It’s 11:30 p.m. and I’ve been at my gym, Body by Jose at Lifestyle Health and Fitness Center, since 10 a.m. this morning. I am thinking about my pregnant girlfriend at home and waiting for Nick Diaz to come by for some combat sports recovery work.
I turn and see two of my regular gym members appear (our facility is open 24 hours a day) and they ask why I’m there so late—I’m usually not at the gym around this time. I tell them I’m waiting to work on my boy. They ask me who and I respond that it’s a friend.
I am sitting at my desk absorbing the sense of accomplishment I feel with getting the gym operational in such a short period of time (we have only been open since late January) with limited resources when a girl on the treadmill tells me there’s a big black car parked out front. I look at the clock–it’s almost 12 a.m.—and sure enough, it’s Nick’s bat-mobile
I show him the clinic downstairs, which houses a complete chiropractic center, and then take him to the fitness center upstairs. “I like this place. It’s perfect for me–right by the freeway,” he says (It’s his first time visiting me here). I tell him he’s welcome to come here anytime. He looks around, goes to a punching bag and starts kicking and punching it. He says hello to the two members working out, gets on the mats and starts to stretch out.
Victor Galdon, Nick’s cornerman, who came along with Nick this evening, offers Nick and me some coffee. My gym members approach Nick and he talks with them for a while—he is very humble and chill and is in a great mood. His mind is at ease and he had a good practice earlier that day with Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez at El Nino Training Center in San Francisco, CA. We hang out for a while to let him get acclimated.
Suddenly, Victor gets a call from Nate Diaz, Nick’s younger brother, who is also a client of mine. Victor tells Nate that they are at my new gym. Nate starts jokingly talking about the guys at AKA—the other gym where I also have a clinic—specifically, fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has been calling out Nate for a fight. Nate says that I’m an asshole for posting pictures of me working with Khabib and Jon Fitch on my Facebook page.
We all laugh and I remember a conversation I had with Nate while I was working on him in preparation for his last fight against Ben Henderson. I asked them if they’ll visit me at AKA—Javier Mendez, the head trainer there, is OK with it. Nick seemed open to the idea of passing by and wanted to know what it looked like, what the training there was like. But Nate said, “Jose, have you ever seen Nazi soldiers hang out with the American soldiers? They would never hang out!” I tell Nick this and we all laugh.
Nick is doing better than when I worked on him last night. He had lots of aches and pains then—he was stiff and sore from sparring and wrestling with Jake Shields. Minor things. I worked on him until 2:30 a.m. in the morning and also catch up. As I am working on him, I realize that this guy isn’t just a client, but a friend. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am at today. Working with him has opened a lot of doors and brought me a lot of new clientele in the industry.
It is now late and I didn’t bring my car to the gym. I ask Nick to give me a ride back home, which is 15 minutes out of his way. Without hesitation, he agrees. Nick has a nice car and he deserves it. It’s a new Camaro—one that can do, like, 600 mph. Fast. The console looks three-dimensional. It smells like flowers inside. ;)
Nick thanks me for helping–it was a heartfelt, “thank you,” from a friend—and pays me for my services like a true professional. There’s so many people that want to work with him, but he chooses to work with me.
This is my third time working with him to prepare for a world title fight—I worked with him on the BJ Penn, Paul Daley and Carlos Condit fights. I sat back and looked at him and think about how far I’ve come.
Nick and I have had our ups and downs, but when it comes down to it, we take care of each other. He’s good at what he does and has told me the same—that I’m very knowledgeable. As a matter of fact, the night before, my intern and I were working on Nick, and Nick said, “Jose, if I ever become jobless, I want to become your apprentice because I can do this shit.
I know how it feels just like you do…all of the injuries. I’d be good at this. If I lost my job I’d work with you.” I said sure, you can practice on me. I got out of the car, shook Nick and Vic’s hands, and as they drove off, I thought about my pregnant girlfriend, my sons and what I have to do tomorrow.
I was needed at AKA headquarters to help ONE FC fighter Phil Baroni for his fight in the Philippines in nine weeks, Shawn Bunch for his Bellator fight and possibly Daniel Cormier for his UFC debut on April 20th. I feel blessed to have such awesome athletes and people in my circle. I am happy to know that I have a purpose and that I love what I do. I’ve been told several times that I have the best job in the world. I agree.
UPDATE: Jose was a guest on Pro MMA Now Radio Sunday night, Feb. 24. You can listen to the archived replay or download the episode on iTunes or Stitcher.
By: Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia is the head combat sports recovery coach at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) headquarters in San Jose, Calif, ranked one of the five top MMA gyms in the world. He is also the co-owner of Body by Jose at Lifestyle Health and Fitness in Oakley, Calif. Garcia specializes in “combat sports recovery”―his unique brand of therapeutic body maintenance that allows athletes to perform at their maximum potential. His client roster includes the top names in Mixed Martial Arts, bodybuilding and endurance competitions. For more information about Garcia, please visit www.bodybyjose.com and www.facebook.com/BBJatLifestyle.