THERE’S PAIN BUT THERE’S STILL A FIGHT
No Pain No Gain.Pain Is A State of Mind. Bring On The Pain.
All catchy, well-known T-shirt and gym slogans.
But standing across the cage from former champ Chuck Liddell, feeling the throbbing in a broken arm and knowing the fight must go on. Now that’s a real sign of enduring hurt and pushing mental toughness to its limit.
Former champ Rich Franklin wasn’t dwelling on a motivational thought, a workout adage, he was thinking about finishing. On Inside MMA this week Franklin summed his knock out victory, broken arm and all, over Liddell with five seconds to spare in the first round in UFC 115. .
“You feel it (the broken arm). You can quit and sit in your room later and wonder or you can work through things,” Franklin explains. “You know you’re injured but you have to fight. You start thinking ‘How will I do it?’ and ‘How do I escape this round?’ and all fighters will probably go through it at some point in their career.”
Decorated US Army Staff Sgt. Special Forces, Tim Kennedy, coming off a Strikeforce win over Melvin Manhoef, jokes about his training to increase the threshold for pain. “In the Army they take out that portion of your brain that sends a signal to the nerves you are injured. You become a Cyborg.”
Veteran of at least fifty MMA fights we know of, Thomas “Wildman” Denny has felt almost everything in his bouts. “I broke my finger in the first round and in the heat of the moment I pulled it out straight. Basically set it and went on fighting. That’s just a small example.”
It does become a mind over matter for a lengthy career at any level. Learning how to recover from injuries as much as how to deal with it in the actual fight. Because once it is for real there is something else that happens to if not reduce, at least minimize any feeling of pain.
“Adrenaline is a wonderful thing,” laughs Franklin, “You get that rush and you keep going.”
Denny has learned the importance of listening, absorbing what needs to be done at the precise moment the body is saying otherwise.
“I’ve had refs ask me if I wanted to quit. I’m thinking no way. Ah but there are your corner men. They do have a reason to be there, strictly to win. You listen to them in between rounds, they know you are hurting, you take their advice on how to finish this fight,” Denny adds.”You know but that reminder of getting back to your strategy, something they notice you haven’t done in that last round. That’s what they provide, you regain your focus on what you have to do, forget the pain.”
Fighters know their bodies better than anyone. The hours in the gym, the diet, all the preparation that is essential to warding off fatigue and those cracking bones and bleeding wounds. “It’s there, everyone is aware,” Kennedy says, “It’s then up to you to know what you can tolerate, what you have trained for.”
Even if a T-Shirt isn’t handy for inspiration, the challenge of what is staring them straight in the eye for those few seconds can make the hurt go away because there has been too much investment of time and energy to get to that moment.
That Rich Franklin moment. Maybe he could print up a T-Shirt– ‘I KO’d a Legend With A Broken Arm” or “There’s Pain But There’s Still A Fight.”
Catch Rich “Ace” Franklin, along with Thomas “Wildman” Denny, and Tim Kennedy as they join Kenny and Bas on Inside MMA. Tonight at 8 pm ET on HDNet. Your Home for MMA!
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