I got to the Brazos Center about 4:30 on Saturday. Walking up to the doors I couldn’t help but smile, here I was, a fighter a warrior ready to go to battle. I walked in took a deep breath and opened the double doors in front of me and there it was. One of the prettiest things I have ever seen in my life, an empty arena with all the lights shining on the cage I would be fighting in that night. I walked to the locker rooms in the back where the other fighters from the blue corner were sitting around waiting for the rules meeting. I took a seat, put on my headphones, and took a minute to take everything in. I have been back there many times as a journalist, but this time, this time I was there as a fighter.
I was very anxious but surprisingly not nervous, I wasn’t trying to make it out to be more than it was because at the end of the day it’s just two men in a fight for the entertainment of others. After the rules meeting it was just kind of a waiting game. Everyone else in the room seemed fine with just sitting there and waiting, but I had to move around. I went out front to say hello to all my family and friends that had shown up, I walked up and down the halls in the back, and must have pissed fifteen times. There was no way in hell I could just sit there and wait.
At this point I’m just having a good time talking to everyone, it’s like the fight was the last thing on my mind. Then a guy from my gym walks up to me and tells me, “coaches want you in the back.” I knew my fight was coming up and just like that I became a different person.
I went into the locker room so Arturo could wrap my hands. I had my headphones on and music blaring, just watching Arturo wrap my hands. I did some mitt work with Bobby and Jermaine, and then one of the “suits” comes in and calls my name… I was next.
So Jermaine, Bobby, Tre and I, headed to the fighter entrance and waited for the fight before mine to end. I was watching the fight, but couldn’t tell you anything about it; my mind was ready for war and hopefully my body was too. As they called my name out and the crowd started cheering all I could see was the cage in front of me, but I quickly realized, “This isn’t my fucking song.” Yeah the DJ messed but I didn’t care I couldn’t hear anything anyways I just had tunnel vision. I walked to the cage, fight shirt and shorts being worn like badges, Karate Kid headband on to try to scare my opponent, and a rosary around my neck for protection… It was time.
As my opponent stepped in the cage I stared him down trying to let him know if he was going to beat me it wasn’t going to be easy. They brought us to the center of the cage for last minute instructions and we touched gloves then went back to our corners waiting for the ref to tell us to start. My opponent Raymond Nanez had only one previous fight in which he lost and I had watched that fight almost a thousand times in the past eight weeks. I thought maybe he will start off with a round kick like in his last fight, and sure as shit he did. I caught it and tried to connect with a cross but he ducked out of the way, I pushed him up against the cage and took me down. I was able to reverse it and land a suplex and gain top control and mount position. The first round ended and I felt great.
I go to my corner sit on the stool and start listening to my coaches advice, I was able to catch my breath and lower my hear rate pretty easily, then a horn went off the stool was gone and I was standing there staring my opponent down while he did the same to me. That’s when I noticed my arms and legs feeling like they had weight added to them, I had experienced what fighters call an “adrenaline dump”, I knew if I had any chance to win I was going to have to dig deep; and Nanez was ready to push me farther than my body had ever been pushed before.
We fought two more rounds of non-stop back and forth action, but when the bell rang for the end of the third I knew I didn’t do enough. Nanez was more prepared than I thought and the toughest 5’5″ person I have ever seen, I knew the judges would give the fight to him, he deserved it. After the fight I immediately went to the locker room and cried. I felt I had let everyone down, my family, my friends, and my coaches; I was in my backyard for fucks sake. How did I blow it? This was my dream since I was a kid, same venue and everything except in my dream I always won.
My coaches, team, family, and friends had nothing but good things to say; hell even a few complete strangers wanted my picture. I did it; I trained, I fought, and I lost. I knew if I loss I would never want to do it again. Why put myself through that again? But I didn’t feel that way at all. I said to myself, “this can’t be my only fight….I need to know what it’s like to win.” So I will be back one day hopefully at 145lbs.
I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my coaches and teammates at Windy Sport and Fitness, my sponsors, and most importantly my family and friends. I stayed up until 1am that night returning messages to those that had wished me well, and can’t wait to do it again.
So, What’s it like to be a fighter? You have to step in there and find out for yourself.
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