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Morning Report: Alexey Oleynik felt ‘utterly helpless’ with daughter at Parkland school during shooting

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On Feb. 14, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. was the site of the most recent major American school shooting. Seventeen people were murdered and another 14 were taken to the hospital as a result of the attack. It was one of the deadliest shootings in American history, and for the students and parents involved in the attack, it was a nightmare, including UFC heavyweight contender Alexey Oleynik.

Oleynik’s daughter, Polina Oleynik, is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was in attendance on the day of the attack. Yesterday, a few weeks removed from the shooting, Oleynik wrote a piece for ABC News about what it was like for him while his daughter was in an attack like that one, calling the experience “terrifying” and saying he felt “utterly helpless.”

“Nothing in 52 professional fights was as terrifying as a text I received on Valentine’s Day from my 16-year old daughter, Polina,” wrote Oleynik.

“‘Daddy, there is a shooting at my school.’

“I read the text again just to make sure it was correct — it was. As the father of five kids, ages 2 to 16, I was consumed by thoughts of death and violence. My daughter is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and was texting me from the mass shooting that would claim 17 lives and injure many more. Thankfully, Polina survived and was uninjured, but for several hours I struggled to retain the composure I have during fights. Her text reminded me that I am a father first, and a fighter second.

“My mixed martial arts nickname is “The Boa Constrictor” because I regularly choke my opponents into submission. But, this text, received as I was preparing to leave for Russia on a work trip, left me feeling utterly helpless. My daughter updated my wife and me with a text message every 10 minutes or so. Each text gave us the gift we wanted more than anything else — knowing she was safe, for now. Then, between each text, I felt powerless, feeling a growing sense of panic. . .

“The reality is, as a professional fighter, I have the luxury of preparing for months for each fight. I train my body to peak fitness and develop a mental strategy to overcome my opponent’s biggest threat. All that preparation, study, visualization and training gives me a tremendous feeling of control. When my daughter was sending me her texts, I was scared because I had no control over her situation.”

As a fighter, Oleynik generally has been in control. Oleynik sports a 52-11-1 record, with a 4-2 mark in the UFC, including the organization’s first ever Ezekial choke finish. But as Oleynik noted, all of his professional fighting experience couldn’t possibly have prepared him for what happened. Now, Oleynik, his daughter, and the rest of the family have to move on in the face of this tragedy, but Oleynik believes that the same qualities that have helped him succeed in the octagon will help him work through these hard times.

“Now, we are trying to regain normality in our everyday lives,” concluded Oleynik.

“On Monday, Polina left the house alone in her car — a normal experience for most Florida teenagers. As her father, I had to again relinquish my desire for control and let her try to enjoy the freedom she still has even after her recent, tragic ordeal. And, while I am relatively new to U.S. politics, I do know about the psychology of winning battles. More than anything, this experience reminds me that we cannot allow our spirit to be broken and for fear to overcome us.

“In the long run in sports and life, strength and fortitude carry us through the hard times.

Oleynik is set to face Junior Albini at UFC 224 on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


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VIDEO STEW

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Cyborg-Mayweather 2020, book it.

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LISTEN UP

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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Jon responds.

Good for Leslie.

Matchmaking.

Seriously we don’t deserve him.

Alistair Overeem is the rumor.

See?

See you soon.

A post shared by Alistair Overeem (@alistairovereem) on

Half amazing.

Jim Miller.

Perry might be making the move to a real camp.

Good to know.

Wrestler Cub.

Sometimes you just gotta go back to the basics #KillerCub

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The next Struve.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Amanda Serrano (0-0) vs. Erendira Ordoñez (2-1); Combate Americas, April 13.

Jim Miller (28-11, 1 NC) vs. Dan Hooker (15-7); UFC Atlantic City, April 21.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2008: Anderson Silva unified the UFC and Pride middleweight titles when he submitted Dan Henderson at UFC 82.

2009: Mike Brown submitted Leonard Garcia to retain his WEC featherweight title at WEC 39.


FINAL THOUGHTS

If Andy Foster’s de facto stance is “He can’t possibly be that dumb to fail this test since he knows it’s coming” then there is absolutely no reason to have in-competition testing. Seriously, what is the reason for it if that is the presumption?

Also, it’s not like Jon Jones has some ironclad history of good decision making skills. I actually don’t think Jones intentionally took anything but this entire thing is nonsense.

Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.


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If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.