What role did you get to play at UFC217?
I was invited to go with UFC Heavyweight Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris. I handle his strength and conditioning. My role at the event was to make sure he stayed on track to peek on fight night, which he did. Throughout the week, I made sure he stayed on track nutritionally, with his hydration, physically and mentally. I made sure he was warmed up and primed for practices and the main event.
Had you ever been?
This was my first UFC event. I have been to other MMA events, but there is a great difference.
What was the best part of the whole experience?
Wow! That is my reaction summed up. Hands down one of the most intense athletic competitions I have been a part of. As a whole, the entire event was awesome! 3 Title fights and a lot of bad blood on the main card. 3 belt exchanges. The preliminaries were filled with excitement and controversy as well. I spent 4 days with the world’s elite UFC athletes and coaches. I was able to talk shop with a few well-known as well as up and coming strength and conditioning coaches. I got to experience first-hand one of the greatest sporting productions live in an iconic venue, Madison Square Garden. The weigh in at Madison Theatre was intense. The tension was thick in the hotel and grew as the week progressed toward fight night. It was awesome!
Do you plan on returning if so will you do it any differently?
Yes. The Big Ticket should be in contention for the Heavy weight belt in 2018, hands down.
Did you get to witness the mental aspect of what these athletes go through?
Lol! Every day we work on the mental aspects. The previous fight The Big Ticket accepted was a last-minute but with a former world champion on about 3 hours’ notice. At this event, he faced his previous opponent. He took the fight to him and stood out as the only competitor present in the octagon. Unfortunately his opponent took advantage of a novice referees lack of experience, faked a low blow and quit after a controversial blow by Walt which at worst should have resulted in a point taken. However, the official allowed the athlete the decision to continue or walk away, which he choose to walk away resulting in a loss by disqualification for The Big Ticket. Little known to just about everyone, his opponent was more than willing to fight Walt in the medical tent behind scenes… I’m just saying…
What can athletes learn from these athletes?
I would say the biggest takeaways would be discipline through practice, and perseverance. It takes a lot of sacrifices on multiple fronts to be successful long term.