MENU
#Fight Night Stockholm #Alexander Gustafsson #Glover Teixeira #Colosseum #Conor McGregor #Volkan Oezdemir #Peter Sobotta #Ben Saunders #Jon Jones #Dynasty of Heroes #Bojan Velickovic #Nicholas Musoke #Nordine Taleb #Oliver Enkamp


If there's a more difficult and demanding job in sports than being a professional fighter, I haven't run across it yet. Getting kicked and punched in the head for a living is only a part of the challenges a fighter faces.

Imagine trying to shed 20 pounds in a week while eating virtually nothing and drinking little. Then, think about having to smile for the cameras while suffering so badly you think you might pass out. Now, you have at least an idea of what it's like for those who fight for a living.

It's easy to forget that behind their snarling visages and muscular bodies are fathers and sons and brothers, real people with spouses and children who need their time and attention. These are people with bills to pay, obligations to fulfill and legitimate concerns about job security. They just happen to be very good at something most of us never want to even try.

Then, a guy like Charlie Brenneman comes along and handles the most difficult situations with style and grace and it helps explain why mixed martial arts is the fastest-growing sport in the world.

Brenneman is a welterweight who will meet Kyle Noke at UFC 152 on Sept. 22 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

He's probably best known now for a series of tweets he sent out on Aug. 23 after learning that UFC 151 had been canceled when Dan Henderson was injured and Jon Jones wouldn't fight any other opponent on that night.

Brenneman was supposed to fight on that card – which would have been Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas – and had his world crushed as he was walking out of practice in Hoboken, N.J.

He went to Twitter where he wrote, "Me n @rick_story took a fight on 24 hrs notice!! Champ what?!?! @ufc" He later tweeted directly to Jones, jokingly asking Jones to pay his rent for him.

It was an eye-opening moment for Brenneman, as he suddenly went from a mid-level guy looking to make his way in the sport to a fighter very much in demand.

[Also: Frankie Edgar steps in to face Jose Aldo in now enthralling UFC 153 main event]

"It was kind of neat, to be honest," Brenneman said. "As fighters, we have ups and downs, good performances, bad performances. That directly affects how much attention is paid to us. Some people, like Ronda Rousey and Chael [Sonnen], they're good at talking themselves into the spotlight.

"I had an explosion [of interest] after I fought Story and that lasted a couple of months, and then it seems like everyone forgets about you. It was neat/funny that I made one little less than 140-character comment and it ends up on 'SportsCenter.' It's been fun. It's how I sincerely feel and it's not vulgar or negative in any way, but to see the life of its own that it's taken is pretty cool."

Brenneman, though, showed his true style not in the way he handled himself in the wake of the UFC 151 postponement, but rather how he dealt with a far more tragic situation.

On June 7, the day before he was to fight Eric Silva in Sunrise, Fla., Brenneman received a message from the wife of one of his best friends, Don Messing. She asked Brenneman to call her.

It turned out that the 42-year-old Messing, who had been Brenneman's strength and conditioning coach, had died of a heart attack.

Brenneman was only a few hours away from the weigh-in when he got the news.

It was heart-wrenching. He not only had to deal with the loss of his long-time friend, but also he still had to lose weight to fight the next day.

Thousands of fans in the arena roared when Silva submitted Brenneman, blissfully unaware of the tragedy and the pain that Brenneman was carrying. This hurt more than any punch, any kick, any knee ever could.

Nobody would have blamed him when he heard the news on the morning of the weigh-in had he chose not to fight. Brenneman, though, is a keenly aware sort who knew the implications of walking away.

That would mean that Silva would lose a paycheck and so would his team. Fans would be deprived of the fight.

And so he went forward despite very much wanting to jump on the next plane home and begin the grieving process.

"I handled it as best I could and I kept it in," Brenneman said. "I kept it from the media, from the public, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't get it out of my mind. I understood I had a job to do and I had to go through with the fight and do my best. But looking back, mentally, I was thinking about Don while I was in the fight and that's never a good combo."

Compared to Messing's death, handling the cancelation of a card and the delay of a paycheck was not very much to ask.

He was priming himself mentally to fight and suddenly had to readjust so many things.

It's that human side fans and media often aren't aware of or don't think about that is frequently the toughest for the fighters to handle.

"Everyone talks about the financial aspects of it, but I was primed to fight this Saturday," Brenneman said. "[The cancelation] caused me to sit back and reevaluate what I should be doing this week. … Honestly speaking, it does [take work to handle the mental side of it].

"Going into a fight, there is obviously the physical preparation, but there's also a mental preparation, getting yourself primed for that fight on that Saturday night and then counting on and being anxious for that next morning. Then, all that pressure's off and you can just kind of feel free for a bit. You build psychologically to that climax and that regrouping period. It's something now I have to wait for and start all over."

He's handled some of the most unimaginable situations with style and grace. It's a testament to his character and the man he is, but he said it's all part of a team effort.

He said his growth in that regard is due in large part to his brother, Ben, and his trainer/manager, Mike Constantino.

"I'm a lot more mature and I'm a lot more patient," he said. "When I was coming up, I'm a pretty impulsive person. So, if a sponsor would deny me or someone would say something, I would get really heated really fast. My brother, Ben, helps me out with every aspect of the game and with Mike Constantino as my manager, those guys have really taught me obviously the fighting aspects.

"But they've also taught me how to interact with people, how to deal with certain situations, when to keep my mouth open, when to keep my mouth shut. It's funny, but it's only two years later and seven fights later [after debuting in the UFC], but I really and truly feel like a veteran compared to guys who have one, two, three fights in the UFC. That's like being a freshman when you walk onto campus and you try your hardest not to look like a freshman and just blend in, but everyone knows, 'Yeah, he's a freshman.' "

Brenneman is clearly no freshman in this often crazy fighting business. As he's shown in these past few months, he's become a guy who just aced his doctorate in fight-game professionalism.

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Pat Forde: Lane Kiffin is college football's most interesting man – and one of its most loathed
Eric Adelson: Man falls to his death at Houston Texans' game
Andy Roddick will retire from tennis at the conclusion of the U.S. Open | Video

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Video: Relive Cage Warriors 83 headliner Che Mills' scintillating UFC debut

  • 27 days ago
  • 14 views

On Saturday, English welterweight Che Mills headlines Cage Warriors 83 against Welsh fighter Lewis Long. Ahead of that clash, take a look back at Mills’ scintillating UFC debut in November 2011.Filed read news >>

LFA 11 video highlights: More finishes, more calls for shots in the UFC

  • 23 days ago
  • 28 views

It’s become a regular occurrence at LFA shows: Headliners pick up a big win, then use their moment in the spotlight to make it known they want to be in the UFC.Filed under: AXS TV Fights, Featured Vi read news >>

Jason Radcliffe-Victor Cheng vacant middleweight title fight headlines Cage Warriors 85

  • 23 days ago
  • 28 views

The reinvented Cage Warriors organization will continue to hand out championship belts going forward, and at Cage Warriors 85, a new middleweight titleholder will be crowned.Filed under: Cage Warrior read news >>

MMA Debut of 12-Year-Old Momo vs. Adult Draws Outrage Abroad, Support at Home

  • 19 days ago
  • 51 views

In the United States, the headlines hit mixed martial arts websites, message boards and social media like a coordinated strike against decency. 12-year-old set to fight 24-year-old adult in mixed mar read news >>

Episode No. 4 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption'

  • 19 days ago
  • 53 views

Episode No. 4 of “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” opens a spotlight on Team Dillashaw’s James Krause, who will look to extend his team’s undefeated run in the competition later in the episode ag read news >>

Invicta FC 23 headliner Agnieszka Niedzwiedz wants UFC contract – but not through 'TUF 26'

  • 9 days ago
  • 23 views

Polish up-and-comer Agnieszka Niedzwiedz headlines tonight’s Invicta FC 23 event opposite veteran Vanessa Porto while looking for a 10th win on her undefeated record. Could the UFC be next? Possibly. read news >>

Sergio Pettis vs. Brandon Moreno headlines UFC Fight Night 114 in Mexico City

  • 8 days ago
  • 13 views

A pair of surging flyweights, including one from Mexico, will headline the UFC’s return to Mexico City this summer. Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Kobe Bryant Shows Support for Potential Fighter's Union at UFC Athlete's Retreat

  • 6 days ago
  • 3 views

At a UFC Athlete Retreat in Las Vegas on Monday, NBA legend Kobe Bryant expressed support for the formation of a UFC fighters union. As seen in the following video courtesy of UFC fighter Angela Hill read news >>

Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov headlines September's UFC Fight Night in Rotterdam

  • 2 days ago
  • 5 views

STOCKHOLM – Dutch heavyweight Stefan Struve and fellow big man Alexander Volkov will meet in a five-round affair in the Netherlands.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov Headlines UFC Rotterdam | MMAWeekly.com

  • 2 days ago
  • 9 views

UFC on Saturday announced that Dutch heavyweight Stefan Struve will headline the organization’s return to the Netherlands against Alexander Volkov. read news >>