TUF 11 Sherblog: Commitment is Power

By Court McGee Apr 29, 2010
“It’s not the big things that make a difference, it’s the small things,” assistant coach Howard Davis Jr. said to me after a mitt-work session.

Howard told me my footwork was a little off. My lead foot needed to face the heart of my opponent at all times. That way I wouldn’t waste energy and I’d have power behind my punches.

I’d noticed at the beginning of my MMA career that I was strong and always had a lot of power, but I felt as though conditioning was No. 1 for me. That was something that I could control on a daily basis. Something I couldn’t control was being a world champion in boxing, jiu-jitsu, etc. However, I could constantly improve on them, which is what Howard was showing me now.

The question that I had for Howard was that I didn’t feel like I had power behind my punches. What could I do? I had pretty good technique, but looking at my record, I hadn’t knocked anybody out.

“That’s commitment, son,” said Howard. “Commitment is power, so commit to your punch.”

These two things stood out to me. They made perfect sense. Commitment is something that I struggle with day to day. I can’t even commit to what shirt I’m going to wear most days, and everybody knows it doesn’t f---ing matter (unless, sponsors are paying you to wear their shirt. Ha ha.)

We’d been on the show for 16 days and the first round of fights was almost done. There were only a few guys left for me to fight. Prior to getting on the show, I’d had two fights get cancelled. I’d trained a six-week camp for each of them and then found out I had made it on the show. I trained for four more weeks, then fought to get in the house. I usually take one to two rest days a week.

Now, 16 days in, I’d pretty much had only had one to two days a week of rest for 16 weeks. All this training was as if I was training for a fight, so it was pretty intense. We had a couple days of rest in the house after our fights to get in. Since that, we’d trained everyday.

At this time I think the coaches were starting to respect my work ethic. I work very hard at everything I do, especially when it comes to fighting.

One day, I was really tired in practice and I did everything I could do just to stay standing up. We all finished practice and circled up for the team cheer like we do at the end of every practice. When I put my hand into the pile, the coaches uttered a few words and I couldn’t understand them. I got really hot, and then bam, I passed out. When I came to, I was on my knees with my coaches and teammates surrounding me asking, “You alright, dude?” Needless to say, they were going to make me take the next day off.

I hopped up off my knees and the first person I saw was Tito. When I passed him, he looked at me and asked, “Are you ready to fight?” I didn’t say much, but subconsciously I knew I was ready. In every practice I put in 100 percent and try to leave everything on the mat. I practice like I fight -- I try and leave it all there. And when I don’t, it’s disappointing to me.

I knew when the time came for me to fight I would be ready. I was close to weight and my desire to win was there. I wanted to hurt the next guy I fought. It was f--king on and I would go down guns a’ blazing.

Then came fight picks. I figured because of Tito’s comment to me, I was getting picked next. I was sitting there waiting for him to pick me. He said “Kris McCray will be fighting…” as he looked me in the eyes, “…Bryant,” who was sitting next to me.

After the pick was made the guys cut weight, weighed in, and then it was fight day. The general consensus seemed to be that McCray was going to smash Josh Bryant. Like I said before, Josh and I practiced together almost every day and became close. I knew Josh wouldn’t get smashed by McCray. McCray said out of all his amateur and professional fights, he’d only been out of the first round once. I knew if Josh struck outside of his clinch and pushed it past the first round, he could beat him. And what do you know? He did just that.

The funny thing is there was a few guys betting T-shirts that McCray would beat Bryant in the first round. Josh is a good spirited, funny, and nice guy. So to all outwardly appearances, you wouldn’t think he was a fighter. Fortunately, this is MMA and anything is possible. That’s one of the reasons why this sport f--king rocks.

To find out more about Court McGee, visit www.courtmcgee.net and follow him on Twitter at court_mcgee
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