May 25th, 2009
Well, I’ve got a lot to say about the entire trip; but I don’t know if I can remember it all now. Maybe I’ll piece it together over the next couple of weeks or post some added updates down the road.
I came in this fight feeling big so I didn’t know how weight loss would be. Thursday, before my last practice of the night, I was 5.5 pounds over. I worked out for six rounds, the last three with plastics on, then sat for ten minutes and just let my body continue to sweat. I wasn’t going to check my weight that night, but at the very end I decided to and was glad I did. Thursday night, at about 10:30 PM, I ended up being only about 2.5 pounds over. Which is a very big deal for me, because it means the day before weigh-ins I get to eat something. Went up to my room and had a protein shake, half a pickle, four slices of tomato and a handful of shredded lettuce. To put that many calories in my body, the night before weigh-ins, is usually unheard of for me. I guess my hard work was going to pay off.
Friday morning I woke up early, 6:50 AM to be exact, first thing that jumped in my mind was to just suit up in my plastics and work out, while everyone else was still sleeping. I thought about going to the spa and getting on a bike or Aerodyne machine. Soon after that I just started to pray and finally I came up with the notion of “God, if I should work out then give me a sign.” Five minutes later, my wife wakes up, tells me she’s going to go for a walk down the strip, and I figured I had just received my answer. I suited up in my plastics, with my sweats over the top, and hit the Vegas strip following my wife and Tysha (Audra’s friend from Hillsboro). We walked for an hour and a half, when I came back into the MGM, the air conditioning felt good and I was tired. Went up to the room, laid on the floor for about ten minutes, jumped up and took a shower, and then went and weighed in on the official scale. I expected to be a pound or two over, but to my pleasant surprise I was half a pound under. Once again a first for me, the morning of a weigh-in I’m usually anywhere from 3-5 pounds over. So weigh-ins were easy this time around, which I’ve always said is half the battle.
Friday night, several of my forum members got together at a karaoke bar. I got to meet up with many of them for the first time. It was nice to finally put some faces with the personalities that I’ve seen on my forum. Here’s a photo of Boomer, the forum member who organized the karaoke party, there are more in the forums:
Click here for more Karaoke pictures.
Boomer also wrote one of his famous “Boomer Tales” about this weekend, so you can read that here.
The morning of the fight, I woke up and had breakfast with my buddies Paul and David. Went back to the room, laid down for about three hours and when I woke up we were close to walking down for the fights. One thing different about this fight was going to be the addition of Marcus Luttrell (author of Lone Survivor). Marcus wanted to talk to me about the mental side of things. With him being a Navy SEAL, what he had to say was very interesting. Actually more than just interesting, he helped out a lot. We talked for a couple of hours before we walked down to the fights. Everything else was pretty normal. Security came up to the room at 6:00, picked up me and my cornermen and walked us straight to the locker room. Walking out to the arena, I could tell I had crowd support and was very thankful for that.
One thing I always do when I get in the cage is look for my wife. It took me a little while to find her, but when I finally did, I could see she was worried. She’s told me countless times that she wants me to retire and, as I ponder the thought, I just know I’m not ready for that step yet.
The fight went like I thought it would. I though my wrestling and strength would play a big role. He was a little more elusive than I thought he would be, so standing I didn’t get to hit him as much as I was wanting to. On the ground he did a very good job of hand control and staying in decent position. I was surprised that all he wanted to do was try to tie me up on the ground. He really didn’t go for any submissions, he didn’t try to gain position, all he wanted to do was make the ref stand us up. There were some instances where the ref couldn’t stand us up because I seemed to be in a dominate position. It’s hard to stand a fighter up when he’s out of the guard.
When he knocked me down in the first round, I didn’t know what hit me. When I finally realized what had happened, I thought it was the same punch that knocked GSP down. My corner eventually told me that it was a head butt. His two minor submission attempts never even had me worried. When the fight was over, I was pretty confident I was going to get my hand raised. Some people have asked why I raised his hand at the end. Actually I didn’t, he raised mine. He also told me that, no matter what the decision was, he was done with the rivalry.
After the fight, I had things I wanted to say, but to be honest that head butt affected my whole fight and I couldn’t remember anything that I was going to say afterwards. Of course, I wanted to thank God for the win, thank my family and teammates for the support, and all the fans who showed up.
You know it’s funny, I keep track of little things, like who goes to the fights, who’s supportive afterwards and even who comes up to me after a loss and brings it up (in a negative way). With a hometown of 5000 people, a small farming community, I’ve had people, even friends, bet against me. They said it was because of the odds. Well it would have been a mistake this time.
Anyway, I definitely want to thank all of my forum members for coming out and my family and friends for all the support. It was nice to see everybody out there.
Usually, I have an after fight party at some big club that has loud music and wall-to-wall people. This time I wanted to do something different, we found a nice quiet bar thanks to Scott Luttrell (Marcus’ younger brother). As we hung out there, I shot a little pool and got to talk with all my friends that were there, without having to yell.
My webmaster was out there, so I got a lot of photos from the trip. Here are a few photos from the fight, we’ll post the rest on the forums:
Post-fight press conference and miscellaneous pictures
So all in all I had a great trip and a lot of fun. I got my hand raised, met some forums members that I’ve talked to for years, and saw some old friends. One more time, I want to thank my sponsors so here they are:
I’ll come back in a couple of days and tell you my thoughts on the Machida fight. -matt