WaltJ -Mike Swick -Yaaaaaa Buddddddy -
Hey Mike sorry to ask a question about one of your loses but I’ve been wondering this for awhile and never got a chance to ask someone on your level this question. How did you keep your mind set on the goal of fighting after losing in your hometown? Back in 2013 I had a small MMA gym and I was pursuing what I thought would be my MMA career. I was only 4-0 but we threw an event in my home town. To keep a long story short I ended up getting TKOd with 5 seconds left of the first round. Span a week or two later, depression and embarrassment hit me like a freight train and so did self medicating with heavy drugs. Luckily I’m clean finally but I just would really love some insight on how you kept your mind set on your goals after losing in front of family and the town you grew up in. I never thought I would be able to ask something that’s as successful as you the question but I get the feeling you might be the guy to be able to articulate that better then most mma fighters. Thanks a lot man!
Hey bud, glad you got over the drug thing. It’s only a temporary fix and one that can permanently ruin your life. Hope you are good and healthy now!
It was a tough loss for sure. One of my toughest. I was set to face Anderson Silva for the belt after beating Loiseau and chose to take on Okami in my hometown after Lutter won TUF and jumped ahead of me. So I lost a fight in front of my home crowd the first time a big UFC event was there, and also lost a title fight and dropped myself back down the ladder.
It’s crazy but as I was feeling the absolute worst backstage that night, like a failure, the place went crazy and I found out that GSP was just KO’d by Serra. Honestly, that really took a lot of pressure off me. I immediately felt less like a failure for coming up short in a close hard fought fight after GSP, the King at the time, got KO’d. It put things into perspective that anything can happen and we all lose at some point.
That being said, it was still one of my hardest loses to take so it was just about focusing forward and not thinking about it. I was sick at the time and had to take some time off to get my body right and then dropped to 170 after that fight, which I made myself believe would be my new beginning. Focusing on that and going day by day, I won 4 straight at 170 to fought again in a title contention fight with Hardy to face GSP. Unlucky for me I blew that by decision too. Lol
By this time I had a strong hunch that being a Champion was just something not meant for me and my true passion was business so I started really putting my efforts in that. I never fought as a career. I knew it was just an opportunity to make something else for myself later in life. A World Title would of been the best I could of done, but just couldn’t do it.
The rest of my fights after Hardy was to help fund my business endevours and one thing for sure is that when you have one foot out the door in this sport, you shouldn’t expect much. Too many hungry Lions that are all in like I was in the beginning and will eat you up.
Business is where I could go on for days about winning and losing and suffering shit I never dreamed. Losing hope in humanity. Picking yourself back up after taking losses that feel like death. Fighting was a game compared to business when you start dealing with the big deals. I went through more getting AKA Thailand to where it is than 4 UFC careers combined. It’s nasty. You gotta be a Shark in a shark filled ocean. Crazy enough I love it though.
Hope I didn’t get too off track but long story short is day by day. I always made sure I took a step forward no matter the beat or loss. Never taking a step back. As long as you go forward and try, even if you don’t see a clear path, it will clear eventually and opportunities will happen. Always the ones you don’t see or count on that help you the most and they are also the ones you would of never gotten had you not been walking forward and trying everything. I never seen someone super successful that just sat around depressed while opportunities hit them across the face. You gotta literally run into them. ;)
Whew, did that help? Haha
Great post, man. There's a lot of fighters who would do well to read this. I think it's great that even in a high profile position like you were in (UFC, TUF, etc.) that you still kept a level head, a realistic perspective, and knew that you had to have some type of exit ramp.
Having an exit strategy in no way makes someone less dedicated. It makes them smart, because in a sport like MMA, you're one catastrophe away from losing it all. Eyepoke in training, torn ACL, paralyzed by a simple takedown.
Good for you, Mike, in having that vision.
Great exchange, glad buuuudddddyyyy is doing better, seems like a genuinely nice dude from the PM's we had and it's really nice seeing someone like Mike take the time to write out a lengthy response like that.