Don’t be so hard on yourself. Even established medical doctors can be ravenous fanboys with an undying urge to own a relic of MMA history. You’re not alone in your geekdom. Give yourself a pat on the back. If it hurts, give Dr. Rex Lee a call. He’s the owner of The Centre for Chiropractic Health in Mississauga, Ontario. On his Facebook page he talks about a sequence of chance encounters with the Korean Zombie that eventually resulted in him owning Chan Sung Jung’s gloves that he wore in his fight against Mark Hominick. If you’re a card-carrying MMA fan, then it’s a pretty interesting read.
On a cool April evening, with a craving for hot spicy tofu stew, off we went to satiate our palate. Immensely enjoying the epicurean delight in front of us, out of the corner of my eye I see a large group of people tucked away in the corner of the restaurant enjoying their food as well. I turn to my friend, “I think that is UFC fighter, “The Korean Zombie”. My friend not even turning around to look responds, “What in the world would a UFC fighter FROM Korea be doing IN Mississauga ON a weeknight, IN a hole in the wall restaurant” (no offense to this hole in the wall, it’s delicious). Not satisfied with the response, I continued to glance (or gawk as my friend puts it) over to the group.
They finish their meal and walk by us, I jump out of my seat and ask him if he is The Korean Zombie, he replies that indeed he is. I ask him for an autograph and a picture and notice that he is grabbing his neck. I ask him what happened. He says he hurt himself in training and that he can’t move his neck. I told him I was a chiropractor, and he asked me to “SAVE” him from the pain. I gave him my card and told him to come by. He was in town for FAN EXPO and to teach some seminars.
The following morning, much to my surprise, he showed up at the office. We take care of his neck and off he went back to Korea a few days later. Being a huge UFC/Korean Zombie fan and sports enthusiast, chiropractors dream of treating professional athletes, and I was fortunate enough to have had this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Fast forward to December 1, 2011. Can lightning strike twice? Thursday morning I receive an email from Jeffrey (one of the Zombie’s friends) asking if he can bring the Zombie in for some treatment before his big fight December 10, 2011 against Mark “The Machine” Hominick at the Air Canada Centre on UFC 140’s Main Card. Was this really happening again? WOW!
Shortly after receiving the email, the Zombie shows up at the office, smiling but visibly in some pain. He was a little beat up from training and from the long flight. I was shocked that he even remembered me. He said after his experience here in April where we took care of his neck pain, he went back to Korea looking for a chiropractor to help keep him in top shape and form. Unfortunately for him but fortunately for me, his search and experiences were fruitless. And he was hoping we could get him ready for his big fight.
I knew I had my hands full. He could barely lift one of his arms over his head, how was he going to compete at a top level when his body was not in top condition. Utilizing chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, guasha, electro-muscle stimulation, and a lot of manual mobilization techniques, after that first treatment, he got up off the table, and to both our surprise, he was lifting and moving his arm as if he had never injured it in the first place. I offered to treat him as often as he needed to get him to 100% or better for his big fight.
He came daily his first 5 days in Toronto. Tuesday was when he was checking into the hotel with all the other fighters and continuing his training camp. With each treatment he was feeling better and better. He had invited me to watch his training sessions if I was willing to continue to treat him up until the fight. Not hiding any of my excitement I said of course. Watching him train, meeting the other fighters (Ben Henderson, Mark Munoz, Jon Bones Jones, Lyoto Machida, Frank Mir, Igor Prokarajac, Brian Ebersole, Jake Hecht, Walel Watson, Vladimir Matyushenko), treating him in his hotel room, I was like a kid in a candy store. The experience was surreal.
Every day after work, I would lug my table and bag of tricks down to the hotel and get this professional athlete ready for the biggest test of his career. Most athletes, professional or non, are very superstitious and ritualistic. Pregame, prefight preparations are strictly followed and adhered to, and The Zombie not only invited me into his world, the whole team welcomed me in as well, the friendships we made during that week I will carry for a very long time. Thank you Coach Dongjin Ha, GyoPyong Hwang, Brian Rhee, Suk-Kyoung, Jeffrey Madden, and most importantly ChanSung Jung.
Most people think of professional athletes as vain or full of conceit. But in this young man, I have never met a more humble and soft natured person. He was so appreciative of the treatments. To be afforded the privilege to be a part of his journey the appreciation was really all mine. Just talking to him, it would be hard to imagine what he did for a living …professional mixed martial artist in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
3 hours before his fight, he wanted one more adjustment to get him primed and ready to go. I didn’t and couldn’t eat all day, I was so nervous, I felt as if I was stepping into the Octagon to fight. But I didn’t want to transfer any of this energy to him, and silently treated him with purpose and passion. Wished him luck and told him we’ll celebrate his victory tonight. Seven seconds into the fight, he shocked the world by knocking out hometown hero and 4:1 favourite Mark “The Machine” Hominick out cold.
Jokingly, he thanked me for the treatments and said it would have taken 9-seconds instead of 7 to win without the chiropractic. In humility and great appreciation, he handed me his record tying (for fastest knockout in the UFC) gloves he wore in the fight to me. I was speechless as I pulled them away from his hands and held onto them with all my might and ran to my car.
Yes, it’s any fanboys dreams to not only be in the same room with nearly everyone at UFC 140, but to actually be in possession of a record-tying KO glove. Well, Duane Ludwig may have something to say about the validity of that ‘KO record.’ [Source]