What is the reality of being a big MMA fighter?
Generally, after the fight, the fighters disappear from the media apart from an occasional selfie from an emergency room. Not many people are aware or think about the challenges the fighters go through.
It all might seem glorious and amazing, but there is more to that. It is important to shed light on some aspects of the emotional rollercoaster that fighters go through. They have to battle for their emotional well being. Rashad Evans, a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, explained: “I would always get depressed after my fights, win or lose, I would get depressed. It’s something that psychologically happens after you have your fight.”
How and why does this happen? Well, before the fight there are 8-12 weeks of extreme preparation, mental and physical. There is strict training, dieting, media coverage, and publicity events, all focusing on one thing- beating the opponent. This alone can be draining. Then once the time comes, the fight itself can gather up to millions of viewers.
Fight night. A lot of excitement and emotions. All the preparations are about to be put to practice. However, the night itself, full of thrill goes by in a heartbeat. The fight either takes 25 sec or 25 minutes. And then? The event is over. Win or Loose. Fighters might need a visit to the emergency room and start recovering from the injuries. Not many fighters have other jobs, or other occupation to keep them busy. What comes after? Some need time to recover from injuries, some wait for another fight to be set as it takes time to arrange it.
Since the preparation time is very strict and intense, fighters need to make weight and keep a healthy diet. So once they are back after a fight with lotsa time on their hand, some fighters choose to indulge themselves, for some it might be the food they were not allowed to eat or the alcohol. This is a quick fix and not a solution.
Jessica Rose Clarke once said: “I used to take two or three weeks off, just to get drunk all the time and be sad. Because, what do you do? You have nothing else. All of a sudden, there’s nothing to work toward. Now, I don’t drink anymore, and I’ve realized the way for me to combat that depressing phase is to set other external goals.” It is important to get back to life and routines, to stay moving and training, regardless of the outcome of the fight.