November 25, 2009
The life of a professional fighter includes grueling training sessions, an endless parade of injuries, cutting weight, time away from family, dieting and getting punched in the face for a living. Add that to sponsor obligations, media interviews and photo shoots and sometimes lousy payouts, and you could wonder who would sign up for this lifestyle, much less be thankful for it.
Yet, most of the professional fighters I spoke with couldn't stop talking when asked what they were thankful for. UFC lightweight Clay Guida is appreciative of every person who makes him a professional fighter.
"Same as I am every year. Thankful for family, thankful for the people who put me in the position that I'm in. Thankful for being healthy. Thankful for you guys in the media and the fans who put their butts in the seats so that we can get paid and keep on fighting another day."
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, who will make his debut with Strikeforce on Dec. 19, is thankful for the sports he loves. "Thankful for my friends and family ... and boxing and MMA!"
"I've been given several opportunities, and have been blessed and been able to capitalize on it," Strikeforce's Tyron Woodley said. "So I'm thankful for my family, thankful for everyone who has seen something in me. Thankful for all the positivity."
Miguel Torres recently lost his championship belt and had his win streak broken, but that doesn't tone down his appreciation.
"I'm thankful for a wonderful life and amazing daughter," Torres said.
"I'm thankful for family, thankful for my friends and my health, thankful for opportunities and this great career, thankful for fans who have supported me through ups and downs," said Strikeforce's Daniel Cormier, who recently made the jump from Olympic-level wrestler to mixed martial artists.
"Thankful for the opportunities given to me and the chance to make the most of those opportunities," said WEC interim lightweight champion Ben Henderson. "I thank the Lord for all He has given me."
"My family, my wife and my children, my health, I'm so blessed to do what I love to do." said UFC fighter Mark Munoz. "Not many people have the opportunity to do what they love, and I do. I wake up every day excited to go to work. I'm also thankful for the team of guys that I'm around. They beat me up, but they build me up."
The UFC's Matt Brown, who is on a three-fight win streak, also lost his father to cancer this year. That doesn't stop him from being grateful. When asked what he is thankful for, Brown answered, "Too many things to list."
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