Being a professional MMA fighter seems like a pretty sweet gig. You work out all day, gain adoring fans, and get paid to do what you love. Unfortunately, there’s more to it than that.
According to Brandon “The Truth” Vera, the sport can be a real bitch. The 6’2” Fil-Am fighter, who's set to face Igor Subora at ONE FC: Warrior's Way on December 5, has led a crazy career, from being hyped as the future UFC heavyweight champion to getting his nose broken by a “juice monkey” Brazilian.
Having seen the sport from both ends of the spectrum, Vera knows that fighting comes with some headaches, and he runs down for us three major #FighterProblems that suck the most.
Being a famous fighter typically brings in the ladies, but it'll also attract some crazies. “When you run into a crazy chick, it's not good because she's so fine that you're going to want to stay with her even though you know you shouldn't. And you can't help it because she's just that fine,” Brandon tells us.
Mixed martial artists don’t get paid nearly as much as NBA and NFL players, even under big organizations like the UFC or ONE FC. “All fighters run into that problem all around the world. You're going to be broke," Brandon reveals. "You sleep on the couch, run out of money, starve, and you won't be able to do your laundry."
“Becoming a fighter is not a glorious gig...not until you break through the ice. And once you break through, it takes a little while before you get back on your feet. Because, if you're a man and you’re worth your salt, you need to first take care of all those people who helped you when you were coming up.”
INJURIES (LOTS OF 'EM)
In a sport that requires you to have multiple fighting styles and good conditioning, you’re body is bound to take a beating. In fact, you're not likely to find a fighter who’s a 100-percent injury-free.
“Everything gets injured—from your pinky toe being broken to your pinky finger hurting so bad that you can't punch mitts. It’s just part of the gig," he explains. “I've had surgery on both elbows. I've had three hand surgeries. I've had my nose reconstructed. The right side of my face had a tripod fracture reconstructed. I even had bone removed from behind my eyeball. I’ve had torn ligaments in both of my knees, arthritis in all of my joints, and broken toes. I also disintegrated my shinbone off a kick one time. I could go all day.”
Nonetheless, Vera stays optimismistic. “Ganito talaga ang buhay ng Filipino. It's not like I'm going to complain and quit. Hell no," Brandon points out. "I enjoy this way too much. I love my job. I went from Kuala Lumpur to the Philippines, I'm eating breakfast with you, doing the interview for FHM. Why would I want to do anything else?”
Gab Pangalangan is a Judo and MMA fanatic. Visit his website, www.dojodrifter.com.