. At least this guy would mainly be trying to take me down as opposed to punching my guts in. We sat on the bus for awhile and waited on everyone else, as usual. I tried to just rest my head on my back pack and listen to music. It was raining out, just misty really. All the Thai's showed up and eventually everyone else did as well. We didn't end up leaving until almost noon. Why do I always got to be the one on time? All I do is wait. Bovy, Kru Dam and Pornsanae are such a constant riot, cracking me up! The venue was only about 20 minutes away but the rain and traffic made it take a bit longer I still had no idea how big the venue was going to be. I had seen some footage of their shows that looked like they were at giant stadiums and then others that looked as if they were in a high school gymnasium. When we pulled up I was pleasantly surprised. It was a good sized stadium, actually way bigger than I had expected. We all get out and they take us inside. I had to go to the bathroom so bad. As they were taking us through I saw one and stopped. Kawasaki said that there would be bathrooms in our changing room so I started following him but when I saw that we all had to check in first I ran back. Got my credentials after that. I took a peak into the venue. Holy hell. It was huge! It suddenly just got real. Chaz says, “Man, they got all these fools sitting Indian style, that's torture!” At the time I didn't it together but later on, when I got a closer look at the stadium, I saw exactly what he had meant. The 'seats' were literally these flat mat areas separated by a metal railings. So each person, or group, has their own little picnic area ha. Ain't no way in hell I could handle watching a show like that. Do they just not believe in chairs or what? The entire ringside/floor area had regular seats, strange. Headed to our dressing room. Pornsanae and Bovy were in the same one. There was a large, elevated platform which was mostly covered in carpet. It had a big piece of paper with my name on it in English and Japanese. There was also some waters, an energy drink and one of those gas station sandwiches in plastic. Ain't no way in hell I would ever touch that, even if I was on the verge of death. There was bathrooms and a shower as well as this giant tub, looked like a big ass jacuzzi. I was feeling tired but still had about 3 till I would be fighting so no point in getting going now. I went in the bathroom and did my hair real quick, as I had worn a hat there, and then lay down and rested. They had doctors checks down the hall, which was basically 'Are you alive? Ok, you can fight'. They went pretty quick. My interpreter from the weigh ins was there to help communicate. They took us over to where the gloves and wrap area was. Told us that whenever we wanted to wrap up we needed to do it over there so they could watch. They were providing tape and gauze for us and said that we had to use theirs but I told Chaz that whenever we wrapped up just to bring his and see if we could use them. He checked out the gloves, said they were mittens. Guess it's a good thing that my right hands has been feeling really good lately. Went back to the changing room and layed down for a bit and then stretched out. My body was feeling pretty good but my back is still pretty tight from when I had tweaked it out. Kawasaki was back there hanging out. He said that I would probably fight around 3:30, it was just after 2. There were already fights going on, just the under card, which had a lot of fights. I told Chaz that we could just go ahead and wrap up now that way I wouldn't have to rush it later and I'd be able to watch some of the other fights. We headed over to the hand wrap area. I took a seat as Chaz went over to the table to ask about the wraps. I was just listening to my iPod and watching fights, had been since I was stretching out earlier. The 'commission' was telling Chaz that were couldn't use anything other than what they provided, in their own way since none of them spoke English. Basically they told us it would be unfair advantage, which didn't make a bit of sense. How could having more padding give me an advantage? If anything it'd make my hands softer. He was trying to explain this to them, especially since they only gave us one roll of gauze per hand. I was just getting annoyed. I told Chaz to go and get Kawasaki and maybe he could communicate this better to them. He went and got him but it was no use, they were set on it. I told Chaz, “screw it, I'll be fine.” The good thing was we were allowed to use as much tape as we wanted and could go over the knuckles as well. The logic in this is baffling. Unfortunately the gauze and the tape they gave us was so shitty, barely even stuck together. All part of the experience. Woosah! Chaz actually did a really good job. My right hand barely had anything over the knuckles. I put a bunch of tape on it after he finished. They felt pretty good and even though the gloves were like mittens they still felt pretty solid once they were on my hands. I wanted to check out the fights for a bit so I headed upstairs. I walked around the hall forever trying to find a way in and finally found a door that went to the arena. It was right where the DJ/audio booth was. The venue was about half full, they were still on the under card. I'm sure it would be packed by the time the main card starts. I watched a round of two of the fight. It was decent but you could tell that they guys were new. Headed back downstairs to finish getting warmed up. As soon as I got back down there they told us we had to go out for all of our introductions. Headed back upstairs once again where most of the other fighters were already waiting. They stood us in the order they would call us out, Pornsanae was right in front of me. We sat there for what seemed like forever but eventually everyone wandered off. I sat down by the door and stretched out some more. Pornsanae was still cracking up about how huge everyone was compared to him. I said, “It don't matter, they big but your heart big. Beat their asses!” Finally they started calling us out one at a time. It was my turn and they stood me behind this big wall. Which was actually a giant TV screen on the opposite side that opened up as we walked out. They hadn't exactly told us what we were doing or anything like that so I really had idea what I was walking out to or what I was supposed to be doing. I could only assume it was like the K1 where they introduce everyone and have them all on stage together. Finally the doors open, some song that I don't remember plays and they announce me. The stage was really high off the ground and if you were to fall I don't think you would survive it. Either way you would be pretty jacked up. There was a long walk way of stairs that kept going down to the ring, which is where we were going to walk out to when it was our time to fight, but for now they had us lined up across the top stage. The place was packed and I was looking down over everyone. Always feels like I'm living in a dream, maybe because I am. I always thing, “How in the hell did I get here? How did this even happen. Is this really who I am?” I don't know if other people that make it to a certain point feel the same way or what but it's always so strange to me. Finally they finished with everyone and we went back downstairs. My freaking stomach was killing me from all this greasy ass food and of course I forgot my medicine. I made a point to put it in my bag with all my stuff but I must have taken it out and use it at the hotel and forgot to put it back. Well at least this guy is not much of a striker. Pornsanae was going out as I was shadow boxing. I told him, “Chok dee.” He was fighting Suzuki, last years champ. I was the 4th fight on the card. Decided to wait until after the 2nd fight to get my cup on just in case. Chaz put my arm bands on, which took forever because they had so many knots in them. Felt like I was in such a rush, which I hate. It was a little cold in there and I just couldn't seem to break a sweat. I felt strong and sharp, just not very loose. Pornsanae came back in, said he had lost by knock out in 10 seconds, or at least that is what I had heard him say at the time. Damn! “You win for sure”, he said. I tried going to the bathroom one last time. My stomach felt awful but what can you do. At least my body felt good, other than my back and hamstrings being a little tight but nothing that would affect me. Got my cup on and then it was my turn before I knew it. Knocked some fast kicks out on the pads and then we headed out. They brought us up to the same waiting area, right behind the TV screen/walk out stage, where I had gone out for the intros. Omigawa was already there waiting. I was feeling great, super calm, almost too calm. I just felt so blessed to be doing this. “Can't thank you enough brotha.”, I say to Chaz. He gave me a hug and said, “It's been a long road to get here brotha, 12 years!” A huge wave of emotion crashes over me. It's so crazy to think about. I can't believe this is my life sometimes, most times. Who does this? I had tears in my eyes. I knew that no matter what this is where I am meant to be and what I'm meant to be doing. I stood and waited for the wall to open. They played music for me, as I hadn't brought any. Can't remember exactly what it was, just that it was good/fitting. The Japanese fans are usually very reserved and since I was fighting a home town guy I wasn't expecting much of an ovation. When the doors opened I was surprised by the roar of the crowd, it was awesome to walk out to, not to mention they had the Pride lady announcing us, which I didn't even realize at the time. I slowly made my way down the stairs, being careful not to trip and fall. If I took a stumble off the side I'd be dead or paralyzed for life. Got down to the ring and one of the 'commissioners' checked to make sure I had my cup, mouth piece and everything. After that I walked over to my corner, knelt down by the stairs and said a little prayer, as I always do. Chaz climbed up to the ring to hold down the ropes, not that he needed to or even could. They were crazy tight, like steel cables, and really low. I kept thinking how easy it would be to topple right over them if we end up clinched up against them. I climbed up the stairs and jumped over the top rope. Bowed to all the judges, the ref and waited. The ref came over to give me a final check. He told me to take my stuff, shirt, flowers, mongkol, etc, off. Finally they announce Omigawa and the crowd goes insane. He was wearing his gi and black belt. Chaz gave me some final instructions, “You know what he's gona do man. Keep your defense strong, keep your back off the ropes and stuff those take downs!” Omigawa got in the ring, got his gi off and they brought us together at center ring. They motioned to Chaz to come in. He said, “Go ahead”, not understanding. They told him again to come in and he joined us. The ref gave us our final instructions in English. I gave Omigawa a glove tap and a nod. There was no hard assness or intimidation tactics going on between us, just respect. Time to go to work! I was feeling extremely calm, even more than usual. Knelt down and said my final prayer in the corner. Gong! Round 1. He comes out looking to close the distance quickly. I pop a few jabs and try to keep him at bay. I was doing my best to keep circling and stay off the ropes but the ring was so small it was almost pointless. We clinched up along the ropes, I tried to sweep his leg but missed and he was able to lock on tighter and hip toss me. I rolled though it and made sure I at least ended up on top and got up first. I smashed his leg a few times and landed some good step knees. Up against the ropes again I through a head kick the barely clipped him. He pressed me hard into the ropes as I try and defend his take down. I was able to stuff it this time and the ref breaks us up. I was doing my best to keep my composure and know that I would slowly break him down and eventually be able to start really opening up. Just had to be patient. Through a punch combination followed by a leg kick. Unfortunately he stepped backwards just as I thew it and my foot clipped him in the groin. They called time and I apologized, the ref gave me a warning. He takes a minute or two and finally we get back to fighting. He's really pushing in now trying to get another take down. I think it surprised him that I was able to defend as well as I did. The longer we went the more I loosened up and the more tired and frustrated he seemed to get. He was throwing hay makers and had some good power. Fortunately I was able to see them all coming so they didn't cause much damage. He rushed in to take me down again as I was against the ropes. I threw a step knee that cracked him in the jaw as he grabbed me. He must have iron in his head because it didn't even seem to faze him. It was really difficult to get anything going with his awkward moment and jumping around. He had me in the corner and unloaded with a barrage of punches. I kept a tight guard and minimized the damage but I knew he was out scoring me. He clinches me up again and gets a good judo toss. Once more I roll through and end up on top. I didn't care so much about him taking me down, as I knew he eventually would, I just wanted to get back up as quickly as possible and get back to work. I knew that eventually I would break him down. It was only a matter of time. As we get back up the ref calls time. Omigawa had a huge gash over his right eye. He head butted me, unintentionally, as he rushed in for the last take down. The ref signals to the judges that it was a clash of heads and has the doctor look at it. I was standing in the corner, pretty out of it, the headbutt had scrambled my brains. I could tell I was cut as well, on top of my head. I motioned to Chaz to let him know I was cut but the last thing I was going to do was let anyone else know, they would take this fight away from me any chance they had. It seemed like Omigawa's cut was pretty bad, I thought they may stop the fight, as they were looking at it forever, but eventually let it go on. The ref comes over, grabs my hand as he takes me to center ring and pulls out a red card. WTF? How are you going to red card me when he was the one who caused the head butt. I started cracking up in my head. I knew they were shady but they weren't even trying to hide it. Figures. Didn't matter to me. I knew I wouldn't win a decision no matter what anyhow. Just wanted to get back to work. Time in! He comes charging at me even harder and more desperate than before. Throwing bombs and looking to clinch up. I land some quick punches and a leg kick but it was difficult to get anything going. I could tell he was slowing down so I just tried to look for my openings. We clinched up against the ropes but again I was able to stuff his take downs. I knew each time I did this he would break more and more. I land a step knee into his ribs as the bell sounds. Well this is annoying! I took a seat in the corner. Chaz was giving me instructions, telling me to stay off the ropes and to smash that cut in any chance I had. “You know what he's looking for”, he said. Round 2 starts and I was finally starting to feel loose. My combinations were flowing and I was getting his timing and rhythm down. We clinched up again against the ropes but this time I circle to his back. I wanted so badly to suplex him but he had his weight down really well and by the time I got a good grip the ref broke us up. He rushed in immediately and pressed me into the ropes. I was able to get a few good knees in as he looked for another take down. I was able to stuff it once more. His eye was gushing blood and I could tell that he was barely able to see. I started landing some good kicks and clipped him right in the eye with a nice hook. He charged in and pressed me up against the ropes but didn't even look to take me down. The ref breaks us up and calls time. Omigawa's face was covered in blood. The doctors have a look again. I could tell how much worse the cut had gotten once they wiped the blood away. On one hand I wanted them to stop it so I could go on to a real fight but on the other hand I was finally feeling good and knew I would be able to stop him. I looked over at the doctors and could tell they would stop it. They kept wiping the blood away and looking at it but eventually waved it off. Omigawa yells out in frustration as the ref signaled the fight was over. I actually felt bad for Omigawa as I could tell how badly he wanted this, on top of the fact that it was an accident. I never want to win a fight in this way and felt no happiness towards it. I was however grateful to be done with it and moving on to the real fights. What can ya do? I went over to his corner, thanked him and said I was sorry. The ref takes me to center ring, raises my hand and announces me the winner as the crowd shows their appreciation. I bow to all four corners, almost apologetically and the ref hands me this little, cool, glass trophy. He points me to the camera man standing ringside as they all snap photos. Omigawa comes over and bows to me, I bow back. I head to my corner where Chaz is waiting behind the ropes. “Well that was fucking annoying”, I say. He laughs as I climb over the top rope. We were walking towards the back when I see Kawasaki standing there. I ask him how long he thinks it will be before I have to fight again. I wanted to know if I should take my gloves off or not. He said that he wasn't sure but we should have enough time and not to worry about it, he would find out. Chaz and I head back to the dressing rooms. I got back to my little platform and plopped down. My head was killing me, I was still out a bit out of it, and my stomach was beyond wrecked. I knew I would be ok by the time I fought again. Chaz took my gloves off, told me to just chill and he would go and find out exactly how much time we had. My foot was a little sore from kicking his cup ha, but fortunately my shins and legs were fine. I layed down and tried to rest. Moments later Chaz comes bursting through the door pissed off. “These mother fuckers aren't going to let you fight the next round!”, he says. I didn't even ask why, just laughed and said, “Yea, that don't surprise me.” He goes on to tell me that they over turned the win to a no contest afterwords so now they are going to use whoever wins the reserve match between Bovy and Zouggari, who they had literally called that morning in Holland. He flew over and went straight from the airport to the event. “Well I guess I can take my wraps off now”, I say. He tells me to wait because if one of them gets hurt then they will use me. I said ok and chilled for a minute but eventually said, “You know what, F these people! They're gona screw me over then use me if they need me. Ha! I'm gona chill and watch the fights. I'm over it!” “Yea, fuck them!”, he says and cuts my wraps off. I grabbed my water and we headed out to the arena. We sat down next to kru Dam and Pornsanae. They asked what happened and we did our best to explain it. Pornsanae says, “Fuck Japan!” Ha. I started cracking up. “It's ok, no problem.” I say. I knew what the story was coming here. Hell I could've knocked him out and they probably would have disqualified me. Woosah. Bovy was fighting Zouggari, I was surprised how good he was. He was lighting Bovy up with fast combinations, even shot in and double legged him. They warned him not to do it, which was odd. I'm sure if a Japanese fighter had done it it would have been ok. He ended up knocking Bovy out in the 2nd round. I was impressed! Well at least the person taking my place was going to put it on the rest of these guys. My head was still leaking. I went into the back quick to take a look at it in the mirror. It was really hard to see since it was in my hair. All I could see was the blood but not the cut, although I could tell it was a deep one. Just wasn't sure how big. Chaz took a look and says, “Yea man, you need a few stitches!” Last thing I wanted to do was go to the hospital but Kawasaki said that the doctors there could stitch me up so we headed to see them. They were in the same room we had done the pre fight checks earlier. Kawasaki let them know I needed some stitches. There were about 5 doctors there, all sitting on the floor at this large table, eating dinner. One of them gets up and takes a look at my cut. He grabs a cotton ball with his chop sticks, which may or may not have been the same ones he was eating with. He, and the others, all nod, “yes, yes you need stitches.” “OK, go ahead”, I say. “We don't have stitches, only staples”, he says. “Ok, then staple me”, I say. “We have no anesthetic”, he replies. “I don't care, do it anyway, won't be my first time”, I say. “it's going to hurt”, he says. “You think I care? Go ahead, it's fine”, I continue. “We will need to cut your hair around the cut”, he says. “Go right ahead”, I reply. “We don't have anything to cut it with”, he says. Aw geez, wtf? F it! I was beyond annoyed by this point. I had Chaz take a picture of it so he could show me just how bad it was. It definitely could have used a few stitches but no where near as bad as some I've had before and not gotten stitched. Particularly the one I got one the King's Birthday in 07'. Could have used about 20 in that one and it healed fine. I told them not to even worry about it and that I would be fine. Chaz says, “I just don't want you to have a scar.” I start cracking up, “Really man? I think we are way past that point hahaha.” Besides the fact that it was way up in my hairline, who cares? He goes on to say, “At least let them clean it out”, which I agree to. They say, “This is going to hurt.” Aw geez just do it damnit. I could barely feel at as they cleaned it out with but it did start to sting afterwords. I thanked them and we headed back to watch the rest of the fights. Chaz went and grabbed us a few beers. Normally I wouldn't even drink but my head was in agony, mostly from the head butt, although the cut and cleaning didn't help any. More than anything I was starving and exhausted. It felt as if it was almost midnight but it was still real early. Mosab fought Suzuki, I thought Mosab won but it was close and there's no way you're going to win a decision over here, especially against the favorite. It was fun hanging out and watching the fights with kru Dam, Bovy, Pornsanae and Chaz. So surreal sitting there hanging out and joking around with two of my all time favorite fighters, like it's no big deal. They had his really weird ass, almost WWE, show fight between these two wrestlers. At first I thought it was real until I realized that they weren't even hitting each other. Not sure if that made it better or worse. The fans loved it but I was baffled. Why would you have this at fights? Felt like we were going to be there forever. I asked Kawasaki if we were going to the hotel afterwords and he told me we had to go the the after party first. Son of a!!! I just wanted to shower, eat and pass out. He told me that I could shower at the ones at the venue. Yea, no thanks. I told Chaz, who was just as bummed as I was. I said we could make an appearance, as I still wanted to make a good impression and be respectful, and then grab a cab if we wanted to bail. The fights seemed to be dragging on forever, although they were all pretty good. The beer wasn't really helping my headache, only making me tired, so I stopped after 1. The final fight was between Suzuki and Zouggari, I knew it would be a great fight but I also knew that it would basically be impossible for Zouggari to win unless he knocked out Suzuki. Even then who knows. At the end of the 3rd round I had Zouggari easily winning. Chaz thought they would give him the decision and I just laughed. “There's no way”, I said, “Watch, it will be a draw.” “No way!”, he says, “it wasn't even close.” “Since when does that matter?”, I say. They announce it, majority draw, one more round, hahaha. I started cracking up, “Told ya!” The 4th round was the same with Zouggari dominating once again. “Bet you it will be another draw”, I say to Chaz. “No freaking way, not this time!” Chaz says. “Just watch”, I reply. Again, majority draw, ha.. Chaz was fuming, thought he might start a riot. “This ain't nothing new man. They're going to do everything they can to make sure their guy wins.” I say. The 5th round was going about the same but right towards the end Suzuki caught Zouggari with a shot and then finished him off with a fury of punches against the ropes and they stopped it. Probably for the best because I'm sure they would have just continued this all night until Suzuki won or someone died. Everyone was pissed off about the whole thing. Not that I wasn't, I just expected it, I been around long enough to know the score. What can ya do? I was just happy that it was all finally over. It seriously felt as if it were midnight but it was only around 6, ugh! We had to wait for them to get a bunch of pictures in the ring with Suzuki, his belt and the giant check. After that they had all the fighters together in there for a big group photo. As I was going to the ring Omigawa was standing there. He had a bunch of stitches over his eye. I thanked him for a great fight. He said hello, smiled and politely allowed me to get in to the ring first. Pornsanae was already in there, he grabbed me and laughed. They took a ton of photos, there was a line of photographers along the ring and they went in order, each taking their shots as they raised there hand to signal it was their turn. Finally we were done and everyone got out of the ring and headed back to the locker rooms. We grabbed all of our things and then went out to the bus. I was so exhausted and my head was still killing me. I just wanted to lay in bed but I knew it would be awhile before that happened so I just tried to woosah. They drove us for about 15-20 minutes and then stopped outside some small buildings. This is where the after party was? At first we walked in to a restaurant, and I was super happy because it looked like they had some really good food in there, but then they came and got us because we were in the wrong place, it was next door. There was only a little ass elevator, as in most places here, so we all took the stairs up to the 5th floor where the party was. Thankfully my legs weren't destroyed like they normally would be after a fight. There was quite a few people already up there. I was just hoping there would be some decent food. They had these little appetizer crackers and cheeses out now, praying that wouldn't be it. There was an open bar too but I had no desire to drink. I did my best to hang out and be social but as time went on I just couldn't hide my exhaustion and annoyance. There were tons of people coming up and asking for photos, which is always nice but I was just spent. Finally I plopped down in a seat next to Pornsanae, who had been sitting there most of the time, I kept almost passing out. I tried having a drink but it only made me more tired so I went back to water. They kept bringing out different kinds of appetizers, I had a bit of everything hoping for the best but it was all pretty awful. This party just seemed like an excuse for the promoter to have all his friends hang out with a bunch of fighters. Everyone there was very upity and you could tell had no real clue what we did. Chaz said, “It's like a nerd convention” hahaha. I stood up to keep from passing out. All the fighters were beyond wrecked and wanting to leave. The promoter, Caesar Takeshi, got on the mic, basically thanked everyone then had all of the fighters say a few words one by one. After that I asked Kawasaki when he thought we would be done. He said the party is over at 11, it was just past 10. I told Chaz, “Let's grab a cab man.” I said my goodbye and thanked Caesar, he told me how much he appreciated me coming and what a great fighter I was. He said they really wanted me back again and I told him that I'd be happy to. Said goodbye to everyone else and headed out. Pornsanae told us to wait because they wanted to leave to. By the time we got to the elevator our driver said he would take us on the bus, even better. Finally on the bus and about to head to the hotel, I was so relieved. We make it to the corner before my dreams of leaving are shattered. He tells us that everyone is finished and we have to head back to get them. Son of a!!!! Most of the other fighters had been smart or must have grabbed cabs as soon as we had gotten there without telling anyone because none of them were there. We park back in front of the building and wait for everyone....woosah! I lay my head on my bag and did my best to rest. After about 20 minutes everyone was finally on board and we were on our way. Once we got back to the hotel I was like a zombie, even worse than before. Didn't know how I was still standing. As badly as I wanted food I just wanted to shower and pass out. Said goodnight to Chaz and told him that we'd grab breakfast in the morning before we all had to go to the airport. Felt so good to finally be able to relax. Grabbed a shower, which was torture cleaning out my cut. Just happy that my legs weren't all smashed in. I had one of my protein cookies with some sun butter along with a bunch of yogurt pretzels and dried mango’s as I tried getting back to a bunch of Facebook posts and messages. Finally called it a night and crashed out. Got up around 8 and headed down to breakfast to meet up with Chaz. Andy, Mosab and a bunch of the trainers were down there so we sat with some of them as we ate. It was nice hanging out with everyone and just relaxing. I stuffed my face with just about everything they had. We said goodbye to everyone after that and wished them all well. Had a few hours before we had to meet at the bus to go to the airport. I showered, packed up all my things and tried laying down for a bit. My brain and body were so fried from all the travel and jet lag, I knew it was about to get a whole lot worse. Finally it was time to go. Got all my stuff, double checked the room to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything and headed downstairs. As usual I was the first one down there. Kawasaki was there and we talked for a bit. I guess we were going to stop by the Shootboxing gym on the way out because they owed some of us money. He said something about making sure that they gave me the money for taxes but I wasn't exactly sure what that was or how much so as usual I just nodded and said ok. Chaz came down and we got on the bus waiting for everyone else. Bovy, kru Dam, Pornsanae and a few other Thai's eventually showed up and then we were on our way. It was raining a bit, just a drizzle. Took about 20 minutes to get to the Shootboxing gym. Some of the Thai's got out and went inside to get paid. Kawasaki got on the bus, gave me an envelope with some money, some t shirts as well as rolls of posters for Chaz and I. We thanked him for everything and and once the Thai's were back on the bus we all headed to the airport. It took about an hour to get there, we got stopped at the security check point but they just checked one of our passports and let us through. We said goodbye to the driver and thanked him for everything and then we all took a big group photo. After everyone got their tickets and checked their bags we said our good bye's. Such a great trip and even better getting to spend it with wonderful people. Chaz and I both managed to leave our posters in our baggage carts. He tried to go back and get them but it was too late, they were already gone. Typical! Hopefully we can get them to send us some. I wasn't that hungry, as I had eaten so much for breakfast but Chaz grabbed some food as we waited. The options were limited so I opted out. My stomach was still jacked. He also grabbed these expensive chocolates, which were bomb. The flight back wasn't too bad. Chaz was knocked out most of the time. Wish I was as lucky. Just watched some movies, snacked on some treats, definitely wasn't eating that garbage they serve no matter how hungry I was. Fortunately the way back is only 9 hours and I was able to sleep a little. Chaz had a 3 hour layover in SF so I chilled with him and we grabbed some burgers. They were so amazing, or maybe we were just happy to have some good food again, either way we were happy. Eventually he had to bounce and we said goodbye.