Nobody throughout California’s Central Valley and northern half had to embrace me as a member of the media in MMA’s landscape, but they did, making me feel like a hard-hitting journalist with what I produced at norcalmixedmartialarts.com—even though it was always just a passion project. Before exiting my role as the region’s “media guy” on December 8, 2018, I was overwhelmed to discover, after receiving a heartfelt message from a newly minted mixed martial artist, my coverage at a recent event validated their place within the space of the hurt business.
My appreciation toward the athletes, promoters, and fans who helped propel my efforts to spread the word about the incredible crop of prizefighters in our area knows no bounds. Over the past two years, NorCal MMA’s community has hit me with plenty of positive praise, which will be stored for an eternity in a special place in my heart. Following another fun evening of providing my services along media row, which included: live streaming via the NorCal MMA Facebook page (link here), posting results as well as other updates, and much more, at a local show, I was delivered a touching message to my Instagram account from a competitor who suffered a gut-wrenching loss in his amateur debut. Of course, anyone willing to stand beneath a scorching spotlight for a sea of screaming spectators should house a sense of belonging, yet defeat can drain confidence from every pore as if wringing out a wet sponge.
Unlike more mainstream team sports, MMA doesn’t allow an athlete to erase the sting that fills their loss column with any sort of immediacy. Losses can settle in the psyche of competitors for weeks, months, or even years because the struggle to locate and, more importantly, lock down a viable contest—all while avoiding injury and life’s little curveballs—is very real.
All my memes and attempts at humor aside, the climb up MMA’s mountain can be a ruthless, unforgiving journey. Knowing my commentary prevented this young competitor from punishing himself any further, helping refocus any distorted self-image of his place in the sport, has been the cherry atop an already sweet sundae of swinging fists and slick submissions.