What a year…

How do I start this blog? By finally telling the truth of the hardest year in my life. It’s nearing Christmas and people are out going shopping or attending parties. I myself have been stuck in the house for the last few weeks with my snoring doggie by my side and to be fair to Oscar he has keep me upbeat all through my recovery from another surgery.
Let’s do a flashback of moments on this and help my Alpha Force understand why I didn’t perform to the highest level on two World Wide MMA events.
Flashback one, sometime around May I started getting bad lower back pain, rested it for a bit and tried to keep up the training. I had a very big moment coming on the horizion and InvictaFc July was what I had been waiting for and nothing would stop me getting there. I had dealt with pain from my neck for eight years before the fusion surgery and still trained everyday and fought. The difference with this back injury was it really stopped me from training in wrestling and jiu jitsu. I had to go without doing any lifting for six weeks and this affected my strength and conditioning work, which is a major key going into a fight. I guess at the time I thought with physio and rest it would pass.

Flashback two getting a call from the commission saying I need a full set of medicals done within two days. Holy Batman because what followed in achieving a fight license was complete madness. Me on a seventeen hour flight to Vegas while unknown to myself I had locked fusion joints, a herniated disc and bad nerve damage in my spinal cord. We only found this out in a more detailed MRI after the fight on Invicta.
I remember on the plane journey just sitting with this feeling of pain constantly darting through my back, the only relief was getting up and going to stand in the bathroom. When I finally got to my hotel room in Planet Hollywood I dropped my bag and also my tears on the floor. You have got to understand this was the first time I had gone anywhere on my own and without my coach Dermot.
I know Shannon did her best to get me somewhere to train but I lost training time in medicals and the commission meeting. Also some coaches were too busy to train me and I’m forever grateful to Roxanne Modafferi plus the super kind coaches and fighters at Syndicate MMA they kept me going.
When I did train in the sparring classes or with Roxy I’d try to hide the pain and keep going but evenually I’d have to finish up early because it hurt to even walk and in my heart I knew it was going wrong. I’d usually go back to the hotel at night and just eat whatever I could find in supermarkets to keep me on weight. That was one very lonely week but I will say Shannon told me I could come up anytime I wanted to her room for a chat.
I didn’t want to annoy the president of Invicta Fc because I saw how busy she was putting together the details of the Invicta card and getting my medicals sorted. Anytime I did go up to her room she treated me with respect, kindness and she made me laugh.
Shannon works very hard to make sure WMMA is represented at the highest level for the world to watch and I never got the feeling off her that it was about money. For that reason as well I fought because I didn’t want all her hard work and costs going to waste and to be fair I had a nation behind me. I’d get messages nearly everyday leading up to the fight from my Alpha Force which were filled with love and hope. How could I let these people down.
Flashback three, I need a work visa and guess what the American Embassy have a big problem, the system that prints them is down for a whole month!!! That was the middle of June. WTF! At this stage how Dermot didn’t get a heart attack trying to manage all this paperwork and legal documents with Shannon I don’t know! He spent many nights up to all hours connecting with America to try and get the Visa sorted. He was my coach and he was being pulled away by all of this and this affected the camp.
It looked like many times the fight wouldn’t happen and many times I’d be training and have to stop to answer questions or sign documents. My stress level was high. I remember going for the Visa interview in Dublin three days before I flew for the fight and hoping I would get it, again another day of training missed. I was really angry and stressed and in pain at this stage. I did get my Visa of course but again it cost in time and money to me.
Flashback Four, getting an email for Invicta saying I needed a pregnancy test done at a certain time so the commission would have it, normally not a problem but when it’s seven o clock at night and you are teaching in the gym your last class it makes it hard. If the test and results were not faxed over that night again I wouldn’t be fighting. I closed the gym and raced to my doctor who lucky enough was working late and really helped me out.
I can’t say enough good things about my Alpha Force around me that helped with many a problem that came up in this fight and for them I made sure I showed up on that night at Invicta. I may have lost but these people have never left my side, no matter what happens they are true to believing in me. This also makes me defiant and drives me to return next year on better terms.
End of the day I entered that Cage and lost in a way I had never experienced before and nothing could prepare me for that feeling. I made huge mistakes and paid the highest price. I can’t turn back time but now by choosing to have the surgery, I’m finally taking control and over the last five months especially I’ve made steps to change myself and become a new fighter and person.
Flashback Five, maybe this is the one that’s the hardest to tell the truth on, because it hurts the deepest still. Myself and Dermot went through a separation last year. We were seventeen years together and it was hard, crushing and every other horrible feeling I can think of when you go through something this big in your life. My loses in the Cage aren’t directly because of it but again it was another ripple in my fight life.
I want people to understand sometimes the person you see in the Cage has the same problems in life as many others and more importantly I’m human too and not the hero you thing that is on the screen. I guess I’ve always had a good Poker Face but some of the hardest shots I’ve taken were always outside the Cage.
Myself and Dermot had our toughest year but not once did his belief in me change. We will always care for each other and run our gym together. We have a friendship that’s unbreakable  and together we are going to walk straight through the storm. He is my guardian always next to me when I need him the most.

  

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