One of the longest running narratives in MMA is, how well does a fighter come back from a loss. For some it seems to make no difference to their style or approach at all. Other times we see fighters overhaul their entire system, look to become new fighters, just so that loss never happens again. Often times, the biggest driver isn’t just a loss, or even the type of loss (be it knockout, submission, or decision) but the outside circumstances. Where a fighter is in their career, how much the fight meant to them, how prepared they were, essentially, how easily they can write it off as just a matter of happenstance.
Get the right combination of cricumstances for the right fighter on the wrong night and a loss can be eye opening for a fighter. That seems to be where David Rickels is, in his second bout back from what he describes as “The post-apocalypict Patricky Freire loss.” Rickels spoke to Bloody Elbow on his way into his Bellator 139 bout with John Alessio set for June 26th in Mulvane, Kansas.
“You know, one of the biggest things that I’ve really, actually tried to change post, what I call the post-apocalyptic Patricky Freire loss. When I lost to Patricky I really had to sit down and be like, “What the hell am I doing wrong?” Because I personally think that I’m light years above that guy as a fighter. And so, I had to nitpick things that I was doing here and there that were right or wrong or this and that. And you know, one of the biggest things, amongst many, that I found was putting too much pressure on myself. Feeling… Because the first thing I said after I lost was, I sat down and blubbered like a little baby and I was basically saying, “Why let everyone down?” You know, I felt that I’d let everyone down. I let down all my training partners who thought I was going to win, I let down my city, who I just fougth in front of. And I was more concerned with everyone else’s feelings other than my own. And so I kinda sat back after a few days and had to give myself the old speech of why I do this. And that really kind of put a spark into, and love for, training again as I realized, this is for me. This is the best fucking job that I’ve ever had and I love it, I want to keep doing it, and I can’t be concerned with what others think.
What I’m starting to figure out is, all that matters to me is knowing who I am as a person. I’ve started doing these, really cool man, it’s float tanks. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but it’s a depervation chamber where you just lay in there. I do about 90 minutes. So, I’ve started getting a little more mental preparedness, a little more spiritual about my fighting. It just feels really good not concerning myself with what others think, just training because I love it. I need to get better because I want to go out there and perform better. So you know, everything is just coming together.”
Rickels also talked about the UFC’s recent move to a Reebok sponsorship structure and how a move like that would affect someone like him, who’s had 13 bouts in Bellator and would stand to make around $10,000 in sponsorship per-fight under a similar, tenure-rewarding structure:
Man, I need to use this as a sponsor shoutout. I wish I was making $10k a fight. I haven’t made 10k in sponsorship on fights. It’d be really nice to make $10,000+. I’ve seen that and I’m like, “God damn, who are their managers? I need to talk to those people. Because I make, I don’t know, I’m not afraid to talk numbers here, I’ve probably made about 6 grand on average for these last few fights. And, you know, shit $10,000+ would be really nice for me and my family.
I guess it just depends on what kind of hookups you got and who your friends are. You got friends in high places, man they can make a lot of money of sponsorship. But yeah, I don’t know, I’d like to be making $10,000+ a fight.
You can follow David Rickels on Twitter @TheCaveman316
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