This past Friday night (June 8, 2012), UFC welterweight Charlie Brenneman squared off against top Brazilian prospect Erick Silva in the co-main event of UFC on FX 3 in Sunrise, Florida.
Brenneman would put forth a spirited effort, challenging Silva more than he'd ever been tested inside the Octagon, but unfortunately "The Spaniard" would succumb to a late first round rear naked choke.
Little did we know, he had quite a bit more on his mind at the time.
Don Messing, the head of No Limits Personal Training, who was Brenneman's strength and conditioning coach as well as one of his best friends, had passed away due to a heart attack in the middle of the night, barely 24 hours before Brenneman's main card bout.
Brenneman discussed his relationship with Messing in a very emotional blog post on his website. Here's a snippet:
"One random day several years ago, as I drove by No Limits Personal Training on my way to substitute teach, I decided to give him a call. From the absolute first second I heard his voice on his voicemail ("Hi, this is Don Messing of No Limits Personal Training"), I could almost foresee our future. To be honest, I had nothing to really offer Don at that time. I was not w/ the UFC, nor was there any guarantee that I would make it, I didn't have any money to give him - all I had was a passion that he respected and wanted to see fulfilled. And from that day on, we were a team. I don't know if I had a bigger supporter.
As I alluded to earlier, I am confident that just as I feel now, he made every single person who walked into his gym feel the same way. He was there for others. I've never seen, and keep in mind I am around world class fighters regularly, anyone push themselves how he did. The work, the training, training others, his strict regimen, his time dedicated to his passions (kayaking, biking, running, camping, bodybuilding, dieting) - he truly made the most of every minute he had on earth."
More from Brenneman after the jump:
"The Spaniard" may have had a heavy heart when he stepped into the Octagon on Friday night, but as he stated to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour earlier today, he's not going to blame his defeat on the passing of his friend.
"This is not an excuse. I'm a professional athlete. I get paid to do what I do. I did what I did. But obviously, yeah, if one of your best friends dies, it's going to have an effect on you. Did that affect the outcome of the fight? I don't know. But was I prepared when I went into the cage, when I fought, when the bell rang? Yes, I was prepared. My message is not, 'Hey, this is what happened. Feel bad for me. This is why I lost.' Not at all. I want to tell everyone and I'll continue to tell everyone the impact he had on me and the life that he lived. "
Messing was just 42 years old.
Brenneman gave Silva all he could handle for about four minutes. Do you feel the outcome could have been different, or do you agree with "The Spaniard" that he was fully prepared for battle on fight night?