The Black Eye: Balance?


The Black Eye THUMBSo I have this eye injury that I haven’t even started to heal yet.

I can’t spar for three to four months. Can’t even roll jiu-jitsu for awhile. Can’t do much actually. And I have a hiatial hernia inside my stomach. It gives me trouble too.And yet, for some inexplicable reason, a couple days ago I found myself up at 9 am on a Saturday texting some matchmaker friends, and sniffing around on the internet, inquiring about fights for when “I’m able to fight again”.

What kind of insane behavior is this?

When I started fighting, it was for some pretty noble reasons. I loved the sport and wanted to experience this beautiful challenge.  Later, I wanted to understand it more deeply so that I could be a better analyst and color commentator.

I don’t know the reasons for looking for a fight like this, but they feel anything but noble. They feel selfish.

Why am I trying to set dates for some kind of fight against the lowest level opponents in Canada for five, six or seven months in the future when presumably I’m healed? That doesn’t make any sense. That’s just plain dumb.

The best I can figure is, I now require the structure. The regimentation. The rules.

When I’m preparing for a fight, even at the low low level I compete at, I have all these rules.

No alcohol after six weeks out. No to occasional marijuana use after four weeks out. Regimented diet, not only no to pizza and burgers from six or eight weeks, but yes to six meals a day of a clean diet of near perfection. Feed the muscles while lowering the body fat. Get lean and strong. From eight weeks out you train mostly twice a day, nine to eleven sessions a week. You never, ever miss your strength and conditioning. You stay focused for two full months. It’s awesome.

And when I have a fight booked, I am constantly being coached by my mentors. Billy Martin three to five times a week. I love getting coached by Billy, love being directed, love having my leader. And Geoff Gervitz at Bang! Fitness, he pushes me. I never miss. I start to feel so strong and healthy. And I get to talk to my best friend, Marc-Andre, every day as he helps me work on everything.

I realize now that, in the two months while training for a fight, life is strangely easy. I feel strong and happy. I live with purpose. Wake up, eat, train, eat, work, eat, train, eat, sleep repeat.

It is so structured. I feel like I have grown to need that.

I feel a bit lost without it. I can drink beer whenever I want, I eat junk food at night sometimes. I miss training. I have no structure.

Its time to learn some balance.

I’m injured and can’t fight and very likely will not get to again.
Time to accept it focus on something else.

I’m really enjoying my work at Fight Network. I’m enjoying calling amazing MMA fights and some great boxing fights as well. I’m enjoying working daily with great people to become a better analyst.

And now John Ramdeen and I are launching a new show on Fight Network, “5 Rounds”, that is a half hour of deep analysis for highly educated fans a little deeper into the sport.  We are going to have re-occurring guests, fighters like Mark Hominick and Adrian Woolley and so many more, coaches like Elliott Bayev and Jeff Joslin and tons and tons of others, and doctors and experts and all kinds of cool dude guests.

I need to turn my focus to this show. We need to make this show special. Do it justice.

Maybe I can regiment my life around this. Dive deeper into it, and keep training with Billy and Geoff and my other coaches each week to improve my skills and knowledge so that I can become a black belt level analyst one day. These coaches are like family now, I gotta keep seeing them. I can work on other stuff with Marc-Andre, maybe a podcast. I can work towards my purple belt too, I like the curriculum-based classes at Open Mat near my home, that’s perfect for me. Maybe when I am healed I can pop in to Para Bellum and get some sparring with those great athletes there. They will take it easy on the old man. I can keep learning this way and have fun getting the privilege of training with elite guys.

It is time to let this competing thing go, man. I did my best, loved every minute of it, and learned so so much. But now maybe, in the words of a late 80’s action movie character, “I’m too old for this shit”.

I have injuries that need healing and I can only compete at the very lowest level anyways, so it is time to put the energy into becoming a better color commentator and analyst.

It is time to stop looking for fights and start looking for new challenges in other areas of the sport.

Pretty excited about the new show with Ramdeen. Gonna give that my all. Make “5 Rounds” something special.

I started fighting at 39 and I fought nine times. Trained hard every time, made weight every time, gave it my all every time, and learned lessons about myself that have enriched my life forever every time. I had my very best performance in my last fight, and fought with a clear mind and I think I finally got the real experience of performing with poise. I won a title belt in a grassroots organization, and that belt will always occupy a place of honor in my house. I won a highlight of the week on HD Net Inside MMA and was nominated for a Bazzie and will over-proudly show those clips to everyone who enters my apartment to watch fights till the end of time.

I also failed miserably in a few fights and dealt with those failures head on. I learned very real lessons about myself. They made me a better person.

I think most importantly learning first hand just how mentally and physically tough it is to compete at this sport, even at the lowest level, has taught me to truly revere these athletes that I get the privilege of commentating.

I won’t say I’m done fighting forever, cuz I said that once and I came back and fought again. You never know.

But, if you’re a friend who’s matchmaker and you get a dumb message from me on a Saturday morning asking about a fight in six months “when I’m healed”, please ignore it. I’m just being an idiot and refusing to find some balance in my life. I promise I’ll work on that.

And please check out John Ramdeen and I and a guest (Mark Hominick is penciled in as our first guest) on our first episode of “5 Rounds” on Fight Network Monday March 18th. We’ll be analyzing the weekend’s UFC 158 card in detail.


It’ll take awhile. But it’ll happen.

9 Responses to “ The Black Eye: Balance? ”

  1. Lol says:

    Bla bla bla

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 23

  2. Reg Hartt says:

    Ignore the haters Robin. You have a unique perspective and a lot of us enjoy your writing. Please keep it up.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 18 Thumb down 11

  3. Rothrock says:

    Thanks love your blogs good read.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 13 Thumb down 8

  4. Donald Duck says:

    Fighting is stupid. There is nothing dumber in the whole world than putting your life on hold for 2-3 months (depending on your camp) to train for the week when you’ll tax your body to the extreme limits to make weight and then wait around to get punched in the head while hoping to punch someone else in the head all for very little reward and more often than not a financial loss…..

    That said, man do I miss it. I know what you mean about the ‘rules’. 5AM no question I’m in the basement skipping rope every day a week of a camp. It’s miserable and lonely and stupid but so much freaking fun.


    Well-loved! Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  5. blah says:

    are you still managing fighters Robin or were you done after Denis retired?

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Robin Black says:

    Thanks guys.

    I realize I’m not the greatest writer but I enjoy writing. Putting words down helps you figure things out. I appreciate that anyone would ever read my nonsense.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  7. Robin Black says:

    @blah I still help Alex Ricci and Elias Theodorou and some other good friends find the right fights. Mostly just to help, I mostly work just for the experience. And the odd free beer. :)

    I assisted Lee with some minor sponsor stuff for Jordan too which was very cool.

    I love working with Alex and Woody too and want to contribute with them but I tend to work for free so much of the time I don’t know how good of a partner that could make me lol.

    Well-loved! Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  8. blah says:

    Try and fast talk Nick back into the game! His knockout of I think it was Sandoval in the UFC and then the Mamalis slam KO were amazing!

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. Robin’s got a work ethic like no other. Fight or no fight, we’re going to continue to work on making him stronger. And long after it’s definitely no fight, I like the idea that he can continue to work toward being a black belt commentator.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

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