As fans, we sometimes are immune to the personal issues that impact the lives and affect the performances of the athletes we love to watch.
We expect quarterbacks to throw touchdowns and guards to sink their free throws and sluggers to hit home runs and fighters to score knockouts, and we expect them to do all of that without letting on they have problems in their personal lives that make it difficult for them to concentrate fully on their jobs.
If there is anyone with excuses, it is veteran Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight Chris Wilson, who is slated to face Mike Pyle on Wednesday at Oklahoma City on Ultimate Fight Night 16.
Wilson, though, is reticent to even acknowledge that anything is less than peachy keen. He sighs when he's asked a question about the impact his life issues have had upon his fight game.
It's not a topic he relishes, but Wilson is one of those guys who is honest to a fault, insightful and far too accommodating.
"A bunch of stuff happened to me and it's true, and when people ask me a direct question, I try to give them a direct answer," Wilson said. "I don't talk about any of that as a way of making excuses, but if you ask me if any of it had an affect on me, I'll answer that, too. But I talk about it when I'm asked and writers take some artistic license and then it looks to people like I'm moaning and making excuses."
Would you moan if your house were robbed? Would you make excuses if men broke into your home and stuck a gun in your face and into the faces of your wife and two children? Would you allow that to impact your performance at your job?
Clearly, such a traumatic experience would impact just about anyone.
But not long after Wilson and his family survived that home invasion in Brazil, he lost an opportunity to work. As a professional fighter, he's an independent contractor who only gets paid when he delivers his services.
He was scheduled to fight Brock Larson at UFC 98 on May 23 in Las Vegas when a mix-up on his medical tests resulted in the Nevada Athletic Commission deciding not to approve him to fight.
He's the sole provider for his family because his wife does not work, and in order to be as good as he can be as a fighter, he doesn't teach classes or hold down any type of other job. He supports his family off his fight income and the resulting sponsorships and endorsements he gets.
Wilson was emotionally crushed when the commission wouldn't allow him to fight Larson only days before the fight, particularly given he was healthy enough and blameless in the entire scenario.
The UFC did the right thing and paid him his show money, even though it was not obligated to do so. But Wilson lost the opportunity for a win bonus, he lost his sponsorship money because he didn't appear on the card and he lost out on a potential Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night or Submission of the Night bonus.
Wilson will earn $17,000 for fighting Pyle on Wednesday and will land another $17,000 if he wins. It's a tidy little payday, and though it's not one that will make him rich, it's also enough, when coupled with his sponsorship money, to make him comfortable.
Take much of that potential income away, however, and there are problems. Wilson trained for the fight. He had to pay his trainers and his managers and he incurred expenses throughout camp. Those bills didn't go away just because a last-minute snafu cost him his fight and his payday.
Nor did his electric bill or his rent or his water bill or his grocery bill go away when he wasn't permitted to fight.
It's never good when a Major League Baseball player gets sent to the minors or is released, but his income isn't totally lost. For athletes like fighters and golfers, who are independent contractors, though, it's another story entirely.
And while a guy like UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is extremely well compensated and probably won't have to work another day in his life, that's not the case for 99.9 percent of all fighters.
"If you're not St. Pierre or one of the top two, three, five guys, you may not be in such a financially great situation," Wilson said. "I don't want this to sound like I'm complaining about my pay. I am not. I absolutely am not doing that. That's not what I'm saying. But the reality of this business is, there are only a handful of guys like St. Pierre who make it big like that. We're all trying to get up there to put ourselves in that position that Georges and guys like that are in now.
"You ask me why we do this. It's financially stressful unless you're a top guy. I don't get pay-per-view money. I don't get paid if I don't fight. I started fighting when there was no money in this. I didn't fight because I expected money to come. At least it's there now and we have that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to chase. I do this because I love challenging myself and I love overcoming obstacles and I love pushing myself and seeing how far I can go."
Wilson knows the realities of his life. He's 1-2 in the UFC, having lost a decision to Jon Fitch in his UFC debut and then dropping a split decision to John Howard at UFC 94, sandwiched around a victory over Steve Bruno.
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva has more fighters than he really needs and routinely cuts fighters after pretty much every show. Like it or not, Wilson realizes his bout with Pyle could be a make-or-break fight for him.
With the fight so close, he's terrified of getting hurt and losing yet another payday.
"I'm fighting no matter what," he says. "I'm getting on that plane and going (to Oklahoma City) and I'm walking in that cage and I'm fighting. I'll throw bloody stubs at Mike Pyle's face if I have to, but I'm fighting."
Pyle will be in much the same situation as Wilson. Pyle stepped in to face Larson in May on a little more than 24 hours notice when Wilson wasn't cleared. He got a promise of a second fight in the UFC in return for accepting the fight with Larson, but Pyle can't have a lot of job security if he falls to 0-2 in the UFC.
Each man will put his heart and soul into the fight given the stakes. In a lot of ways, there is more riding on the outcome for these two men than there would be if they were fighting for a title.
"I know Mike is a tough guy and I'm in for a hard fight, but when you're fighting in the UFC, you don't ever expect or even want easy fights," Wilson said. "But you have to perform every time. I haven't lost the desire to climb the ladder and try to prove myself. I still love to train hard and compete. I'm fortunate that for everything that happened, my family is OK and I'm back and I have this chance and it's up to me how I perform and what I do in the fight. I have the opportunity and I have to take advantage of it, basically, is the way I see it."