Iwoke up this morning and headed for my morning urination. After I was done I saw that there was a small bark scorpion hanging out on my bathroom floor. Somehow I had managed to step over it in my sleepy daze on my way towards the toilet. I got lucky; small bark scorpions are very venomous and had I stepped on it, I would’ve spent some time in the hospital. That small arachnid would’ve tapped me out faster than you can say Khabib Nurmagamedov.
This incident, which was probably more information than you had wanted to know, got me thinking. I was a pretty lucky guy competing in the UFC Octagon. For around 7 years I competed in the Octagon against the most dangerous men in the world in unarmed combat and the worst injury I had was a torn MCL and a back injury. Even then, my knee injury happened while doing wrestling drills and my back injury came from doing Olympic lifts. Now, allow me to recount some of my scarier moments in my life as I prove that some other activities can be way more dangerous than MMA.
I was in 4th grade and playing in a heated soccer game against town rival, Holliston. I went for a header and collided heads with this pumpkin headed midfielder on the way down from my 6-7 second leap. I won the header but lost the war. I suffered a concussion and had to leave the game. I remember feeling groggy and dizzy. I even remember throwing up Apple Jacks when I got home. Unfortunately, I was unable to spell anything else but “ooooooo” with my vomit. Soccer 1, UFC 0.
It was a hot afternoon and I had decided to race bikes with my buddy Denis. Yes, his name is spelled “Denis” with one “N”. I remember this because he spent a lot of time practicing his penmanship. His “D’s” could never ever be confused with P’s” he used to say. Anywho, I was 11 years old and according to the “Bike Metric” stats I had just made up, I was the fastest in the ‘burbs of Boston. We were cruising around town and decided to race across a parking lot. I gave Denis a head start and off I went. I was closing the gap and I must have been traveling so fast that I was just a blur because next thing I know, a car hit us.
Denis went flying off of his bike and I got side swiped injuring my thumb somehow. I got some scratches in the process as well. Aside from some scratches and bruises, Denis was ok. My friendship with Denis changed after that incident mainly because I kept claiming victory in our race as he lay crying on the floor. Looking back, it was a good thing the lady was driving a Volvo because I could have hurt her. Bike Riding 1, UFC 0.
Everyone thinks running is a pretty safe sport but you’re wrong! I was 13 and getting in shape for soccer season. Running around my block was one of the best ways I knew to get in shape for soccer season. On this particular run, I encountered an animal so ferocious and scary that to this day, I am not quite certain what it was. I remember hearing a barking type noise as I approached the top of a hill. As I jogged past this home, I remember hearing something panting behind me. I looked back for a quick second and noticed a four-legged hairy thing running to catch up with me. It is then that I decided to kick it into Carl Lewis mode and sprint like a mad man.
It must have been some type of mythical creature because it caught up with me and bit me on my precious behind. Its teeth must have been made of titanium steel because they had punctured a little hole in the side of my rock hard but cheek. I swatted away this beast and made it out alive. The scary thing is, that creature may still be out there. Even though it was supposedly confirmed to be a German shepherd, the “facts” just don’t add up. How could a dog run as fast me? Running 1, UFC 0.
Last but not least is my story of climbing “Pedra da Gavea” in Rio De Janeiro in 2003. I was a robust and healthy 24-year-old stud on a Brazilian jiu-jitsu training trip. I was in a foreign country exploring Rio and getting in a workout with some of my American friends. We were descending down the mountain off the main path when all of a sudden I slipped on some wet moss and started sliding down a cliff. My friend Rob had reached for me as I slid feet first down the mountain. He grabbed my shirt but lost his grip and had turned me around so that I was now heading down the mountain headfirst. I felt the earth beneath me and then I didn’t. I was falling in mid air completely unsure of when I would meet mother earth again.
I can assure you that the first thought in my mind wasn’t, “I wish I had a V8”. I was certain I was going to meet my maker. Instead, I met a giant boulder with my back. It took the wind out of me. I then realized that I was alive and when I heard my friends say, “I think he’s dead”, I started to laugh. It was a nice 15-foot drop or so. When I got off that boulder I realized I was on another ledge and if I hadn’t landed on that big rock, I would’ve fallen hundreds of feet to my death. It was a scary moment for all of us especially when we considered it could’ve messed up my hair. Mountain climbing 1, UFC 0.