Written by: MMA Valor Staff
In an ever evolving sport we all have our favorites, some are legends with long drawn out careers in mixed martial arts, others are easy to forget and one knockout punch or decision can change the course of the rest of their lives. Today were going to shine some light on what happens when you just can’t hang with the best in the world anymore. So many young athletes dream about making it to the highest level of competition out there, very few make it, even fewer have longevity. How could one expect to last in a sport where the other competitors travel the world just to learn how to take your head off with punches, kicks, or submissions? Then one day your manager gets the call that you are not good enough anymore for the spotlight, and your whole world comes crashing down in an instant. All that time, money, blood, sweat, missed family time, and tears now leaves you with an empty void, and a small savings to show for what you once were.
Many fighters have come and gone from large organizations, and gone down the wrong path. Some believe the more off the wall statements and actions they spew into the media will get more booked fights and more money. This I believe is horrible for the sport, and though I know these guys are just trying to keep a roof over their head, there are better options then suicide attempts and mass hysteria. Two of the biggest examples of what not to do are Junie Browning and John “War Machine” Koppenhaver. Since Junie’s release from the UFC he, overdosed on sixteen prescription anti-anxiety pills, made it to a hospital to only to assault nurses and staff and threaten to “ kill and rape” their families. Only to shortly after try and commit e-suicide over his face book and scare what fans he has left. This may have worked out as planned for him; he earned lots of media attention and a spot on MMA Big show’s card vs. a 1-0 MMA newcomer in which he pulled off an easy win. Then there was John Koppenhaver who started his descent while he was still in the UFC. His submission loss at UFC 84 was bad, but things got worse from there. He followed with less than honorable low blows at recently deceased Evan Tanner, refused opponents from the UFC and was cut. This put his alter ego into full blast, as he then legally changed his name to War Machine. He jumped a guy in front of his gym, made public statements about beating women, and how the president of the United States should be assassinated. He Beat his girlfriend and several others at a party for his new found career in porn. The icing on the cake was his suicide attempt over twitter paired with horrible statements, about police, the president, and service members not being hero’s just doing it for the money. Also lets not forget Justin Levens, a prior UFC fighter who turned out a few loses, wound up in a murder suicide involving his wife. This brings a bad light to mixed martial arts and makes the fighters look like monsters to the anti fighting crowd, but every sport is going to have a few bad apples just like Tyson, Vick, and Woods. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and a better path for these fighters set out right in front of them.
The fighting spirit is a very strong mental attribute in which I believe not that many people can posses. Sometimes a rebound from a loss is a more important life move then making it into the Big show itself, for it provides a career and something to wake up to everyday with calm nerves not wondering if it’s going to be your last day on the job. Frank Shamrock is the perfect example, he just was not up to the current progression of mixed martial arts so he dipped into announcing and now has a very successful career working for strike force. Vinny Magalhes suffered a knockout loss to Ryan Bader on the season finale of TUF 9 but moved on to be the lead jiu jitsu trainer for the Tapout center in Las Vegas. Kit cope lost to Kenny Florian, Razor Rob, and Cameron Dollar but then became a consultant for a new MMA production known as the Revolution Fight League. Also fighters like Matt Lindland, Alistar Overeem, and Fabrico Werdum have ventured to other large MMA organizations after the UFC and became very successful fighters. “The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart” and I hope to see in the future more fighters keep motivated and turn a defeat into success, instead of trying to cry out for attention, and shine a bad light on this sport we all love so much.