Last night was fight night in Fredericksburg, VA. Our buddy Nick has been training and cutting weight for the last three months for his chance at a win in the featherweight division of the Barbarian Fight Club event.
Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the term "featherweight" refers to the 135.1-145 pound weight class. Nick, otherwise known in his gym as "Hercules", normally walks around in the 170-180 pound range. He is a beefy, muscular guy, strong and vivacious at that weight. I hadn't seen him in a couple months when he and his girlfriend showed up last weekend to go bowling with Billy and me. I nearly fainted when he walked in. He looked like a completely different person. When I gave him a hug, my arms went all the way around him and then some. A featherweight, he was.
Nick's girlfriend Krista hadn't had any experience with someone close to her having to cut an extreme amount of weight, and I felt for her deeply. I have been through the trauma (and drama) of pre-fight weight cutting with Billy, five times in the past five years. It's not just that they are dieting. They are working out like madmen for hours every day. They are eating a ridiculously low amount of calories compared to their input. They are exhausted, cranky, tense, and generally a nightmare to put up with. Unfortunately for Nick and Krista, the fight ended in a second round referee stop due to a choke. All those months of going through the emotions of weight cutting, and he had to suffer a lose. It is devastating to the fighters and to those that love them, but it's just another part of the sport.
After the fight, our group went back to Nick and Krista's to show our support and celebrate a job well done. Sarah (another "chick of a fighter"), Krista and I sat close together and talked about the emotional stress that our guys' sport can put on us. We even joked about starting a support group for wives/girlfriends of MMA fighters. But it's really no joking matter. Watching someone you love beat themselves up-both mentally and physically--for months at a time to get in shape for a fight is more than difficult. But then to see them lose is downright heart wrenching. We all know that the dimensions of a man's pride are something that we women can never fully grasp. It can take them month's to recover from a loss. On top of the pride thing, their poor bodies are just wrecked from the weight cut and the fight itself.
Thinking over all of this today, I realized that I basically put Billy through the same thing everyday as he puts me through before a fight. Obviously, I'm not working toward the same goals or trying to achieve my goals by such extreme measures. And granted, I won't have a black eye or a medal to show for my efforts. But we do have a few things in common. First, we both really, really want to lose the weight. Second, we both have our own version of "extreme measures". And finally, we both have wounded prides when things don't work out in our favor. Billy's fights don't happen too often, so when they do it gets very intense and that's pretty much all I hear about for the months leading up to it. On the other hand, I am in a constant battle with my diet and weight, and I'm sure it bugs him to hear me talk about it all the time. It must stress him out when he hears me make negative comments about my body. So I guess in the end, we balance out fairly equally. We are both fighting to lose...Billy just goes on to his main event, which is literally fighting to win.
My main event (at least this year) will be the wedding. As I mentioned last week, I decided it may be time to go ahead and try on that wedding dress. So I recruited a support system today made up of my mom, Sarah and Amber. Amber helped me with my bustier and I held my breath as she zipped up my dress. I wish I could say that there was a choir in the background singing my praises when she finished.
Unfortunately, I still have a little ways to go. Of course, my mom and friends told me I looked beautiful. But that's me. I want to feel beautiful in my dress and I didn't have that moment when I looked in the mirror today. But I know how hard I'm working and I am confident that no matter what, I will have that moment, even if it's with the help of my bridal shop's in house seamstress.
I'm going to keep on fighting, and the main event, I'm sure, will be well worth the effort.
Published On: March 15, 2010