Like many people out there, I love to watch a good fight. People can’t help but stare, whether it’s a boxing match, a scrap in a hockey game or a couple of idiots swinging wildly at each other in a bar. There is some deep instinct in all of us that makes us slow down to look at a car accident or rewind our Tivo’s to watch a catcher get run over at home plate. We are all interested in the morbid and abnormal, whether we admit it or not. This is what drives so many of us to shell out 50 bucks on a Saturday night to watch the UFC or any MMA event.

The men who dare to enter the octagon for our entertainment are following in the footsteps of the gladiators of ancient Rome. MMA has quickly become the fastest growing sport in America, and new gyms and fighting organizations are popping up all across the country, despite the worst economic depression in nearly 100 years.

MMA is a fairly new sport, it was only 5 years ago that former presidential candidate and current US Senator John McCain called this sport “human cockfighting”. Since then the sport has been legalized and governed by numerous states, including Arizona.

The UFC’s reality television show, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) got many hooked on the sport including me. I love the inside look at how these guys had to train in so many different ways in order to compete in a sport that blends elements of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, muay-thai kickboxing and wrestling. These fighters endure so much pain and sacrifice just to get the opportunity to step into a ring, encased by a chain link fence, and try to knock out the man in front of them or force them to submit.

This is the ultimate one-on-one match-up that can not be found anywhere else. It is for these reasons, and many others, that I will attempt this challenge.


Over the course of the next several weeks I am going to do what millions of MMA fans have dreamed about from their living rooms, couches and local watering holes. I am going to train in mixed martial arts. I will trade in my laptop and Wi-Fi for trunks and gloves. The guys at the Lion’s Den in Scottsdale have agreed to let me train at one of the elite MMA gyms in the country to find out what it really takes to be a real fighter.

Let me make one point very clear. I do not think that I can/will become the next Chuck Liddell or Fedor Emelianko. I am not going to be “The Spider”, “The Natural”, “The Prodigy” or “The Iceman”. I have no illusions of grandeur to one day fight in the UFC, as a professional or even as an amateur. I am simply on my own “Vision Quest” to find out if I have what it takes to train and keep up with the best.

I have decided to take this daunting challenge because I feel that I am at a point in my life that many MMA fans, or any males in general, can relate to. I am 30 years old, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weigh about 160 pounds (sopping wet).

I grew up in a middle class family in a small suburb of Phoenix. I have played sports for most of my life including baseball, basketball and eventually wrestling in high school. About 4 years after high school, I walked on to a college soccer team and was rewarded with a scholarship for 1 season. That was the extent of my athletic career and since then I have occasionally played on adult recreational soccer and softball teams.

I’ve been on the couch numerous times, watching Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture on TV thinking to myself, “Could I do that?” and “I would love to be able to fight like that!” So at 30 years old, I realize that I am not getting any younger and if I am ever going to try this, now is the time.

I will be starting this challenge at the Lion’s Den by taking a couple of weeks of BJJ, followed my MMA amateur and muay-thai classes. I will be taking the same group classes that are available to anyone and intend to give you a detailed account of what it’s like to train in the fastest growing sport in the world.

Each week I will provide an update describing what I have practiced and learned in these classes and how my body feels (or how much pain I am in). I will also be covering a different topic each week such as fitness, nutrition, martial arts philosophy and more.

Check back here next week at for my first update where I describe how badly I get my butt kicked in jiu-jitsu class.

Special thanks to the Lion’s Den in Scottsdale “America’s Premier Mixed Martial Arts Training Facility”

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