Black Thoughts on MMA Career


My name is Robin Black.

I’m 41 years old.

I used to fight Mixed Martial Arts. You know, in a cage, against another man who is trying to hurt me.

It was intense. It was exhilarating. It was scary. It was awesome.

I wanted so badly to be amazing at it. I wasn’t, really.

I fought 8 times, losing more than I won.

I had some good moments. But, in the end, I wasn’t able to perform well with any consistency.

I wanted to be great. I ended up being rather mediocre.

Now I need to look back at it, analyze it all.

Strangely, I’m kind of excited to do that.

I am going to try to look back at my training, my preparation, my journey and my fights with absolute honesty. I feel its the only way a guy can learn the lessons he needs to learn.

As someone who is immersed in MMA, I’ve heard the reasons and excuses of a hundred fighters who have lost. I’ve heard “The weight cut killed me”, “My rib went out”, “I shouldn’t have taken the caffeine”, “The promoter set me up”, even “The ref stabbed me with a pen when no one was looking.”

Maybe these fighters need to look at losses this way to preserve their view of the world, to maintain their confidence, or to explain their losing record to every guy in a Tapout shirt at the bar. Maybe they need to create a feeling that they are unbeatable, despite evidence to the contrary.

I’m not looking for these things. I don’t care what people who can never understand this think of me. This is a journey.

I need to examine this journey honestly because, in my mind, I am still on it. I need to learn lessons from my successes and failures that I can use going forward. My MMA career doesn’t end with my last fight, it begins in a different way. For me, these training camps, these weight cuts, these fights, these wins, these losses, were all part of truly learning this sport, and learning to report on it, write bout it, analyze it and describe it. If my career going forward is going to be being an analyst, color commentator and fighter agent (and it is) then I will need to learn more truths from my losses than from my victories.

Don’t get me wrong. While training and cutting weight and fighting, I was doing it not to gain experience for the future but to WIN, and for no other reason. And make no mistake, despite everything that my losses have taught me, I would be thrilled to be an MMA analyst or color commentator or agent who was undefeated and was a monster in the cage. It would be much easier to be an analyst dripping with credibility from a career filled with wins, than an analyst whose knowledge was compiled by learning from mistakes. But, if this stuff was easy, and great results were guaranteed then it would be no fun. And everyone would do it.

One thing that I have definitely learned is the true pain of failure. The pain of putting literally everything you have towards a goal and coming up short. It is a very real pain and it makes you take a good long look at yourself. It is a pain that will only really be known by those that take risks and put themselves out there. People who don’t try will never know the pain of failure.

But they will also never know the bliss of victory.

And maybe they are not living life to its fullest.

There is a lot in these few years of being a Professional Mixed Martial Artist that I am very proud of. I always worked hard. Always. I always, with the help of my conditioning guru Geoff Gervitz from BANG! Fitness, came in elite shape physically. I always made weight, despite the fact that it became very, very hard in my last few fights to do so. I never canceled on a fight. I was always professional. I always treated the sport with the utmost respect.

When I was interviewed around my fights, I always tried to speak more about the beauty of the sport than about myself. My priority was always to do right by the sport of MMA.

Fighting-wise, the high points came the two times I evened my win-loss record.

When I won in Moncton, I moved to 2 wins and 2 losses and captured the regional Elite 1 Bantamweight Title, a belt that I will always have on my wall and will always mean the world to me.

And when I won in Edmonton and evened my record at 3 wins and 3 losses, the fight-ending “ear explosion” TKO made the HDNet Inside MMA Hilite of the week and was later nominated for a Bazzie award. That was really cool.

But, fighting-wise, there were more failures than victories.

Like I said, I really must examine my failures honestly if I’m going to learn from them and use the experience as I try to improve as a color commentator, analyst and manager.

After my first fight, a loss, UFC Lightweight contender Mark Bocek said to me “Well, now you REALLY know that it is mostly mental”. He was so right.

To really be an MMA fighter, you have to constantly win mental battles with yourself. In training. In dieting. In preparation. And, most of all, in the cage.

You have to know when to be aggressive, know HOW to stay relaxed, be able to think under pressure, how to take control of time and movement. You need to be mentally incredibly strong.

I lost fights because my mind failed me at times my opponent’s did not.

For example, in my last fight. I had trained my stand-up to take control on the feet and trained to, when I saw my opponent standing between the 2 red pads in my red corner, to explode for the takedown. Then I trained safety-first Ground and Pound from guard. That was the whole game plan and the focus of training.

Well, the fight started, I tagged my opponent a couple of times, shot in when he was in my red corner, and took him down. Then I set up in his guard to do some damage. I was excited! Everything was going perfectly.

Then I was armbarred and it was over. Just like that. I was retiring from MMA with a quick loss.

Now, take nothing away from my opponent Mike Reilly. Dude laid a nice, quick, tight armbar in there and cranked the arm. It was a great job.

But the opportunity for an armbar will arise EVERY TIME the guy on top lets himself get excited and grabs the back of the head to punch. I know that. Everyone knows that. But, under pressure, in fast motion, under the lights, WHEN IT COUNTED, I didn’t know it.

The real disappointing thing about a quick loss, more so than the loss itself, is the fact that you don’t get to show your skills. You train so hard. You don’t go out for 8 weeks, you diet like a monster, you train twice a day 6 days a week. You sleep, eat and live for the 15-minutes-or-less that you will get to perform.

I worked really hard with Billy Martin, the best boxing coach in MMA, and KJ, Mike Sandy and my great training partners to develop a really solid and explosive stand-up game, which I wanted so badly to show. I learned a couple of nice hip-pocket takedowns, cage work, and strong takedown defense from Claude Patrick, and I worked diligently on my Jiu-Jitsu, positioning and Ground and Pound with the great people at MECCA MMA, especially Mark Stables, Lachlan Cheng and Alaina Hardie.

I worked hard to put together a package of skills and was excited to finally perform them under pressure.

But the meeting of my mistake while under pressure and my opponent’s good work under pressure cut that performance so short. It really hurt bad. Still does.

After the fight, in the cage, I said it would be my last. I was feeling sad and tired and old. Frustrated. And so disappointed.

And I’m becoming busier and busier now, and training time is shrinking. I’m doing broadcasting and color commentary and really fun stuff at The Fight Network and The Score, which I love, and I’ve got the great fortune of having ring-announcing or color commentary or post-fight interviews for cool MMA shows like CFC, AFC, WRECK, Ringside, MFL, and lotsa others. I’m also a managing partner at “Black and Associates”, a fighter agency and management company started by my friend Lachlan and I, and we’re managing 20 fighters and I’m so excited to help them achieve their goals. I’m working hard in The Canadian MMA biz and truly loving it.

And, most excitingly, I’m getting ready to marry my best friend, Erica Peck, in 11 months and really want to give her a good life.
In other words, maybe it is time to hang them up and focus on my future wife and my broadcasting career and continuing to learn the game.

But you know what? I trained for an hour with Billy the other day and I immediately wanted to fight again. Just like that. That’s the crazy thing about this sport. If you love it, no matter how much pain you feel from losing, and how draining failure can be, you just want to experience it one more time.

I’ll probably fight again. I mean, I’m only 41.

* Robin Black also writes for and can be seen on The Fight Network

** All photos by Jason Bouwmeester|

42 Responses to “ Black Thoughts on MMA Career ”

  1. Gunner says:

    excellent little pce Mr Black and be for warned the biggest battle of your life has yet to come. In 11months you will feel the true meaning of being utterly owned and will be tapping out more times than a life time on the mats.

    All the best in all your adventures

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  2. Sean Quinn says:

    Awesome article Birds Name.
    Gunner is correct, your screwed, 11 months from now, you will need to ask permission to think. Even then, you will probably be told what to think.

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  3. Cody Rempel says:

    “I’ve heard the reasons and excuses of a hundred fighters who have lost… even “The ref stabbed me with a pen when no one was looking.”


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  4. Gunner says:

    that reason is not valid without name to back it up. and i am upset as i must now come up with a new and original excuse for myself

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  5. Sean Quinn says:

    Pretty sure it was the cornerman that stabbed him. Didnt somebody put hot water in the waterbottle too?

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  6. harry balls says:

    That was a great piece.

    It would be awesome if you took one more scrap in your hometown. I’ve said it before it should be Myra. It would be a nice bookend.

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  7. Jay says:

    Quit trying to romanticize a sport that is two guys smashing each other. Sure we do it out of love, respect and some bent sense of honor but it’s really just a fight. I fight because I like to punch people in the head and because I’m not overly bothered by being punched in the head. I like the pure rush of combat but I like the egotastic aspects of the game like the long walk to the ring (note to young fighters – no matter what the promoter says about you hurrying up to get to the ring they can’t start the fight without you, enjoy the walk). Come to think about it I’m pretty sure Tink, Gunner and Birdy are like me in this regard. We’d probably fight each other in a 7/11 parking lot if we thought it would be good fun.

    PS – Get a hair cut.

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  8. Sean McManus says:

    Great article Robin…was a joy to read. Cheers man – it would be grand to see you fight in Toronto. All the best man – thanks for all you’ve done and all that you are doing for the sport…cheers.

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  9. Sean Quinn says:

    Sean McManus…youre still alive???

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  10. Gunner says:

    Jay i would not fight in a 7/11 parking lot unless the winner has to buy a months supply of nachos with extra cheese and lots of jalapeno peppers, and a bit of bulls eye BBQ sauce on the side

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  11. Sean Quinn says:

    hmmmm, i would fight. But not at the 7/11. Maybe at BK or A&W though.

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  12. Jay says:

    Gunner, would you fight in a Canadian Tire Parking lot if Chips were on the line?

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  13. Sean McManus says:

    alive and well friend…cheers.

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  14. Gunner says:

    Jay i am not much of a chip fello now if the gal working till number 4 was to agree to be a ring card gal it may be considered

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  15. Jay says:

    Alright its on. I currently fight at ‘fat’ and I’m not cutting weight for this fight. I’m sure Tink could throw on a skirt if we can’t get Till Number 4 Girl.

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  16. Sean Quinn says:

    Ill throw on a skirt either way.
    McManus, i miss you.


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  17. Conan says:

    Great little piece of literature Mr. Black. You are definately doing good things for this sport in Canada and keep your passion alive. All the best in the future.

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  18. you homos should be ready to throw down at any moment wherever you are. Why does it matter what eating establishment the parking lot is attached to?

    I’m dissapointed in all of you.

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  19. The Dude says:

    The craziest thing about Robin Black is he actually had a successful music career before he left his mark on MMA.

    My hat is off to you Robin for having the guts to put everything on the line in two cut throat industries when most people are content with doing the 9-5 just so they an avoid failure (and consequently miss out on the lessons learned when you fail).

    Godspeed Mr. Black and I’m looking forward to your commentating on The Score (I don’t have Fight Network anymore) and all of your future endeavors.

    The Dude

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  20. Sean Quinn says:

    MAD, i would throwdown with you anywhere any place.
    Answer your emails or ill send Biggly Riggly after you.

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  21. Matt Dunning says:

    Good for you Robin!!I know how hard you have worked since coming into the sport at XC in T.O!!Also funny comment about TJ lmao

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  22. Jay says:

    Clearly MAD is not a fighter. If he was he’d know that post fight meals are critical to a successful event. If you can make it so that you have food close by you don’t have to limp quite to far post bashing.

    If you could add in some womens and liquor then you’ve got a right proper after party.

    However, in accordance with your ‘whenever where ever’ motif I’m willing to fight even if it only means pizza pockets and Tink in a skirt with a bottle of scope.

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  23. Jason says:

    Enjoyable read Robin – really appreciate the insight!

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  24. Great article Robin! Great to have you involved in the scene as much as you are. All the best in the future, and hopefully see you back in the cage some day!

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  25. Tyler Hardcastle says:

    Awesome Piece Robin, Im stoked your thinking about coming back!!! Call up Myra!!!

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  26. Jamie Locke says:

    Great read Robin. Congrats on all of your accomplishments. I am positive you have a long life in the Canadian MMA scene ahead of you.

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  27. brodes says:

    Birdman, really enjoyed following your career from start to finish. I watched you make your debut, and now years later I respect you as much as any other personality involved in Canadian MMA.
    Im very glad you made the jump from music to sport, you do this sport a great service.
    Cheers, Brody

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  28. hammer says:

    Interesting. Are any of his fights online?

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  29. Robin Black says:

    I just want to thank my best friend Marc-Andre Drolet for helping me to chase a dream. I will appreciate it for the rest of my life.
    When I said I wanted to fight MMA five years ago, everyone said I was crazy. Everyone except Marc-Andre.
    Thank you so much for everything my friend.

    Thanks to Billy Martin for being the best coach and a great person. I look up to you so much man. Thank you for everything. I want to work with you one way or another always.

    Thanks to Claude Patrick who taught me more about the concept of MMA and connected the dots for me more in 15 or 20 hours than almost all other coaches combined. You sir are a genius.

    Thanks to Mark Stables and Lachlan and Alaina and everyone at MECCA MMA for trying to elevate my grappling and wrestling. I really soured on BJJ for a while after some really bad negative experiences I had and you guys have reminded me what a beautiful positive sport it is.

    And thank you to Alin, Jorge, Kareem, Nick, Spider, Hominick and Horodecki, Pat Cooligan, Kru Jeff, Sam, Krudar, Spencer, and so many other great coaches that have spent time trying to teach me.

    And all my training partners like Buzz Grant, Sandy Tsagouris, Ian Dawe, KJ, Mike Walton, Lachlan Cheng, Alaina Hardie, Saj, Genesis, and so many others. Thanks for the gift.

    And I want to thank everyone at Xtreme Couture, MECCA, Iron Tiger, Bruckman’s MMA, Team Canada MMA, OAMA, WAMMA, Toronto BJJ, Krudar, and all the other gyms that welcomed me.

    And CFC, Aggression, WRECK, UCW, and Freedom Fight, thank you so much for letting me fight. And especially Elite 1, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to fight for, and win, your title. I will cheer when the next 2 guys fight for it.

    And thanks so much to Chris Myra, Janz Stein, Stephane Poirier, Cory Lautischer, Matt Knysh, Eric Perez (thanks dude) and Mike Reilly for sharing such an incredible thing with me.

    I might fight again. Not for a while.

    Thanks to everyone who has been behind me. I try my best. I appreciate any support that people give me. I really do.

    That’s all. :)

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  30. Robin Black says:

    Oh shit and Geoff Gervitz at BANG! Fitness.

    That man can take a worn-out boozy 36 year old man and make him an athlete.

    One thing that I was NEVER short of was strength, fitness, and conditioning.

    Thank you Geoff.

    I honestly can’t say enough about Geoff. If you want to be an elite athlete you have to train with Geoff.

    If you train with him and work hard you will be stronger and more athletic and have a better gas tank than your opponent. Fact.

    Thank you Geoff. :)

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  31. Robin Black says:

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. Really means a lot to me.
    Thanks “The Dude”, yours moved me.

    I wanna do color commentary on the throwdown that’s brewing on this board.

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  32. kendall says:

    Robin is a good thing for MMA!

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  33. Pat G says:

    “People who don’t try will never know the pain of failure. But they will also never know the bliss of victory. And maybe they are not living life to its fullest.”

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  34. Pat G says:

    “People who don’t try will never know the pain of failure. But they will also never know the bliss of victory. And maybe they are not living life to its fullest.”


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  35. Phil Baroni says:

    props to mr black for giving it a go

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  36. Thanks for the kind words Robin.

    I can honestly say that I wish that everyone worked as hard as RFB when it comes to strength and conditioning.

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  37. This is how Robin is with everything he does. It’s truly an inspiration to have any involvement with the guy.

    I’m just honored to have such a solid friend in Robin. Top notch in all facets of life.

    My only knock of him, is that he’s too nice. be a prick sometimes!

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  38. Robin Black says:

    Geez thanks guys. :)

    You two are good friends and I appreciate the nice stuff.

    I should be more of a prick? Hmmm…. give me a day to think of some bad stuff to say about Quinn….

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  39. Sean Quinn says:

    Keep chirping birds face.

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  40. See the bad stuff should come natural, you can’t be waiting a day for it, or it’s not authentic.

    Quinn is my favorite Hobbitt.

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  41. WOW ! It is truly an honor to have met and talked with you on multiple occasions Robin. I can’t think of a more humble and honest way to express yourself than you have just now sharing your inside perspective of your own career and journey thru MMA with us ! Class act thru and thru !

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  42. canadx says:

    MMA is a realistic sport where w/l is comparable to most sports and parity dominates. There are a lot of fighters who are 4-5 or 10-8. Unlike boxers where u can be 20-1 and then lose a fight and be discarded.

    As a kid I remember the saying “it matters not who won or lost but how u played the game”.

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