Well I guess this kind of answers this morning’s question about the age of MMA training consent. Rory Macdonald started training when he was 14 years old, now look at him: suplexing the 209 and loving life. He even blogs about it. In his latest weblog, Rory chronicles his early beginnings as a lanky teen, awkward in both life and love, living life as a fighter in a high school setting. Getting into hijinx, faking his own death and then finally traveling down the great Mississippi with Jim. Wait no, that last part was Huck Finn…
Without further adieu, Rory MacDonald everybody.
My interest in mixed martial arts started when I was very young and still at school. My brother, my dad and I would sit around and watch early UFC video tapes at home and then I’d go outside and slug the heavy bags that my father had hung up in his yard. I would repeat the punches and kicks that I’d seen my UFC heroes use on television and nothing excited me more as a kid.
I’ve always enjoyed competition and combat sports. I’d always had an interest in MMA, but wasn’t able to do anything about that interest until I found an MMA gym at 14 and started training. I loved the training and couldn’t get enough of it. I quit all the other sports I was doing, including hockey, and focused entirely on dedicating my life to becoming a great mixed martial artist.
Mixed martial arts took over my life, and it was often all I thought about when I was at school. If I was sitting in a lesson and bored, I’d be thinking about training. If I was eating lunch at lunchtime, I’d be thinking about training. If I was counting down the minutes until the school bell rang, I’d be thinking about training. Nobody at school believed me when I told them I was planning on becoming a professional fighter. It got to the point where I actually hated telling people about it, because they all just assumed Rory was telling another lie.
I wasn’t a super popular kid at school, and not many people put a lot of value into the stuff I was saying at 14. I was small and shy and didn’t think the same way a lot of the kids in my class did. I was, after all, thinking of becoming a fighter.
I was very nervous ahead of my pro debut, as all my family was in attendance and I still didn’t really know what to expect from the sport. Training is one thing, but actually competing is a different proposition altogether. I didn’t really know how to deal with the build-up to the fight — the waiting, the thinking, the walking to the cage and that whole process. Normally, if I got into a fight at school or at home, it would happen spontaneously. You wouldn’t have all that time to think about it and you never gave nerves a chance.
I am now 21 and am currently competing in the UFC. On August 6, I will face Mike Pyle at UFC 133 in Philadelphia. I’m sure I’ll be nervous, just hopefully not to the extent I was at 16. Preparation has allowed me to have confidence in myself and subsequently I am looking forward to August 6, rather than fearing it.