My first insider's view into MMA

The past couple of months I've been helping prepare an amateur fighter for his debut MMA match.  Being an avid fan of MMA, I was more than happy to oblige when he asked me to be his head trainer.  This was my first step into the world of MMA from more than an outsider's view, and it was also my first live event.  To say the least I was more than excited to start my journey just inches from the ring.

The event was Burlington Brawl 11: War Games, at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium in Burlington, VT.  Our fighter representing Chaos Theory MMA was Brett Trahan, facing off against Philippe Gerard from Montreal BJJ.

We trained hard for this fight and did the best we could to prepare for every situation possible.  Sadly we didn't leave the venue with a win.  Follow me after the jump and I'll break it down for you.

The weigh-ins were same day.  It was a 170 pound match and both fighters weighed in near the 168 pound mark.  After weighing in they were supposed to do the stare down for pictures, but it turns out Philippe weighed in and took off.  We shrugged it off and took Brett to get some lunch.  We only had to be back to the venue at 5:00 for the rules meeting so we were going to make sure to keep Brett focused and try to not let his nerves get to him.  After lunch Brett went back to the hotel and took a quick swim before taking a nap.  After watching the Red Sox game we went to the rules meeting.

After the rules meeting we grabbed the gloves, shin guards, gauze, and tape, before heading to the locker rooms.  Being a small show there were shared locker rooms with only the pros and women getting private rooms.  As it turned out the same night we were there the first female MMA match in the state of VT was taking place, and one of the women happened to be Brett's younger sister.  This made it so we were able to share her private locker room which helped keep Brett focused and calm.

Before the event we were told the "final" card had Brett fighting in the fifth fight, shortly before intermission.  When we got there for the rules meeting and were handed the event flyer we found out Brett was fighting in the fight before the last fight, in between the two pro fights on the card.  Luckily we had brought some food and extra drinks with us so we were able to take the change in stride and Brett didn't skip a beat in his preparations.

Being so late on the card made it so we were able to catch a few fights and basically just hang out for a while.  Watching the fights was a lot of fun, and I was surprisingly unimpressed with quite a few of the fighters that were in the ring.  I really felt like I could be more than competitive if it were myself under the lights, showcasing my skills.  I'm pretty sure my next fan post just might be something along the lines of my own fight announcement.

Right at intermission Brett got his hands taped and we started his warmups.  We worked some pummeling, some striking, some striking defense, plenty of footwork, some take downs, and some take down defense.  Basically a little bit of everything to get him warmed up and ready to go.  Brett walked out with his sister and watched a minute or so of her fight before going back down and getting his gloves and shin pads on and getting ready to come up.

Before too long the promoter comes and grabs us, and we walk upstairs and get ready to walk out.  His opponent walks out first and he's visibly nervous.  We walk out next and Brett is excited and ready to go.  He gets checked and gives us all hugs.  When he gets to me I look right at him and just tell him "trust your hands and do your thing" and he gets in the ring.  He is more calm than I expected him to be and I can tell he's ready to have some fun.

The ref calls them to the center of the ring and Brett has a pretty clear muscle advantage.  The touch gloves and get back to their corners.  The ref tells them to fight and they both quickly get to the center of the ring and circle each other.  A little bit of footwork and they end up throwing a jab at the same time.  Brett ended up being on the wrong end of the reach advantage and ended up eating it but it didn't faze him and he responds with a right hook that hits its mark and spins his opponent from his chin to his hips.  He backs up and Brett follows him throwing a few strikes that don't do much but back him into the corner and they end up tying up in our corner.

His opponent has a death grip on him and keeps throwing his legs up like he wants to pull guard and drag Brett to the ground, but Brett's keeps it standing and is landing the occasional body shot as he's trying to create space to break apart.  His opponent spins him so his back is in the corner and Brett quickly reverses him and we're telling him to throw knees to the legs and he quickly does as he was told.  They break away from the ring while still tied up and Brett is doing what he can to fight the take down.  He stays on his feet all the way across into his opponent's corner, throws a few body shots and starts to make some space.

They scramble as his opponent is still trying to drag him down, Brett ends up on his knees and his opponent almost gets his back but Brett quickly stands up and spins.  As he spun back to face his opponent his head was down a bit too much and his opponent snakes an arm in.  Brett starts to fight the standing guillotine but it was tight quickly and he can't create the space needed to pop his head out and just as he's about to go out he taps.  The ref steps in and his opponent lets go, but Brett drops to the ground because he was at the point of going unconscious.

Brett's brother was the first in the ring as the ref was checking on him, and I was shortly behind him.  When I got in there Brett was still lying on his back and he looked right at me but was really staring right through me as he was trying to piece everything together.

They did the winner announcement, we shook hands with his opponent's team, and we all went down and got ready to go.  Brett did a hell of a job just made a mistake and paid for it.  In the locker room he told me how much fun he was having and that he can't wait to do it again.  He's not beating himself up too bad for the loss, just is taking it as a dose of experience and is ready to grow from it.

I know I can't wait for my next chance to take another step further into this MMA endeavor.

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