Posted: 4th July 2015 by markomac in Uncategorized

As Mike Goldberg would say at the end of a fight, its all over. My Wimp 2 Warrior journey officially came to a close on Thursday night at a Sold Out Luna Park Big Top in front of near on 2000 people. It was posted on facebook that it was the biggest Amateur MMA event in Australian history (or something along those lines). Pretty cool to be part of a record like that (even though it’ll probably get beat by season 4…)


I can not talk highly enough about the Wimp 2 Warrior program. It was simply the toughest thing I have ever done, and quite easily the most rewarding thing I have ever done. There were so many times when I couldve just easily given up and stopped going to training. There were so many times that I kind of just wished it was over. It was bloody hard. Every day, I’d leave my house at 7am to go to work. I would work untill 4 and then drive straight to Brookvale for training. Training would finish at 8 (but often we were that into it that we blew past 8). By the time id shower at the gym and then drive home, it could be anywhere between 9:30 and 10pm. By the time i’d have dinner, and sit down for a bit of a relax, it was midnight before I’d know it and I still wouldnt be in bed. This was a very long and repetitive cycle.


When I signed up for Wimp 2 Warrior, my reasons were completely different to what they needed to be to finish Wimp 2 Warrior. My initial thoughts regarding it, and what I said in my try out interview was something along the lines of “I really want to get into sports coaching and MMA is a sport I really enjoy and wouldnt mind becoming a coach of. What better way to learn whats involved than to go through whats involved?”. Now, at the end, that is still 100% accurate. I would still love to get into the coaching game. And I learnt a great deal of things that I can translate into the Personal Training business i’ll be trying to kickstart from here. HOWEVER, that wasnt really motivational enough for me to be putting myself through some of the brutal work outs we had to go through. Future experience wasnt reason enough to have a constant sore nose from sparring, or aching muscles all weekend from Friday Night Funditioning.


There was one night, I cant remember what we had done at training exactly, but I was driving home and I simply just felt like shit. I wasnt happy with how I had been training. I wasnt happy that I was even going to training. It was one of those moments I couldve easily just decided to pack it in. I couldnt justify a reason to keep doing it. Then, My Hero by the Foo Fighters came onto my cars stereo.


Back in year 12 (way back in 2003), I was a singer in a band (not a real good one, but not the point). I can remember that singing on stage was something I’d wanted to do for ages. And I managed to do it a few times. Most notably at our Year 12 Graduation Assembly. Now, what song did I sing? An acoustic version of My Hero by the Foo Fighters. After that performance, when we all started doing the traditional ‘sign each others school shirts’ thing, a good friend of mine, Lauren Ford, wrote “You’re My Hero” as her message. Sadly, Lauren was in a car accident the following year and we lost her. I’m not real sure I’ve ever fully coped with the loss. I can remember the morning I found out as clear as day. I woke up, went outside the weather was beautiful and I thought to myself ‘what a perfect day’. It didnt take long for that to change when I got the phone call. And to this day, a day is never perfect to me. “You’re My Hero” has stuck with me for all these years.


My thoughts on WHY i was doing the training changed on that night My Hero played. I started thinking that if I put myself through all this pain to chase a dream of mine, and that inspired just one person I know to do the same thing and chase a dream of theirs, then that was enough of a reason to keep going. If I could once again be someones hero through all of this, it would all be worth it. So from that night on, anytime I had thoughts of giving up, I’d either think of the phrase “You’re My Hero” or would listen to/sing in my head, My Hero. So many Friday Night Funditioning sessions were survived through these methods. So many Shark Tanks were survived through these methods. I even think that was the point when I started caring more and more about the guys and girls I was training with the most.


Fast forward to Thursday. Fight Day. I was calm all day long. Had a good sleep Wednesday night after weigh ins, woke up and did some things around the house before heading off to Luna Park. I was getting my hands wrapped bu Brad Jones and started to get a little nervous and I made mention of it to Brad. I cant remember exactly what he said, but he managed to talk my nerves away pretty quickly. And from there, Im not sure they ever really returned. I just had that feeling that I’d done everything I could to be prepared and had already accepted that whatever happened when I stepped into that cage would happen. I think a few of the coaches and cornermen had said at some point “just trust that the skills are there. You’ve learnt them, you’ve drilled them, they’ll be there when you need them”. They were spot on. I dont remember thinking that much whilst I was in the cage, and yet I still feel I did exceptionally well.


Unfortunately, I just didnt get the result. I’ll have to watch the video to actually see for myself, but there were a bunch of people saying I had probably done enough to win the first round (my opponent Mark Thomas actually feels this way too) and unfortunately I made a mistake and gave up my back and was submitted by a rear naked choke (again, id have to see the video to actually KNOW if it was the mistake I think I made that gave him the back, but thats what story i’ll roll with for now.) He was good enough to adapt to my error and locked in the choke in what felt like a flash.


Initially, I got up extremely disappointed. Coach Thiago and Brad came into the cage and Im pretty sure I apologised to them immediately. Im pretty sure both of them said something along the lines of “Fuck that. Nothing to be sorry for” (I dont think Coach Thiago said Fuck though…) Coach Richie came and gave me a medal for completing the journey, and I apologised to him as well. Once again, he said something along the lines of “Fuck that! Nothing to be sorry for” (again, probably didnt say fuck).


My disappointment didnt last very long. On the walk from the cage to backstage the realisation of everything i’d just gone through kind of sunk in and it stopped being an issue. I was happy with my effort and I was even happier for the other Marks success for the night. See, a lot of the guys were saying they’d prefer to not fight someone they knew and had trained with. But i think if i had of lost to one of the guys in the AM group that I didnt know, I wouldnt have accepted the loss so easily. So, at the end of the day, Im happy I got to fight one of the guys that’d been training in the same group as me from day one. It made the night more successful for me, no matter the result.


Now, for a few shoutouts to some people. If you dont get mentioned in this list, dont feel bad. Im sure I love you.


Firstly, some messages to guys and girls I trained with:


Ryno Smash: Thanks for sharing the cost of tolls, fuel and for sharing half of the dangers of sydney roads. Would’ve been a MUCH bigger struggle to get there every single day if I had to drive every single day. Also a massive thankyou for being a soundboard to bounce some ideas, problems and frustrations off on those trips. Congrats on your win mate, was an honour to watch it. We’ll have to organise a Ribs and Burgers trip in the near future!


Holli Tofler: I really enjoyed training with you over this time (even though you were forever punching or kicking me out of nowhere). Im so very proud of how far youve come over the last six months and still so ecstatic you got the win. I can honestly say I was more excited/nervous for your fight than I was for mine in the end. Congratulations again! You deserved it.


Adam Curley: whenever you needed a “big guy” and I was the “biggest guy” available (we didnt have many big guys in our group, did we?) I always had fun. Even though you are a heavy unit when you get on top and would punish me a bit if I wasnt defending myself well enough on the feet, I think you helped me massively to get to where I was on fight night. Congratulations on getting the job done.


Alan Herrick: I would guess that you were the person I trained with the most over the last 6 months. Not once did you ever have a negative word to say and were always trying to point out mistakes I might have been making at any given point. Another big guy who was always extremely heavy on top and willing to pop my head off if I didnt defend myself well, both of those things really helped me when Mark was throwing some BIG overhand rights. Im so disappointed for you that things just didnt go your way on the night, but your attitude after the fact when I came in to see you in the medical room is something that will stick with me the whole time. You took it all in your stride, and just seemed proud enough in the journey you’d been on. It’s a shame (on my end anyway) that you’ve had to fly back home. Would love to have a drink with you one day in the future when you either come back here or I head over there. I hope the hat I gave you shows my appreciation for all we’ve been through together over the last 6 months. Its been a blast mate.


Mark Thomas: I think we’ve spoken about everything over several conversations after our fight. Just want to say congratulations again. We’ll get that drink sometime soon!


Coach Thiago: Im not sure I’ve ever met a man so humble who put me through hell. Your workouts were intense, and I learned so much from them. I will look to use a lot of what you’ve taught me when I start taking clients as a Personal Trainer. Thanks a heap for being in my corner on fight night and for always pushing me so hard and instilling in me the confidence in my abilities. Your talk of always trying to¬† better yourself has really motivated me to always try and better myself. You are a champion human being that I will never forget.


Brad Jones: Talking to you from day one about anything to do with the journey has been a massive help in getting me to the end. The fact that I could see you struggling through some of the training and you were still calling out for everyone to keep going was a massive inspiration. Thanks for being there in my corner on fight night. If I had to choose someone to corner me, I’d have to say itd be you. Thanks mate.


Nick Langton: Unfortunately work kept you away for a large portion of the journey, but your talks about your experiences were a massive help. You managed to put a lot of things in perspective for me. Thanks mate.


Coach Mick: always keen to help when I was struggling to understand something. Even with a banged up knee, you were willing to get down and demonstrate something. A killer of a coach on the mats, but one of the nicest blokes off the mats, thanks for constantly reminding me that the journey would be a roller coaster and to just shake off the bad days as good days would come.


Coach Jens Pulver: There was one point in a class where you were talking about using the O/H Right (or left in your case) to set up the take down and you said something like “if you throw all youve got and you get caught, well, shit happens”. This was a sticking point for me and pretty much the way I look back at the fight. I feel I did the best I could and I got caught. Shit happens. One of my favourite parts of this journey was when you were teaching one thing, and then youd remember about something else and youd get all excited to start showing us something different. Some times i think the class went completely of the path it was supposed to be on, but those were some of my most enjoyable nights I think. And honestly mate, I think I could listen to you talk for hours. Not sure how anyone could not enjoy your stories.


Coach Richie: Well, what can you really say to the guy who created this whole concept? Thanks so very much for coming up with this idea in the first place and for allowing me to come along on your journey. Words probably cant cover what you’ve done for my life. So ill just leave it thank you for your sacrifices and efforts to pull this whole thing together. I’ve had a blast and I cant wait to see the future generations of warriors to come.


Mum and Dad: thanks for all the support in getting me to fight night. Couldnt have done it without you guys. You helped ensure I could keep doing it with help with money and helping me get the gear I needed to do it (ie rashies and such) Thanks very much for it all.


Robbie Eagles: Thanks for getting excited about any of the stories I would tell you that others less interested in MMA wouldnt get excited about. And for providing the shirt I wore at as many opportunities as I could.


Cristine Kennedy: always there to listen to me whinge about this or that or gloat about anything and everything. You rock.

And lastly;


Cathie McMath: Wouldn’t have been possible with out this one. Whether it be cooking my meals, buying me strapping tape or giving me massages, she was there to do the lot. There hasnt been a great deal of time we could spend together over the last 6 months, And the fact that she was actually supportive of me doing it knowing full well how easily I couldve been hurt was a huge step for her to make. As I said before, It would not have been possible for me to do this with out her.


Im sure there are others I should probably thank individually, but thats all I’ve got for now. Thanks to everyone who at any stage reached out and offered support, liked or commented on any of my status’ and especially to those who came out to watch the fight. And to those who contributed some money to help me fund the whole thing, you guys are the absolute best.


So from here, I plan to rest up. Might tackle the Sydney Tower Stair Climb in August. MMA wise, i’ll wait for some of the bruising to disappear before I make any decisions about if and where i’ll be continuing training.


So for now,


Peace out!


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