The New Black: Life Outside the Cage
Canadian MMA has been on a rise and many are proud to say that they have stood by the sport to continue its increase in popularity. Some try to do more than others, as Robin Black has done since the rock star transitioned to fighting.
“I’ve been helping some great young athletes with fights and career choices. I don’t make any money at it, but I love it and I want to help these awesome guys succeed,” Robin Black said in an interview via e-mail.
It is great motivation for Canadian fighters to have a known commodity supporting them and willing to help them reach their goals for virtually nothing in return. His fighting career is not to be considered successful when viewing his record, similar to the great Shawn Tompkins, who could not even win a fight in his professional MMA career. His success is undoubtedly outside the octagon, where, as he stated, he is helping fighters find success in the sport.
His fighting career was forced to end abruptly because of an unknown health issue that he was only diagnosed after his last fight. Despite losing his last fight on paper, Robin believes he was victorious in a recent battle against hypothyroidism, an illness he received as a result of tumours growing on his thyroid gland. Without realization of this health issue, he fought his last two fights with the condition.
“Basically, my thyroid gland no longer worked,” Black said. “Also, my pituitary gland in my brain was working overtime to release TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which made my brain work improperly. Basically, I was in a brain fog. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t remember names. I couldn’t string together thoughts.”
After six months of weekly blood tests and doctor’s appointments, he credits his fiancée, Erica, for helping him get healthy again. Aside from his better half, he knew he had his co-workers to support him through the tough days on the job.
“Fortunately, John Ramdeen, Mauro Renallo, Arda Ocal and everyone I worked with really helped me get through it at work. I’m really fortunate to work with great people.”
He has yet to lose his passion for fighting and training and he would love to return, but in the meantime, he is happily being a commentator and an analyst. He took time to show how grateful he is to be working with the Mauro Ranallo.
“Mauro is a genius, he never makes mistake, and he’s always willing to teach. It’s so [expletive] cool to call fights with the guy who called PRIDE live in Japan. Mauro basically invented the modern MMA play-by-play. It’s an honour.”
He worked with HDNet for a tribute to Shawn Tompkins. His death was a major blow to Canadian MMA and many of the country’s top fighters were severely affected by the loss. Robin was one of the people that was devastated. He interviewed Mark Hominick, Chris Horodecki, Tompkins’ brother in-law Sam Stout, and wife Emilie Tompkins, all of who were dealing with a lot of emotion because of the surprising death.
“Shawn Tompkins was a very special man. I hope when I grow up I could be like him.”
Black enjoys his current role, but he made it clear that he will always want to be in the pressure situation of a fight. He said that since he is healthy again, he would like to fight a couple more times. After feeling “old and worn out,” he now feels that there may be another opportunity in the near future for him to compete again just out of the love of the sport.
What Robin Black has experienced this past year with his health issue made him truly appreciate the position he has been placed in. He was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to have success after a shortened career and he is ready to continue his support for the sport in any way he can. His life has become MMA and he there is no doubting how happy he is with his career path.
“Man, I really appreciate my life now that I’m healthy again. I have a great girl, a dream job, and maybe I’ll get to fight again. I’m a lucky man.”
*** photos by Jason Bouwmeester|TKO Photography & Design