Monday, February 11, 2013

Thank God for sight


Back in 2010, when I was training at Sitsongpeenong, I got pink eye really bad (the day before I left). One of the worst experiences of my life, I would never wish that on my worst enemy. I was completely useless. I couldn’t go outside as the sun, even with my eyes shut, was too intense for me. I couldn’t even look at a computer or TV screen. My vision was gone and my eyes just leaked 24/7. I got some eye drops that were supposed to clear it up. They really bothered me as I put them in, burned a bit. The more the days went on the worse the burning got and my eyes had showed no improvement. I decided to stop putting them in as I just had a sense that something was wrong. Finally one day I was on the phone with my mom and she had told me how when I was a kid I had gotten pink eye and apparently was allergic to the drops given to me so they had to give me some special kind. Well I told my doctor this and was able to get the correct medication and it cleared my eyes up, finally. Well the redness had gone away as had the leaking eyes, only problem was my vision was a mess. It was that feeling of it the middle of the night and someone turning the lights on all of a sudden. Everything bothered them. Any kind of light whether it was the sun or artificial, and when sweat got in them it burned like crazy. I could see but everything was blurry, as if I was under water with my eyes open. Needless to say this freaked me out. One of the things I was worried most about was whether I would be able to pass the vision test and still be allowed to fight. I was thinking that there was no way as I could hardly see anything. I finally was able to get in to see the ophthalmologist and have my eyes checked out. I explained to him what had happened. He told me that the infection had scarred my retinas and that my vision was permanently damaged. He did however tell me that it was still good enough to fight. I remember thinking ‘how freaking bad does your eye sight have to be not to pass that test?’ as I could barely see anything at all. He told me that it wouldn’t get any worse but that without surgery it would never get better. He also told me that the surgery might not fix it and there was a chance it might even make it worse. “Ah well that’s a refreshing thought, thanks Doc.” Well I had been living with my eyes like this for a while now and could basically function fine. I could drive and get around without too much trouble. The only thing that would really freak me out is the sun was almost unbearable so I just had to get super dark shades. Another bring problem, when I trained, was that when sweat would get in my eyes it would burn so bad it was unbearable and it would make it to where I couldn’t see. It was like having salt poured in your eyes. Obviously this worried me but I figured I would just have to deal with it and fight anyway. So I told my Doc I would think about it and get back to him. I remember thanking God that I was still able to fight and praying for Him to restore my vision but that I was just happy to be able to see and to be able to continue doing what I love. A few months went by and it seemed like I was getting better at my messed up vision. Luckily the pain went away when I had sweat in it, and for that I was extremely grateful. Well I had that eye test done before so I didn’t have to get another vision test until the following year. So early 2011 I went back to the same doctor and got my yearly eye exam for the commission. My doctor asked how my eyes were. I told them they were ok and that they didn’t bother me much but I figured I must just be used to them by now. So he gives me all the normal tests and stuff. He has this weird look on his face the whole time, I didn’t think too much of it. Finally he finishes and asks me “So you went and had the surgery done then?” I say ‘No, why?’ He tells me that all of the scar tissue is gone and my vision was better (can’t remember the exact numbers it was when it was at its worst or what it was at this point but it went from extremely bad, to not great but pretty good). He looked extremely puzzled. I tell him “No, I thought it had been getting better but I figured I had just gotten used to it.” He couldn’t believe it, neither could I. He says “That is one of the strangest things I have ever seen.” He tells me congrats and sends me on my way. I left amazed but knowing that God had been the only one who could have restored my vision and I got on my knees and thanked him for my sight. The following year I got my yearly exam once again and came to find out that my vision had been restored to 20/20, unreal. Well here I am almost 3 years after that original vision scare. I was sitting on my bed in Thailand, at Sitmonchai, watching a movie on my computer. All of a sudden my eyes started getting all weird. Kind of hard to explain it but it’s almost like when someone takes a picture and you just have that flash of light in your eyes for a while after. It’s as if it’s in the corner of your eye and when you try focus on it, it keeps moving. Well it was like that accept this was more of a big circle and it was all these really tiny like triangles that were all different colors like a kaleidoscope, spinning around and changing colors. Needless to say it was really freaking me out. I kept trying to remember if I had been poked in the eye or had gotten something in it. Started thinking that maybe it was from staring at the computer screen too long or something. So I closed my computer and tried to read a book. Well my eyes started getting worse and the light, or whatever it was had went from a small object to a much larger once that was almost completely blocking all of my vision and I was having a hard time seeing anything. Not only that but I started feeling this really dark presence and I started freaking out a bit. All these scenarios started going through my head about if I went blind tonight and what would happen tomorrow. I pictured myself going through the airport blind, not being able to do anything and having to be helped the whole way. It seemed so real, and seemed like it would definitely be a possible especially if this kept getting worse. I started wondering if I should go grab someone and see if we could go to a 24 hour eye doctor, if they even have something like that. I started panicking. I didn’t know what to do. Just then I said a prayer, halfheartedly I must admit, almost a wish. I asked God to heal me and take whatever this was away and restore my vision. It was still there and the more that time passed the more I freaked out. I was thinking how fragile we are and how quickly things in our lives can change. Was I going to live the rest of my life like this, or worse? I picked up my Bible and stared reading. The more I read the more powerful the words became to me. I had opened it up to where it had last been bookmarked, can’t remember when the last time I had opened it was. It was on Psalms 91, which I had underlined all of. I started reading out loud to myself and drew strength from this. The more I read the better I felt. I thought that I was starting to be able to see but didn’t know if it was just because I was focusing on the reading or not. I felt that I could still see that weirdness in the corner of my eye. I put that in the back of my mind and continued. “No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.” These words were so powerful to me and I felt them giving me strength. As I finished the chapter I closed my eyes and prayed. I thanked God for everything He had done for me. For restoring my sight the first time, for always showing me the way even when I saw none, for taking any fear away from me whenever those thoughts would creep in my mind. For allowing me to turn my life around and giving me the strength to do what I do and for allowing me to touch countless people’s lives in the process. I thanked Him for allowing me this gift of being able to fight and even if I was never able to fight again I thanked Him for all I had been able to do with that gift. I thanked Him for being with me regardless of whether my vision came back; I knew that He would get me through it no matter what. I asked Him once again, this time with full faith and sincerity, to restore my sight and to take whatever darkness this was, which I could physically feel in my room, away from me and away from this place. I said Amen, opened my eyes. I looked around, my vision was back, that light, or whatever it was, was gone now. My eyes still felt a little weird, but my vision was definitely back. Almost coming to tears I thanked God once again. I was once again reminded how fragile this life, and everything we have in it, is. I’m not writing this to try and preach to anyone, or to say you need to believe this or anything like that. Just sharing what has happened to me, as I always do, and I know that there are people out there that will take some good from this. I thank God for restoring my vision, once again, and for everything that He has done in my life. I thank God for all of you and am grateful for every person I am able to affect positively in this life. “Face your fears, live your dreams”-Kevin Ross

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sitmonchai


5/20/11

Sitting on a plane with Chaz waiting to go to LA, then Japan and then to Thailand. This will be his first trip there, my 5th. We fought last week at Stateline, Chaz against Ken Tran and I fought Mark DeLuca, with both of us winning. Decided to check out a new camp this time, Sitmonchai, one because I heard Sitsongpeenong is really busy right now and secondly because we’re only going to be there for just over 3 weeks so I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to check out a new spot. Originally I was supposed to be fighting Liam Harrison in LA the week after we get back, that was the reason we are only going for a short time, but it was just moved to later on this year. I was offered a fight June 25th in New York against Rami. I will probably end up taking it because there are no elbows or knees to the head so there is very little chance of getting injured prior to my fight with Saenchai August 31st. I’m still trying to figure out if I’m going to go back to the states, fight, then come right back to Thailand and get ready for Saenchai or if I will just train at home for that one. I’m excited that Chaz is finally getting to go to Thailand, I’m sure he will love it, however he can be picky when it comes to food and stuff so who knows haha. I just hope these flights will go quickly and smoothly, hopefully I can sleep some of the way. We get in super late Saturday night so we will have all of Sunday to rest once we are there. My hand is still pretty sore from my fight but hopefully it will be ok or else I’ll just have to lay off of it.

-I’m just sitting here on the plane, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for my life. I can’t even believe where I am today. Just over 8 years ago I made a choice to turn my life around and now here I am with 46 fights behind me, I’ve traveled the world, won titles, been through wars, wins/losses, injuries, sacrifices, ups and downs. It’s so surreal when I take a step back and look at it all. I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s just second nature to me now, normal, I have to remind myself that to most people my life is pretty crazy, I just doesn’t cross my mind often. But times like this, going to Thailand for the 5th time, it just all hits me and I am overwhelmed with emotion.I think back to that day I decided to take a different path. It was such a simple decision to make, as it was something that I had wanted to do most of my life, following through was the real test. So many people make changing your life seem so difficult….well it is and it isn’t. If you look at what you want to accomplish, the whole picture, it can seem like an impossible task but just like anything else it’s just one step at a time. You don’t need to see how you’re going to accomplish the entire thing, all you need to do is see each step in front of you along the way and take them. My dream was to be a fighter, I didn’t even think about where it would take me, all I knew was that I wanted to be in the ring. I knew that I needed to quit drinking, that I needed to change my lifestyle if I had any hopes of accomplishing this dream. That was the first step and it took me over 6 years just to do that, but once that happened everything was set in motion. From there on out it was just one step at a time. I quit drinking/partying, got in a gym and dedicated every second of my life to accomplishing my dream. Was it difficulty? More than you could imagine. Was I worried about failing? Of course. Why do you think it took me so long to even get started. All you need to do is make that first step and your entire life can take a new direction, you just need to set it in motion, never know where you might end up. It took me 9 months to finally get in the ring, I was so happy, only to be crushed and stopped in the 3rd round. Of course I was devastated but at the same time it light a fire in me that has never gone out. Now here I am 8 years later and I’m ranked in the top 10 in the world and I’m going to be getting in the ring with one of the greatest fighters of all time, insane! I just can’t believe that I’m here, it’s been a crazy ride, and I’m just doing my best to hold on. I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it has been getting here, what I’ve gone through, what I’ve sacrificed,  but it’s all been worth it. There have been countless times that I’ve wanted to just give it all up. But my friends, family and fans have always been there to give me that push when I truly needed it. I don’t know how far this all will go but it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey. Knowing that I’ve touched someone’s life in a positive way, to me, is one of the greatest things that you can do in this life. So often I want to ask them, “Really, why me?”, but the answer isn’t important. What is important is that I know I’ve helped people in some way and to me that is priceless, no matter how hard it gets that is what keeps me going. At the end of my career the thing that I will really look back on is whether or not I was able to inspire and touch people’s lives. Wins, losses, titles, all that stuff is going to be there but when it’s all said and done it’s not about your record, it’s about how you were as a fighter, in and out of the ring. Every day is a gift, you never know which one will be your last. No matter the fear, hesitations, or whatever it is that keeps you from going after what in your heart you know that you were meant for, whatever that may be, go after it, no exceptions. It will probably be the most difficult thing that you have ever done but I can promise you that no matter what, even if you never reach that goal, you will be able to look yourself in the mirror every day for the rest of your life knowing that you gave it your all. And friends, that’s something that no one can put a price on. Face your fears, live your dreams, take a chance!

-Well that was one of the quickest, smoothest flights I’ve ever had. Ten hours felt like less than four. It’s probably cause I was barely conscious the whole time. Just a seven hour flight from here(Japan) to Bangkok, thank goodness. They have a guy meeting us at the airport that is going to drive us to the gym, which is about two hours outside the city. Just hope that we can find him hahaha. I remember when I went to England to corner Patti and I had no idea how to find the person who was picking me up. They had told me where to meet them but there was no one there. I had no one’s number and no way to find them. What made it worse was that I didn’t know what they looked like and I was pretty sure they didn’t know what I looked like either, it was stressful. I just had to say ‘Woosah’, turn it over to God, and know everything would work out. I just sat down near where they had told me and waited. After sometime a guy comes up, having seen my gym bag, and asked if I was ‘Kevin’, it all worked out. I’m sure this time will work out as well. I have a picture of the guy we are supposed to meet and a location, we’ll see. I’m so glad that we are getting the Saturday night. Actually we probably won’t arrive to the camp until about 2am Sunday but we will still have all day to rest then start training on Monday. If I’m feeling up to it I’ll train Monday morning but if not than definitely that night. I’m sure that I will be fine though, I feel great. I love my crazy life.

-Well we’re here. Got to the camp around 2am, I’m so tired! It seems nice, old school, just the way I like it. Just going to rest tomorrow and then hit it hard Monday.

5/21/11

Well we got to the camp this morning around 2am, was about an hour and a half drive from the airport. For some reason the second I stepped out of the cab my entire body just started aching. I woke up around 9 this morning and had breakfast, it was so good. There’s one other foreigner here, Mike from Canada. Nice guy, said he’s been here for about two weeks. Layed down for a bit after we ate then Mike took us down to the shops so we could try and find a power converter. Chaz brought one from home but it already blew up hahaha. Here showed us around the town, there’s actually a lot more here than I expected. I mean we are in the sticks but they have some stores and markets, it’s nice. We weren’t able to find a converter, he said they have an open market here at night and they might have one. We went back to the room for a bit but then Chaz wanted to go grab some beers so we headed to the 7/11. I got some chocolate and other goodies, went back to the room to eat them then passed out. I woke up a few hours to someone kicking pads, whoever it was was killing them. I didn’t think that I would be able to fall back asleep but next thing I knew Chaz was waking me up telling me it was time for diner. I was so out of it, felt like I was on drugs. The food here is so good, and the camp just has a great close nit feel to it, I really like it. I’m looking forward to training tomorrow.

5/24/11

Well two days down and my body is a wreck. Training is great here, rough as usual but great. The trainers and fighters here are awesome. Pii A is the owner, super nice guy, speaks a little English. I felt ok training yesterday but the humidity is killing me. We run like 5-6 miles in the morning then another 3-4 before our afternoon session. Not as bad as the 10 straight at Sitsongpeening but still sucks. I felt so horrible this morning, my body was just shot. I barely made it through the run. There’s a Rottweiler (a tiny one) at the camp who runs with us, chases off the other stray dogs. This morning we were all running and as a lady on a moped was going by he ran out in front of her, got ran over, and caused the lady to crash and slam her face on the road, it was bad. He was ok but the lady was really hurt. Some people had stopped and helped her out and the trainers told us to continue running. After we got back I did about 6-8 rounds of pads. From the start I couldn’t do anything, it was pointless and I felt worthless. After a morning like that it left me questioning  ‘what am I doing here, can I still do this, do I still want to?’ I tried to get some sleep during the day but as usual I wasn’t able to so I just ended up feeling worse. I was seriously considering skipping the afternoon session but this is only my second day so I sucked it up and just tried staying positive. My legs were shot but I was able to make it through the run. What made it worse was my Achilles started killing me again, not sure what it was. Ever since Nop snapped his I’ve been paranoid about it. It started getting really cloudy toward the end of the run and by the time we got back it was raining. It was actually nice cause it really cooled down. As I was getting my gloves on it got crazy windy out. Did some pads with Kru Dam again, whose pad work I love, I felt ok other than the fact my body was shot. I did either rounds and was totally spent but was feeling better mentally. It’s pouring rain now, I love the rain, hopefully I will be able to sleep tonight.

5/25/11

Slept great last night but once again I woke up at 3am  and couldn’t fall back asleep. Chaz is having the same issues. My freaking legs are so shot! I got an email from Mark this morning telling me that the New York show got pushed back two weeks, which means that it’s only five weeks from my fight with Saenchai, so now I need to figure out if I’m still going to do it. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I want to take it because it will keep me sharp and it’s only k1 rules so there’s little chance of getting cut or too injured but a fight is a fight and anything can happen and I would never want to risk messing up this opportunity to fight Saenchai, we’ll see. I decided to skip out on the run this morning, I had been thinking about it anyway because my legs are so shot but once I found out the fight was pushed I was definitely not gona run. Then Pii A tells us not to run anyway and just get a rub down. So we went out front and got my legs rubbed out with Thai oil massage. So painful but they make you feel much better even though they make you worn out. I just did some exercises after that and grabbed a shower. I definitely needed that, gonna hit it hard tonight. They always play this music while we train, it’s American songs, mostly hip hop(Like B.I.G or Wu Tang), but I couldn’t figure out why they sounded sounds funny. After a while I finally realized that they were all redone by Thai singers, it cracks me up.

-I felt pretty good training tonight, it was nice and cloudy again when we went for our run then as we got back started raining. I wish it was like this every day. I kicked Kru Dam in the neck, well I placed my shin across it(luckily I have control and pulled it at the last minute). He told me to throw a neck kick and I thought the pads would be there but they weren’t, maybe he wanted me to go over his head hahaha, we were both cracking up. I felt good, still dying from the humidity but I’m able to push through it. I sparred a few rounds with Kru Tong afterwards, it was fun. Kicked him in the neck, he didn’t seem too happy about it.

5/27/11

We went to Jun’s fight yesterday at Radja, it was so dope, he won on points. The other day he was telling me how he wished he had my legs, as his are huge. I was like ‘are you crazy, why?.’ He said his are too heavy and he gets tired kicking hahaha guess the grass is always greener on the other side. I decided not to run again yesterday. After everyone got back from theirs Pii A said no training because all of the Thai’s were partying last night for Kru Yod’s birthday, which was fine by me, so I had the whole day off. We had breakfast then the cabs picked us about around 3 to go to the fights. I was feeling so nauseous on the way there, and I was starving. I was going on 3 hours of sleep, no food, and the road was super bumpy, ugh. Once we got there I started feeling better, however it did take us twice as long as normal because traffic was so bad, it was crazy. We got all the way to the city fine but as soon as we were like 15 minutes from the stadium it was dead stop, I wanted to smash my head through the window. Had some chicken and sticky rice once we got there, which was so good and made me feel a lot better. We didn’t get out of the fights until about 9:30 so we got home around 11:30. Right out front of the stadium they have all these people selling t shits, food and different things. When I walked out there was a shirt with my picture on it (the one everyone knows) but it’s all in Thai. I went up and got a picture next to it. Then I said to the guy selling them ‘hey, that’s me’ he looked confused and then I showed him the tattoo’s on my knuckles. All of a sudden he got super nervous and said ‘oh, sorry, sorry, I take from internet.’ I think he thought I was mad or something. I laughed and told him it was ok. I slept through the night for the first time since I got here last night. Of course I didn’t get into bed until midnight then woke up at 5:30 this morning but it’s still better than usual. I felt a lot better on the run, legs weren’t as fried. It was only Chaz, Mike and I and then when we got back to camp Pii A tells us that the trainers were sick so no training, again. I know what sick means….hung over hahaha. No worries. Kru Yod was there and he did pads with Mike so Chaz and I just hit the bag for about 8 rounds and clinched for about 15 minutes. Had some more amazing food for breakfast. It’s so good, I always eat way too much. Stephan Fox emailed me asking to give him a call because they are having a screening of the ‘Into The Fire’ documentary, which I am in, in Bangkok. I borrowed Abigail’s phone and hit him up. He told me that they are having it June 2nd, next Thursday, and that they really want me to be there. I would really like to go but the only problem is, other than the pain in the ass of getting there, is that I don’t have any nice clothes with me and they want everyone dressed up. Oh well, we’ll see what he says. I turned down the fight in New York, it just wasn’t worth it to me but I’m still bummed. My freaking Achilles is hurting so bad, it’s swollen and tender, hurts to move on it.

5/29/11

Finally got some sleep last night, like 15 hours. Chaz, Mike, Pi A and I hung out last night watching fights and just talking, it was real nice. The weather was beautiful. I tried to watch ‘Due Date’ around 11 but only made it half way through and I was out. I slept till 11am and the only reason I woke up is because they knocked on the door telling us breakfast was ready. After we ate I passed out again until 4. I finally forced myself to get up because I knew that if I didn’t then I wouldn’t be able to get any sleep later tonight. I ate so much junk food, ugh, I just can’t stop. Pi A brought us some of those waffles that I used to always get when I was at Sasiprapa and also these coconut jello type things. All of this right before we had dinner. I’m so stuffed, I gota go try and eat though.

-I’m so freaking stuffed right now I can barely breathe. I had some chicken and noodles, just like the kind I used to always eat when I was at Sitkuanim. Pi A keeps asking if I want more, I say no but he keeps asking me so finally I cave and have another bowl. I’m so stuffed, I wish this day would last longer. My Achilles is finally starting to feel better, I’m still going to lay off of the run but I think I will be able to start kicking again.

5/30/11

I felt like the fattest P.O.S. today. I can’t believe how much junk I ate over the weekend, I’m disgusting, ha. I slept great last night, I guess Kru Dam has something wrong with his eye. Not sure if it’s pink eye or if he just got something in it but either way he told me to just hit the bag, which was fine by me. I did about 5 rounds, was just trying to sweat out all of this garbage. My Achilles is feeling better but it’s still sore. I’m going to try and kick pads tonight and see how it feels. It’s nice being able to train here without having to stress about getting ready for a fight, for once. Training hard because I want to not because I have to, still itching for a fight though. I have to go to Bangkok Thursday for the premiere of Clifton’s documentary. I guess Buakaw, Saenchai and a bunch of other big name guys are supposed to be there as well. It should be fun, Chaz is going to go too.

-My stomach started killing me right before I was about to train, felt like I was being stabbed. I didn’t think I would even be able to train but I put my gear on anyway and went out there. As soon as I started moving around I felt a lot better. Pi A told me that Kru Dam wouldn’t be there again, hope he doesn’t have pink eye. He said that he would be ok and back in tomorrow. I hit the bag for a few rounds and then got to hit with Kru Bun. It was good but was mostly kicks, which sucked. My Achilles held up ok and then I clinched with Moo for a few rounds. I felt bad cause I kneed him in the stomach once and he seemed hurt by it, although it was pretty light. Pi A kept yelling at me to go after him. Chaz ended up kicking Bun in the stomach really hard while they were hitting pads, guessed he missed, put him right on the floor. Then when I was going with him I teeped him really hard and he was on the ground again, felt bad.

5/31/11

Feeling good today. Kru Dam is supposed to be back tomorrow so I just did 4 rounds with Bun. Felt good, hand is still bugging me though. Couldn’t sleep once again and I’m really starting to get sick of this food. It’s mostly cause the fact that there’s really no difference between breakfast and dinner, it’s all the same, ugh! Ran for the first time today in a while and felt great. Got back and hit the bag then did about 5 rounds with Bun. Afterwards Bun was training the small guy, he got on his knees jokingly to hold pads for him, it was pretty funny. I think it’s starting to hurt him having to hold for both Chaz and I, he seems to be in pain every time. I feel bad, I like going with him but it’s pretty much just nonstop kicks. We clinched for about twenty minutes afterwards. I went with Moo most of the time, he’s freaking strong for being little. Just need to work on keeping my balance and work my knees. Chaz went with him a little and got dumped really hard. It’s always a humbling experience having someone so much smaller then you toss you around like a rag doll. Mama made fried bananas today, so amazing, but ugh, I ate way too much! Also had to put down a pound cake before it went bad. Why do I do this to myself?

6/1/11

Couldn’t hardly sleep at all last night, I want to kill those freaking dogs. My Achilles is killing me again and now so is my knee so I decided not to skip training this morning. Pii A came knocking around 9am and asked Chaz if he wanted to fight tonight. Told him that he couldn’t guarantee he would fight when he was supposed to but can tonight for sure. Chaz said of course, we have to leave here around 1. I guess we’re just going to spend the night in Bangkok because I have Clifton’s screening tomorrow. It’s a good thing because I really need a break to let my body heal.

-Just got back from Chaz’s fight, he stopped his guy in the 2nd round with leg kicks. It took us about two hours to get to MBK from the gym. I got so nauseous for some reason. We finally get to the parking garage and it is packed, it took forever to find a spot, I just wanted to get out and get some air. We ended up pushing some cars out of the way in order to park, guess that’s how they roll over here ha. It was about 4 and the fights weren’t starting till 6 so we posted up at the McDonalds. Got me a Big Mac meal and a pineapple pie, so good. For some reason Thailand is the only place I ever crave McDonalds. I mean I get it every now and again in America, but whenever I’m here I’m just dying for it all the time. Guess it just reminds me of home or something. We hung out for a while, saw some booths being set up near the ring that were selling gear and things. I saw a bunch of people wearing Master Toddy shirts , typical seminar looking people. I can’t seem to get away from this freaking guy. Then all of a sudden I see a lady sitting at the booth, it was P Jean. Chaz and I walk over and surprise her, she was so happy to see us. I was just hoping that Toddy wasn’t around, no such luck. We catch up with her and then she tells us that MT is around. Guess there’s no avoiding this one. Finally I see him out of the corner of my eye, we say hello, it was extremely uncomfortable. I tried being nice, let Chaz do all the talking. MT says ‘Oh is my gym not good enough for you guys?”, real nasty like. He and Chaz BS for a bit and then he finally walks off. I say to Chaz “well that was awkward” hahaha, understatement of the century. We say bye to P Jean and then go back inside to relax. That seriously put me in the most F’d up mood, I don’t even know where to begin, woosah!!! I’m glad that I wasn’t fighting because that probably would have really thrown me off. I was just pissed off and annoyed. Finally the fights start and they tell Chaz he is going to be 3rd but then they move him to the end, main event. There were some good fights, a few really good ones. I kept running into people I knew, or mostly people that knew me, it’s such a weird thing. It was crazy, felt as if I was at a fight back in the states in that way. Ran into a few of the kids from Sitsongpeenong, was really nice seeing them all again. Finally Pii A starts wrapping Chaz’s hands once the 4th fight got going. The good ol’ no commission wrap J After he finished up Mike and I oiled him down then we went out to the ‘changing room’ for Chaz to loosen up. People kept coming up to take pics with him, and then one random Asian chic came up to get one with me,odd. Chaz was fighting a guy from Germany. We heard he didn’t have as many fights as Chaz and looked a little bit smaller. Told Chaz not to underestimate him and fight him as if he’s a top fighter. “Just go out there and do you.” Finally they announce him, he gets in the ring, does his Wai Kru and they come together at center ring. First round starts and Chaz is looking good, hands up, good defense, picking the kid apart. Landed some really hard leg kicks and a few good sweeps. The guy was definitely not on his level but he was tough, that’s for sure. The round ends, get Chaz back in the corner and give him a few words of advice. Freaking 2 minute breaks over here are way too long, ran out of stuff to talk about haha. Second round he goes right back to work, slamming leg kicks, cuts him above his eye with an elbow, but wasn’t that bad of a cut. Kept telling him to set up his leg kicks with punches and then just slam them as hard as he could. . You could start seeing the pain in his face, I knew it was only a matter of time. He finally goes down and gets an 8 count. They start again and Chaz goes in for the kill, pulverizing his leg, finally the ref stops it. I was so happy for him and happy we had an easy night with no injuries. After the fights finish up we head out and go to stop by McDonalds but Pii A tells us that we are going to go out to eat with his brother. We start walking again but we start thinking how the last thing we want is more rice. Oh well, figure we can always grab something else later or tomorrow morning. We head over to meet his brother who happens to big this big Chief of police, or something, over here. It was weird going into a police station. It felt as if we were somewhere that we weren’t supposed to be. His brother was super cool, just like him, warm, nice guy, just a lot bigger. He takes us to this nice restaurant, took care of everything, it was so good and so nice of him. We had a really good time. Stayed away from the rice haha. After that Pii A gave Chaz and I a ride to the hotel where we were going to stay the night, which took forever to find. We were going down all these back alleys. I was thinking ‘Aint no way it’s back here’, especially because Chaz had showed me pictures and it looked really nice, 4 star hotel. But then all of a sudden we find it. It was hidden behind all these buildings, surprised anyone could ever find it. It was really nice, good change of pace staying somewhere fancy and not have to hear dogs barking all night, even though I did wake up at 6am but was able to fall back asleep. I have to go to the screening at 1pm. I think Jun and Abigail are going to go as well.

6/3/11

The press conference yesterday was pretty cool. Sitting up with Saiyok, Yodsanklai, Saenchai, Dzhabar and Kaokolai, it was pretty surreal. I ran into Valdet as well as Masood there. It was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be, tons of press people and loads of food. There were a lot of big wigs there, the President of the WMC, people like that. They showed a little clip of the documentary and then had all of us sign our contracts, it’s pretty crazy realizing where I’m at in my life, blessed! I know God has a plan for me, I’m just trying to hold on for the ride. Jun and Abigail showed up towards the end and then headed back to the gym after it was over.  I had planned on training when we got back but after that long ass car ride I was spent. I decided to eat a bunch of junk food instead, great idea! That on top of two days off and eating hamburgers is probably the reason I felt like crap training this morning. There’s another foreigner here now, pretty sure he’s from England. Only got about 5 days of training left since we’re going to the fights at Lumpini, times gonna start flying.

6/5/11

Saturday night after training we all hung out drinking, well I drank soda, talking and watching fights, it was a real good time. One thing that I really love about Thailand is the closeness people have with each other, unlike America where we all avoid each other as much as possible. Always feel like family here. I just layed around all day yesterday, felt like a zombie. I had a hard time sleeping last night so I skipped training this morning. They want me to spar Moo this afternoon, just boxing.

6/9/11

Training’s been good this week however it’s been hard to stay motivated since I’m not fighting anytime soon. I still want to take advantage of my time here though. This is my last full day of training, Chaz left yesterday to go be a tourist in Bangkok. I’m going to meet up with him Friday at Lumpinee. I’ve really enjoyed my time here but I am looking forward to going home. I kicked Bun in the head today on accident. He wanted me to do a Saenchai cartwheel kick but he didn’t put the pads right so it cracked him hahaha.

6/10/11

I had planned on training this morning but when I got up I was going back and forth with the idea. Finally Bun knocked on my door so I decided to just get up and do something. I went outside, wrapped one of my hands and then completely lost all motivation. I was so tired, sore and just didn’t feel like sweating. I just stretched out and moved around for a bit and called it a day. I’m just finishing up packing now. We head to Lumpinee around 2. The card is insane, so many good match ups. I’ve really enjoyed my time here. Whenever you’re at the end of a journey it seems like it was super-fast, but at the beginning it seems like you have forever.

6/11/11

The fights last night were dope, the cab ride there however was not. It took us almost 3 hours, on top of the fact that I was starving, I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. It only took us an hour to get to the city but once we were there the traffic was at a dead stop, it was unreal. I just wanted to get out and walk. I had hoped we would get there with enough time to eat but no dice. It was Bart, Rudi and I in the cab. Pii A, Abigail, Mama, Jun and the baby in Pii A’s car. We got there before them and just waited. Chaz was supposed to meet us there but I didn’t see him anywhere. Finally after about 20 minutes he showed up and then everyone else did about ten minutes after that.

6/12/11

The fights were great. I’m almost positive I saw Hippy and Karahaus there, couldn’t be positive but it looked just like them. Super tiny. Saenchai lost on points to Sakedao, he just couldn’t get anything going. Saketdao just marched him down the whole time. He wasn’t falling for any of his tricks and just kept the pressure on. For the first time I truly got the feeling that I can beat him, not just because he lost of anything like that. Just seeing the look in his eyes and realizing, just like anyone else, he can lose, he gets frustrated, tired, etc. I know that as long as I stay focused and sharp I have a shot at beating him, shock the world. Sam A, Saenchai, Saketdao, Nong O, Kongsak, all on the same card, epic! The fights didn’t get over till about 11. I was exhausted and starving, still hadn’t eaten. Our hotel was close but I knew that it would take forever to get there because of the traffic. Chaz left a little before the fights were over so he could go and grab food for us and then meet at the hotel. The parking lot was so packed, no one was even moving. I said my goodbyes to Abigail, Jun, Bart and Rudi, gonna miss them. Then I got in Pii A’s car with him, Mama and Bun. He found a little back road to go out of, had to do a little off roading though. Still took us about half an hour. They dropped me off at the hotel and we said our goodbyes. I had a really great time training with all of them. Hope to come back again sometime soon.