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.
Response. Jon Jones responds to Miesha Tate after her comments about doping case.
Previewing Invicta 28.
BTS with Frankie and Yana.
Cyborg-Mayweather 2020, book it.
Dern got big dreams.
Heavy Hands. Previewing the two big fights from UFC 222.
Obviously Fight Talk. Discussing UFC 222 and interviewing Jimmy Smith.
The MMA Circus. Recapping UFC Orlando and discussing Jon Jones and UFC 222.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
@MieshaTate I don’t quit when things get tough for me, I get stronger. You just wait and see, maybe you’ll even find motivation in it. Sucks I lost you as a fan. Enjoy retirement sister— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 1, 2018
Good for Leslie.
We should live up to the courage that we embody for so many fans while we can because eventually we won't be able to. Everyone gets cut eventually just like everyone grows old. We need to use our power while we have it, both in the UFC and in life.— Leslie Smith (@LeslieSmith_GF) February 28, 2018
Mate I’m just hoping for the chance. I know Jason will give me the chance of going out on my sword and someone will get back on track. Win win really— Damien Brown (@beatdown155) February 28, 2018
Everybody knows I'm down , if u get @seanshelby to book it I'll show up and we will show out— Jason TheKid Knight (@Jasonthekid23) March 1, 2018
Seriously we don’t deserve him.
The undercard on fight night... we were kids, we got injured and made $12k. I do remember but it doesn’t define who I am today. If you were hurt as a child and it defines who you are today don’t let it. I believe you can be better today than who you were yesterday bro #blessedera— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) February 28, 2018
Alistair Overeem is the rumor.
Fight news on the horizon— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) March 1, 2018
Hey @DavidTeymur I’m sorry but your management isn’t being honest with you. Normally I just get sent a name and date, and I accept. If I ever get sent yours, I’ll accept. Good luck sorting it out and finding a fight. #iaintnopussy pic.twitter.com/Yfr6WjELDh— Jim Miller (@JimMiller_155) February 28, 2018
Perry might be making the move to a real camp.
Good to know.
That’s a wrap on season 27 of the Ultimate Fighter. It has been amazing! Thanks to the entire Tuf staff for being awesome. Thx to @stipemiocicufc and his coaching staff for being gentlemen. I can’t wait until you guys get to watch. It was great! Thx 2 my team love u all— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) February 28, 2018
The next Struve.
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
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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