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Gladiator Challenge results: analyst Andrew Richardson wins second pro fight!

“Talent is never static. It’s always growing or dying” - Stephen King

Just a few days ago (Fri., July 6, 2018), I made my second walk to the cage as a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. The details are similar to my debut: I fought for the Gladiator Challenge promotion from inside Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California.

Much of the recap around my debut was focused on the new experience of knowing little about your opponent at weigh-ins and on fight day. This time around, I was given a name and weight class a couple weeks out from the bout. Information was still scarce on the opponent himself, but that little extra bit of knowledge combined with the experience of doing it once already made the whole process easier.

This time around, I did a couple things different in preparation and also had a shorter camp simply because of timing. For my first fight, I was losing weight with the expectation of fighting at 125 or 135 pounds, but I ended up competing undersized at 150. I wasn’t going to let that happen this time, so I purposely ate well and stayed heavy as possible (for me) until receiving the official word that my weight class was Bantamweight.

That left me with about 12 pounds to cut in a little more than one week, which — in MMA terms — is not much at all.

Drink a bunch of water, eat fewer calories, sweat in the sauna. The picture above is before the sweat really started to flow, and the shaker bottle is my girlfriend Jordan’s, who was there to ensure I didn’t slip in a state of mild dehydration and introduce my face to a corner of the bench.

At any rate, all went well with the weigh in, and I found out on fight day that I would be the first fight for the second time in a row — perfect. I didn’t have long to wait back stage, but this time I made sure to be ready well ahead of the 7 p.m. start time. We still had to rush a bit, but I’m fine with a shorter warm up.

Before long, it was time to fight. I struggled mightily with my choice of walkout songs this time, but I scratched a long time “must-do” off the list by walking out beneath the chaotic post-punk funk of Talking Heads’ “Born Under Punches.”

Check out the fight video.

MMAmania’s Andrew Richardson second pro fight!

Posted by MMA mania on Friday, July 6, 2018

It’s not a long fight so I’ll keep it fairly short. My opponent walked toward me quickly, so I expected him to attack hard. I wasn’t wrong. As I hit him with a jab and pulled back, he immediately charged forward and threw power shots.

I circled to my left and kept my jab going, although nothing landed super clean. The cage is fairly small, so I hit the fence pretty quickly and kept moving to my side. The camera missed this exchange, but nothing hit me. I meant to return to the center after, but again the cage was small, so I ended up near the other side of the fence. When he moved forward again, I throw a hard front kick that I’m sad to say only caught the side of his face rather than the chin.

When he flurried this time, he threw something of a push kick that surprised me. When he kicked again and showed no sign of calming down, I moved outside the kick and used that as an entrance to the clinch. He tried to trip me, but I already had him up in the air and off his feet, meaning I only had to drive forward to complete the takedown.

Once on top, the fight was prolonged only by a death grip on my head. I worked toward the mount, punching him in the face hard when he tried to push my knee back into half guard. I worked pretty methodically to free my head, postured up, and ended the fight soon after.

I don’t know how many punches (and a front kick!) I actually landed, but he was fairly cut up by the end of the fight.

On the whole, I’m fairly pleased with my performance. I would have liked to kickbox more, sure, but by my best guess, my opponent was about 15 pounds heavier than me on fight night and was clearly trying to knock my ass out. To quote David Byrne and my walkout song “I’m soooo thin” — hardly built for brawling with bigger opponents.

I have no issue striking, but against foes chasing wildly, grappling is still the go-to.

Regardless, I have to thank quite a few people on the heels of this win: First and foremost, my cornermen “Proper” Michael Mallot (not pictured in the headline pic, Mike had to run backstage and wrap someone else’s hands right away), Andrew Coyne, and Ricky Turcios (who’s also the only reason we have a decent fight video). The rest of Team Alpha Male is hugely important as well throughout camp, alongside my strength coaches at Capital Strength and Performance/Occam Athletics.

In addition, I have many to thank Sponsorship-wise as well: Namely, GOALS Martial Arts, and Joben Global Inc. Lastly, Colour Printing does an awesome job designing my banner every fight — a killer piece of fabric that helps me financially more than ticket sales do — so definitely check them out. Speaking of, I’ll announce the winner of the banner raffle soon.

After my debut victory back in March, I went to Krispy Kreme, did a post-fight interview, then went home and slept. The Mania community as a whole gave me plenty of shit for being a lame homebody who hates celebrating, but none of y’all can say a word this time! After the fight, I drove home to clean myself up and eat imported East Coast Manco’s pizza with a buddy. Then, Jordan and I drove almost all the way back to the venue, because a teammate of mine who also won that night got a booth at a nearby bar.

Despite our detailed plans to dip out after like 45 minutes, we somehow stuck around until closing. Given my tattoo appointment the following morning, I didn’t drink more than Redbull, meaning somehow I ended up driving everyone to IHOP at 2 a.m. and then to their respective houses. We got home a bit after four in the morning. That’s respectable, right? Fun and all, except for the part where I still had to write the TUF 27 Finale recaps for this very site, an event that largely took place while I was fighting.

Name one other person on this planet goofy enough to win a pro fight by stoppage in less than a minute only to come home and write three articles about the same sport nearly at daybreak.

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but no one does what I do.

I scrounged together a few hours of sleep before heading to the tattoo shop in the morning. My favorite part of this is that my tattoo artist — the ultra talented R.J. Hitchcock of The American Tradition in Sacramento — has twice now bought tickets to my fights, only for me to directly hand him back the money the day after the bout.

I added a trio of new pieces to my music leg inspired by the bands Swans, The Pixies, and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. On the whole, much of the music I love has a real duality of grotesque beauty: A mix of sadness, isolation, aggression and/or confusion with great, groundbreaking art. There was no overall intentional theme when I first had the idea — which was formulated in January 2016 on a solo plane ride home from New Jersey to Sacramento the day after David Bowie died — to fill my left leg with musical imagery. But, the more I add to it, the more obvious it is to me that it all relates to me as a fighter, in which I do my part as a creator: An artist of my own physical, devastating medium.

Or maybe that’s all bullshit. Either way, R.J. is a great artist, so check out the new work below and the full six right here (LINK).

I don’t have a timeframe for the next fight, but with some luck, I’ll compete again by the end of the year. Until next time ...