It has been a crazy last couple of months. After my fight with Mizuto Hirota in Portland, I was planning a birthday celebration (my birthday was on the Friday of that upcoming week)…I had this whole thing planned, and I was having people over for a barbeque and my friend Reese was here from Chicago. Next thing I know, it was Monday or Tuesday, and then I get the call from B.J. Penn, and he said “Hey man, I need you out here as soon as possible.” So I told him I thought I could be out there sometime in the middle of the next week or a week or two later, and he said “No, I pretty much need you here now.” So I ended up leaving on Friday. It was the craziest turnaround! I thought maybe I wasn’t going but then it all just happened. That’s how those Hawaiians operate! Any second at the drop of a hat, they’ll call you and you’ll be heading out there.
It actually worked out great. I got to spend my birthday out there in paradise, and I got to do a lot of my training too. I was there for five weeks in all, and Josh Thomson was out there who obviously knows Gil really well. I got two weeks to work with him, and we worked a lot on what Gil does, and what he thought I could do to be successful against him. I know his motivation is that he doesn’t think he’ll get another title shot against Gil, so he’s hoping I win so he can fight me for the belt! *laughs*
It was a funny scene. We were joking the whole time we were out there, almost as if we were in the TUF house. We were staying out there together, and training together and we were going to have to fight soon. But the whole thing was orchestrated by BJ. He and I have become pretty good friends. He wanted me out there right away. He was in Oahu at the time, and he didn’t really have anybody to spar or wrestle with, and I knew I’d be getting good training too, so why not? BJ’s a tough guy to turn down, and besides, it’s paradise out there. You look at the weather report, and you’re looking at 85 degrees every day for the next week. It’s funny when you talk to the locals though, and it’s raining outside and cools down to somewhere around 78, and they’re telling you to bundle up and you’re laughing to yourself and thinking that you could still walk home in the rain. It’s still so beautiful. The rain even feels good out there.
Overall, I still had a pretty similar situation in Hawaii than what I have in Oregon. I was staying at a house BJ owned about 20-25 minutes from the gym out in the country, which is pretty much what I have in Oregon. It was great training sessions, then you’d go back to the house, and it was pretty chill. There were two other guys living there, but there were no neighbors, and it was totally quiet. It was really great, and on par with what I was used to.
Dr. Steve and I still managed to keep in touch. We do a lot of our training online. He will put files for me in Dropbox and I’ll retrieve them. It was tough at times because I didn’t have the consistent access , and I had to download my days’ work a week at a time, but we managed to keep in touch. Dr. Steve’s been great. He’s not only my sports psychologist, but he’s become a pretty good friend now, so we definitely stayed in touch.
Before wrapping things up, I want to talk a little bit about the reactions from the Hirota fight back in July. I knew it was a really close fight, but I didn’t really feel I lost the fight, and I was kind of surprised to see a fair amount of people with their opinion otherwise. I thought I did enough to win the last two rounds, but ultimately it really taught me a lesson. It seems like when you’re fighting MMA, you’re only as good as your last fight. I really couldn’t believe it. Even coming into this fight with Gil, I’ve been reading about how I can’t finish, and I’m going to have a hard time taking him down, but with all of my other fights in Strikeforce, those are things I thought I’d done well. I’ve finished two of my last three fights too! I guess it was a little bit humbling for sure to see that you really have to stay “on it” and can’t have a bad performance without some people turning on you.
Derek Brunson’s another great example. He lost to Ronaldo Souza – a former world champion and somebody who’s in the top two or three at 185 in Strikeforce – you lose to him, and suddenly you’re a chump? It’s funny how fast things can change on you. There’s been a lot of negativity lately between guys pulling out of fights, and getting injured and training hard. I’ve seen people that are saying the UFC is “falling off” as of late. With the UFC providing insurance to fighters, you’re no longer in a position where you absolutely have to fight injured, and you’re going to go into that fight 60-70% just to get the injury paid for. It’s obviously a terrible thing that people are being injured, but it’s a nice thing that fighters no longer have to fight seriously injured. We train very hard and you run the risk of being injured every day in training too. Whether you’re wrestling or grappling or even hitting mitts. You could hit the mitt the wrong way and suddenly your hand’s injured. It’s not like a game of checkers or something like that you know? It’s for the best for the athletes not to fight, and to get healthy to fight another day instead of risking a more serious injury.
Last thing for this week. I’ve been talking to some friends about the UFC cards out there from Topps, and I didn’t realize the Strikeforce guys were in there. It would be really cool to make one of those sets one day. My brother Ryan and I used to collect basketball cards growing up, and I still keep a hold of one of the original sets from the first Dream Team with MJ, Larry Bird and Magic. Seeing my face on one of those cards would be neat.
That’s all for “Bam vs. Wild” this week. Until next week when we blog again, you can follow me on Twitter @BamBamHealy and say Hello. Only two weeks until Sacramento!
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC