Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
This fight on April 21st against Michael McDonald means a lot to me for several reasons. Of course, it offers me the chance to get another win in the UFC, move a step closer to the world title and continue my recent run of form. More than any of that, though, it feels great to be fighting again because, for a short while last year, my future in the UFC looked uncertain.
As most of you will be aware, I said something insensitive on Twitter and duly suffered the consequences. I was initially told I would no longer be able to fight in the UFC and that my time with the world's top mixed martial arts organization was over. As you can expect, this hurt a great deal and resulted in a huge amount of regret on my part.Looking back, what happened was a mistake, and one I desperately wish I could erase. I said something stupid, I was very insensitive, and I paid the price. Thankfully, at least I'm now aware of just how powerful my words can be and, as a result, will never approach social media in such a carefree manner again.
To be honest, I've always hated social media and have never liked the idea of being involved with Facebook or Twitter. In fact, I only became involved in that world because I felt obligated to do so as every athlete is involved. It was never a personal ambition of mine to splash my thoughts, feelings and movements across the world wide web for everybody to see.
I have a certain style and personality, and have now come to realize that it's not for everybody. Twitter highlights the fact that some people out there like you and support you which is great, and others hate you and can't wait to see you lose. I'm not sure whether that's the kind of feedback anybody wants to read or hear, but it certainly gives you a new perspective on things. It makes you realize that you're not infallible and, no matter what you do in your professional life, there will always be people that dislike you for some reason.
The idea of being cut from the UFC and frozen out was something that scared me a great deal. Fighting is my life – it is all I think about on a daily basis – and the UFC gave me the opportunity to showcase my skills on the biggest stage possible, against the best competition available. You can't take something like that for granted, or take your eye off the ball and jeopardize it.
That whole episode made me realize how important mixed martial arts is in my life. I want to always be involved in MMA. Obviously, I'm aware that I won't be able to fight for the rest of my life, but there will always be something I want to do, be it training others or working as an analyst. I'd love to do a lot of both in the future. I've been involved in mixed martial arts for 14 years now, and like to think, I've seen pretty much everything this sport can offer. I've experienced both the highs and lows, inside and outside the ring, and am still living to tell the tale.
For now, though, I'm happy competing and still have a lot I want to achieve in the game. Fighting is not a burden or a chore for me. There is nothing else I'd rather be doing. When fighting and training becomes a burden, that's when it's time to get out. I haven't reached that point yet, and don't see it happening any time soon.
Fighting is ingrained in my psyche, it's part of my DNA. As a young boy, I used to watch a lot of boxing with my father and that was what first inspired me to fight. It wasn't so much the fight itself that intrigued me, but more my father's reaction to it. I would sit and watch how emotional he got during a fight, and it left a lasting impression on me.
We'd watch a guy like the great boxer Julio Cesar Chavez walk to the ring and my father would look on with pride and admiration, almost welling up with emotion. Watching guys like Chavez meant the world to him. He loved those Mexican greats like they were part of his family. I'd never seen my father show so much emotion and pride. After I saw how he reacted to these guys on screen, I knew I had to make him proud and become an extension of that great Mexican fighting legacy.
Bantamweight star Miguel Torres fights Michael McDonald on Sat., April 21st at UFC 145. UFC 145 is live on pay-per-view.
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