A friend gave Robert Emerson some advice: get yourself clean, and all of your problems will go away.
“I just thought it was bull hockey,” Emerson told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “I was like, ‘Oh, whatever.’ I actually went to an [Alcoholics Anonymous] meeting with him and I just had a crazy revelation that night, and here it is, 60 days later, I won my fight. I’m back on the horse. Every single problem that I’ve had is completely gone now.”
The fight Emerson refers to is his March 9 win over Savant Young at Tachi Palace Fights 12. His first bout in more than a year, Emerson submitted the IFL veteran with a rear-naked choke 4:29 into the third round.
“It just reassured me that the lifestyle I’m living now and all the decisions that I’m making is for a purpose,” Emerson said. “I felt good in there. My conditioning was good. I didn’t even sit down or use a stool in between rounds. I felt fine. It was just a testament to my decision-making and the lifestyle I’m living now. My mind is just clear. I’m a few months sober now. Not that I was a crazy drug addict or a crazy, crazy party animal before or anything, but I just dabbled in mediocrity here and there. But as an athlete, that’s not really tolerable. I feel like I kind of just woke up out of this cloud, almost like I woke up out of a spell of the last eight years.”
Emerson has been fighting professionally for almost a decade. When he was 20 years old, he went the distance with Jens Pulver, who at the time was considered the top lightweight in the world. Five years later he was on “The Ultimate Fighter 5,” after which he experienced mixed success in the UFC. Now, though, Emerson says he has made changes in his life that will allow him to reach his potential.
“I had a real religious experience,” he said. “I just feel like God is helping me now that I’m willing to help myself. Everything in my life is right now. I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be and going in the direction now where I’m finally supposed to go. I feel like I put my life on hold and I took the hold button off and I’m moving forward, and every cell in my body tells me I’m going now.”
Emerson is only 30 years old. In his view, his best days are ahead, and they may include a return to the Octagon.
“I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket,” Emerson said. “I’m just excited for my career from here on out. I’m going to fight as the fights come. I want to stay as active as possible. I’m looking to fight next month, May at the latest, and just keep on a roll. I think my fighting and my performances will have the UFC looking for me hopefully by summer time.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:32:47).