The Black Eye: My Strange Addiction


Straight up, my wife and my friends say I’m too obsessed with fighting.

“But it’s my job”, I say, and it is. I work as an analyst and color commentator for The Score and The Fight Network, and I commentate on a dozen or two different shows a year. I manage Nick Denis, a great young UFC fighter and a super rad human being. I write and blog about fighting and the fight business in Canada. Sometimes I’ll take the odd consulting gig in MMA stuff or television. I get to do lotsa neat stuff.

So, yes, it’s my job but, the problem is, it’s also my hobby. I train every day and hope to fight once more if I can. And I help friends who are fighters find good opportunities with friends that are promoters. I’m also currently teaching a good friend’s family how to manage his career, because they’re great people and its fun and the right thing to do. And, in my spare time, I analyze the business of MMA in Canada. Try to break down the business the same way I break down fighting.
So, yeah, maybe I am too obsessed with fighting.

The problem is, I just LOVE it.

I love the art and sport of mixed martial arts. I love training it. I love trying to understand the details. I love learning it and relearning it. I love dissecting it and trying to understand it more deeply. I love punchin’ stuff.

And I love the work. Commentating a fight is the most incredible privilege in the world. You spend weeks, literally weeks, learning every thing you can about the combatants on a big card. You examine all of the possible ways they will match up. You compare their skills, their experience, their pluses and minuses, their human qualities, and try to feeeeeel out the intangibles. Then you take the best seat in the house and try to open up the door to your train of thought and do your damn-dest to describe the action with the information you have, as poetically as you can, while simultaneously making sense of it for the audience and sharing your passion for the beautiful thing you are witnessing. And, when you get the opportunities, you introduce the audience to the great coaches and trainers and leaders that are behind these great athletes and help make this sport great.
Man, it’s the greatest thing. I fucking love calling fights. Every time. It’s so special.

And managing Nick? Well, that’s a treat. An absolute pleasure.

Yes, Nick is an incredible athlete, an incredible fighter. He has beautiful skills and a gorgeous work ethic. He has true unbridled power, and the patience and calmness to use it. He’s a fucking thoroughbred.

But working with him is so fun because he’s such a cool human being. He’s like this oddball wandering his own path through life, pausing along the way to give and get hugs, and to figure out ways he can become a better human being. He’s got his own ideas, his own view of the world, his own very thoughtful moral code, his own political bent, and his very own sense of humor. If this guy never fought or competed or did anything special enough to be talked about or read about or watched on TV, he’d still be the most interesting person you’d ever get to meet.

I love working with him, and I love trying to find ways to help him do things his own way.

It’s supercool, man.

When I look at Nick, or other interesting friends of mine like my buddy Ian Dawe, I see people who are more well-rounded in life than I am. Even my friend Marc-Andre is spending a lot of time playing guitar, and he’s a pretty obsessive fight guy.

These guys have other interests, other hobbies, other goals in life.

I seem to have lost all of mine over the last 5 years of being so immersed in fighting.

Now I love my wife and she is the one, uh, thing (sorry sweetie it is a writing skills issue) that can distract me. But she gets frustrated with it too so obviously there’s an issue.

But at least my desire to make sure my wife’s interests are getting fair attention helps a bit. She works in theater, and I love to go watch her sing and act. She’s so talented, and I love watching her perform. But, goddamnit,sometimes I find, when I’m watching the dancing in theatre, that my mind starts to analyze the movement patters and play them out in my mind against certain stances and….

No, seriously, is this healthy?

At least I don’t think about passing her guard during, uh, (you know), anymore. That’s a small victory.

I recently really realized this problem, this addiction, may be getting outta hand.

Long story short, I was booked to fight recently, and the fight fell through.

I had dedicated every moment of my life for 10 weeks to this fight even though, to anyone observing, it was a small non-televised fight on an event in Gatineau. But somehow this was the biggest thing in the world to me.

Again, long story short, when the fight fell through I went nuts. Bananas.

I was angry for a week, really genuinely angry, and I felt like I just didn’t know what to do with he rest of my life.

Now that can NOT be healthy.

I feel better now.

I’m “normal” again.

Well, as normal as I get anyways.

As long as I’m not thinking about passing her guard during, uh, (you know), I think I’ll be all right.

Does anyone else have this problem?

I’m writing this blog in hopes that some people will post on it and tell me their stories.

Is someone in your family training/consuming/teaching/watching fighting WAY too much?

Are YOU?

15 Responses to “ The Black Eye: My Strange Addiction ”

  1. evmister says:

    I thought your strange addiction was being a 40-some year old man, and still wearing make-up?
    But seriously Robin, I’m a big fan, and you have one of the best jobs in the world (next to Joe Rogan of course).

    Well-loved! Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. Robin Black says:

    I haven’t worn make-up in a few years but the wife would love it if I did occasionally.

    You’d be surprised how many girls dig that. Honestly. It’s odd.

    But thanks a lot man, I really appreciate that. And, dude, it really is the greatest job in the Universe. Lotsa work but crazy crazy crazy fun. Scary a bit sometimes cuz you always wanna do right by the athletes, but it rules.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  3. Don't Call Me Leon says:

    Robin if you need a wing man I’ll attend therapy with you, I too am obsessed with MMA! Didn’t know you Managed fighters? Well even if it is one fighter, he’s in the UFC! I think you would be a good Manager for fighters too!

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  4. Nigel Guerin says:

    We have similar obsessions…..only mine is Muay Thai! I’ve never met you….but I enjoy your writing! (You seem to write a lot, ever think about writing a book?)

    Next time ur in Ottawa….swing by OAMA and we can smash some pads together,


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  5. Robin Black says:

    Wing man- CHECK

    Pad smash partner- CHECK

    Thanks guys.

    ps. maybe there’s a support group for this?

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Mike Russell says:

    I don’t have a problem. I can quit any time.

    *typed as I simultaneously book a train ticket to Montreal for a visit to Tristar and scan my usual sites on the web to see what I missed while I was out for an hour*

    Well-loved! Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  7. CM says:

    I thought this website is the support group for obsessed fight nerds?

    Well-loved! Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  8. Robin Black says:

    ^^^^^^ LOL!!! Then we’re screwed!

    Well-loved! Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. Bring the Pain says:

    My wife tells me the same thing robin….im constantly checking out promotions for my fighters fight in…constantly watchimg the fight network…or any fight on tv i can find…if im not coaching constantly trying to find ways to coach better….even now im in a hotel room in calgary helping the WarDog get ready and make weight for his biggest fight of his career….away from my beautiful wife and my new 4 week old baby boy….this sport…this magnificent art we call an addiction….but hey guys…is that really a problem …robin you get paid doing what you love….i get paid doing what i love…not many ppl can say that in life….MMA…my name is COACH SHANE “BRING THE PAIN”MOUNTNEY….and i am an ADDICT!!!!…;)

    Well-loved! Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  10. Support group?

    Top MMA News traffics in MMA. I hope we are your dealer, or at least one of them, and you never kick your addiction.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  11. Jamie Locke says:

    My name is Jamie Locke, and I am an addict…

    Love it though, and I think my wife understands and has learned to deal with it.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. CM says:

    Keith I think it’s both! We’re definately MMA addicts, but we can come here to read columns like this one and know we aren’t the only ones!

    I can only speak for myself, but I spend more time on this site than I do any other. What separates this website from others is the amount of coverage & content you guys are able to provide & the knowledge level of the people who post here.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. booboo says:


    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  14. Wallace says:

    At this moment I am going away to do my breakfast, later
    than having my breakfast coming again to read additional

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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