Hurricane Sandy may only be a memory, however the destruction it unleashed is still a stark reality to many residents of the northeastern United States. New Jersey native and former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar is among those affected, and though his home suffered minimal damages, the neighboring borough of Seaside Heights -- famous for it's boardwalk and having been the setting for the TV show Jersey Shore -- was not so lucky.
"The whole boardwalk literally, if it's not torn up, it needs to be replaced," Edgar sighed on Wednesday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I don't know what they're going to do, how they're going to resituate it, because they're going to have to do something.
"It's real sad. I grew in these places. Just beside the fact that Seaside, that's where I used to go in the summer, every summer, this past summer I hung out there all the time; it's more so, just the people who lost their homes. You want to see them bounce back. It's just real tough."
Despite continual aid efforts, including extensive local work from Edgar, much of the mid-Atlantic remains in disarray more than a week after Hurricane Sandy touched ground. But while the leftover ruins have become an inviting target for looters, the sadness shared by so many has also served as a uniting force for the community.
"I always say, I've got my town on my back," Edgar vowed. "Where I'm from on my back. And now it's just tenfold going through this tragedy.
"I was watching the [New York] Giants' game this past weekend, and they're talking about how this gets people's minds off of the story, off of the devastation. Anytime we can do that in the cage, it's just that much better."
Unlike fellow northeasterner Chris Weidman, who's scheduled to fight in December, Edgar is lucky enough that the stress of the current situation won't bleed over into training camp. "The Answer" is roughly 12 weeks out from his heavily anticipated superfight against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 156, and the way he puts it, his preparation "shouldn't be too affected."
Still, it's hard not to think that the fight would have already been in the books had Aldo not recklessly injured his foot while riding his motorcycle in Brazil last September. Edgar, though, isn't holding any grudges.
"I'm not going to knock the dude for that," he said. "You could hurt yourself walking down the stairs. I'm sure he's going to learn his lesson and hopefully not ride motorcycles during his training camp, or maybe wait until he's done with his fighting career."
According to Edgar, the match-up with Aldo was up in the air for about a "half a day" following the injury, until a conversation with UFC President Dana White led to his removal from UFC 153 and Anderson Silva subsequently saving the event.
"I was looking forward to fighting October 13th," Edgar admitted. "I still had a bad taste in my mouth from my last fight. I figured the best way to get over that was to jump back in there right away. That would have been cool. Plus the fact that you only had five weeks to prepare. You only had five weeks to be in your head. That would've been nice too.
"But I feel things happen for a reason. [It's] a blessing in disguise."
In the time since, the normally reserved Aldo surprised some by lobbing a few shots across the border, confidently declaring Edgar can move up in weight all he wants but he'll always only be the No. 2 featherweight in the world. Edgar is well aware of his opponent's dismissiveness, but he's been in this game for far too long and been counted out far too many times to let something so snippy get to him.
"Everyone is going to say something, man," Edgar finished. "If I got too hyped up about everybody that I fought these past years, this ain't the sport for me. This is my seventh title fight in a row. My feathers don't get ruffled anymore. I got a job, and that's what I'm going to do come February 2nd."