“My First Time”
This past week we had the Grapplers Quest tournament here in town. As I mentioned last week, Grapplers Quest sponsors me for my fights and Brian Cimins is one of my good friends.
Anyways I headed down to check out the tournament and watch the four-man Pro Division since Jeff Glover was competing. I was thinking about competing but I didn’t want to risk getting injured because my fight is less than a month away now.
Not only that, but I don’t think Tachi Palace would appreciate me risking getting injured for a Gold Medal. Ha-ha.
It was truly amazing to see how many different people are involved in our sport; from little kids ages five to 40+ year-old men. But not only guys competed, they had girls competing also.
I even saw Zoila Frausto compete, and she won her division and won another belt. The belt isn’t as nice as her Bellator belt but it’s still another accomplishment that she can add to her list.
While I was at the tournament I was thinking about the very first time that I ever competed. I started training on Aug. 1, 2001, and I did my first tournament three weeks after that. I don’t remember the exact day of the tournament but I do remember how it made me feel.
My family is pretty competitive so I grew up in competitive sports my whole life, usually soccer and powerlifting. When I was younger and I started playing competitive soccer, before every game I wouldn’t get nervous.
I would just sit there and hang out with my friends and talk until it was time to warm up and play the game. We would play and if we won I was happy, if we lost it sucked but I was still happy because I got to hang out with my friends.
The first time I did a grappling tournament I wasn’t nervous, I was terrified! I couldn’t sleep the night before the tournament. I knew that I should go to sleep but I was up all night having imaginary matches in my head.
I went through the “what if game”, “What if he does this? What if that happens?” The thought of winning brought a smile to my face and even though you shouldn’t think about losing, it still ran through my mind a few times that night.
I finally fell asleep that night and I thought that I was going to be able to sleep in a little bit but I was up first thing in the morning like a little kid on Christmas day.
I headed to the tournament and got introduced to the “hurry up and wait game”. Basically you get there super early and you wait all day for your match. Even when they said that your division is up you hurry up and warm up just to wait a few minutes longer.
The longer I had to wait the more I had to go to the bathroom; it felt like I had to go to the bathroom every five minutes. The feeling before my first match was like nothing I ever felt before; I never felt like that before playing soccer or powerlifting. It was surreal.
During the match, everything was a blur. Everything happened so fast. The speed of training and competing is totally different.
I remember not having much time to think during the match, all I was doing was reacting. I went for moves that I never did in training, moves that I saw higher belts do in training.
I don’t think I even did them right. I don’t even think the moves flowed from one move to the next, I just went for it, I went for anything.
And before I knew it my match was over and I had won. Afterwords my teammates congratulated me and my coach Marc Laimon gave me props for doing a move. What move I asked, I didn’t even remember doing the move. Like I said, everything was a blur and you only remember bits and pieces of it.
I ended up taking first place in the no-gi division that day. After that day I was hooked! I knew that this was the sport for me. I went out of my way to compete as much as possible. I even did 17 tournaments in one year. I encourage everyone to compete at least once in their lifetime; you owe it to yourself. And who knows, you might actually like it.
P.S. Here’s a cool video for those people that have a sweet tooth like me.
P.S.S. – You can follow me on Twitter @uselessgomez.
P.S.S.S.– Here’s some of my trainers that you should follow for more updates and training advice:
“The Ulysses Gomez Experiment” is a weekly ProMMAnow.com blog series written by world top 10 ranked flyweight Ulysses Gomez as he prepares for his Aug. 5 fight at Tachi Palace Fights 10. “The Ulysses Gomez Experiment” is part of our ongoing series of exclusive content written by individuals involved in the mixed martial arts industry.