From the halls of Montezuma to fighting for the WEC: Both Mackens Semerzier and Zack Micklewright started their fight careers after serving in the Marines. Both will also fight at WEC 50 on Wednesday night.
Semerzier, who served in Iraq in 2003, says that the training he received in the military carried over to fight training.
"It's discipline to train when you don't want to train and push past those mental and physical barriers," he told Cagewriter. "Being deployed, you get to see a lot and be put in stressful situations, and you know quitting is not an option. You take that into training and into a fight."
Micklewright caught the fighting bug while still an active Marine. While at an MMA amateur night, a fighter was needed. He answered the call and continued to be fascinated with fighting after going to Iraq to serve.
After returning from Iraq, he committed to training and joined Miletich Fighting Systems in Davenport, Iowa. Heading into his bout with Bart Palaszewski, Micklewright is 8-0.
Coincidentally, Semerzier trained with Palaszewski for WEC 50, where Semerzier will fight Javier Vazquez. When he found out his training partner was fighting a Marine, Semerzier laughed and said to Palaszewski, "You're fighting a Marine. Watch out, son."
Semerzier said that this is one of the few times when he won't be cheering on a fellow Marine. He normally supports any service member. Brian Stann, a UFC fighter and a Marine, has been to Semerzier's bouts. He said that the Marines are always concerned with representing the people who came before them.
"We take great pride in what we do and who we are," Semerzier said. "Because we're such a small unit, we feel like we have to represent ourselves well in front of other people just so they know that we're living up to the standards that were set before us with the Marines that came before us."