TMN Exclusive: Nick Denis – The Ninja of Love Blog
Nick “The Ninja of Love” Denis is quite the character. Deadly. Silly. One-of-a-kind. Nick will blog his thoughts about life, love, work, play and, occassionally, fighting. He’ll blog at his leisure, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, and sometimes twice an hour. Who are we to tell him when to write stuff?
I did that UFC fighting thing the other day… It was pretty fun, I guess.
Making my way to the land of honky-tonk, I was feeling pretty confident. It was to be a big surprise, to use the wrestling skills I had been developing against a south-paw opponent. It kind of didn’t end up that way, but that’s ok. My first UFC experience… what was it like? Did I feel the UFC ‘jitters’? Did I get to meet uncle Dana? How were the ring girls? How was the city? All sorts of people have been asking me these kinds of questions over the last few weeks.
What can I say? It was obviously a great experience. Everyone involved with the UFC treated us very well. The whole week went by very smoothly, people were always making sure you were taken care of, that you were made aware of your schedule, important events to be at, the weight cutting/weigh-in process – everything. I think what probably gives most people the UFC ‘jitters’ must be all the extra stuff that goes on around the event prior to the actual fight. Luckily for me, I had experience with events held with great professionalism such as this, while competing in Japan with Sengoku, so this was not new to me at all. I definitely did not suffer from these ‘jitters’. The weight cut went smoothly, and so did the hydration and post-weigh-in-eating-a-thon. The entire week I literally spent hours daily on the internet looking at any and all possible restaurants nearby, their menus, and planning all my meals almost down to the minute. My cornernmen would just laugh at me, staring at menus and pictures of deliciousness…just dreaming of what flavor tasted like. I missed flavor. And fluids. Of course, after the weight-cut your stomach is the size of a grape, and a single banana fills you up. I still ate some good meals, but sadly never got to do my pig out fest. I was disappointed with myself for eating cleanly after and not filling my face with cheesecake. Did I ever want cheesecake. I once traded a cell phone for a couple slices of cheesecake. It was worth it. When it comes to cheesecake, it’s always worth it. As I write this I am angry that I don’t have cheesecake. Why is there no such thing as cheesecake delivery? Why does such a thing not exist? Nobody has answers for me, and nobody has cheesecake for me :( .
Fight day. Eat clean. Nothing too heavy. Staying relaxed, focused, but also having fun. Not too serious. Basically the Goldilocks of seriousness. First fight of the night was great. Just like my first couple fights when I started to fight, you know exactly when you are being called out from backstage to fight, and how to schedule your warm-up. Arriving at the arena early in the day, I notice the arena is still cold. No worries, nothing you can do to change that. ‘Stitch’ was assigned to wrap my hands. That man has hand wrapping down to a science. Or an art. Depends on how you look at it. Either way, he did it quickly, with interesting little tricks my cornermen were excited to see. Athletic commission signs off, get my gloves on, taped up by the commission, and start warming up. Time is going by and I am feeling more and more confident, and staying focused. Hitting pads, drilling – everything feels super sexy. Like, I’m talking Right Said Fred kinda sexy. So now that I know that you know how I’m really feeling, we can both kind of tell that I’m going to win. But just for fun, I’ll continue.
Time to head out. I’m waiting for them to tell me when to walk out past the drapes, into the arena. Wade, my cornerman, tells them ‘when his song starts playing he is going to wait about 20 seconds then walk out’. Thanks Wade, he’s got my back. UFC guy ‘he will walk out when I tell him’. Okie dokie. TV apparently has a schedule, I guess I understand. Walking out, people cheering. I’ve done this before, except, y’know… it’s just kinda different. I had a bunch of friends and family drive/fly down to see my fight. I can hear them specifically, but I keep my focus and keep walking and looking forward. Oh, ok. This is the part where you see everyone stop on the sponsored welcome mat, give their buddies hugs, strip, get greased, and walk into the cage. Isn’t it weird when you are going through motions that you’ve seen hundreds of times other people go through on TV. Well, it is kind of weird, but only when you think about it, I guess. At that moment, I was not thinking about it. I was thinking about getting another sip of water. Walk in the cage, just like I always do. Everything goes on just like it normally does in any fight. The only difference this time is I have the sexy Bruce Buffer introducing me with his 360 spins and whatnot.
I walk to the center and as soon as he is within range, I throw a straight right. He shields, putting both his forearms up over his face. Just as he did in the previous fights I’ve seen of his. I hit his forearms, but despite this I could feel, and knew, that he felt my power and was not the happiest of peoples at the time. I stayed on him, constantly circling to the left away from his power hand as I threw rights and lefts. Eventually I got him into a thai clinch and instinctively thought of throwing the knee. But alas! In a matter of 0.0394 seconds, I was all like ‘oh hey, his hand is just hanging down by his side, why don’t you throw a right elbow’. Then I was like ‘oh hey, good idea thanks for the suggestion, I was actually going to throw a knee but that is a good idea too. I don’t do this ever but let’s give it a go’. Half a second passes. ‘oh hey, that was really nice, his hand still isn’t up… I think that probably hurt him, let’s do it again’. Half a second passes ‘oh hey, ok keep doing this it seems to be working’. Half a second passes. ‘oh hey, that was really fun and this feels really good’. Big smiles follow. I just won my first fight in the UFC by knockout. The rest of the night went by with smiles, hugs, happy texts, and an overall feeling of ‘I always knew I could do this…’
People may not know this, but after your fight, you aren’t allowed to go off into the audience and see your friends. The UFC was kind enough to bring my brother and sister back for a quick visit. They almost killed me! I don’t think they knew how hard they were hugging and shaking me. That night we all went to the cheesecake factory. Our cabby almost killed us, but I forgive him because he was the chariot to cheesecake. After eating my pizza, something strange was happening. Inside my belly, it was as if there was no more space for incoming cheesecake. LIES! Like a girl on a first date, I ordered a cheesecake with my buddy, we were going to split it. People – you have no idea how sad this was to me. I was so full, as was he, that the cheesecake was never finished. Somewhere, in a landfill in the USA, is a cheesecake, sitting uneaten. Wasted away. But I mean, the night wasn’t a complete failure. One of my buddies at the table announced that it was posted online that I won the Knockout of the Night bonus.
I would have enough money to finance my love for cheesecake until my next fight…May 5!