Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have made it through the first round of fights, going the distance and winning my bout with a unanimous decision.
Hooray! I have accomplished all that I dreamed to do as part of the Road to the Toughman. I signed up. I got in the gym. I trained. I followed through, showed up on fight night - was cleared to fight and did so - emerging with a victory.
I am wholly and wonderfully appreciative of all the support I had there - seeing familiar faces in the crowd and hearing cheers and chants from the stands is an overwhelming and wonderful experience - and I thank all of you that participated, including those of you who couldn't make it but offered thoughts via Facebook, etc.
The loop has been completed. I set out to do something, and I did it - I feel great about it, and those who care seem to feel good about it too.
Alas, now I find myself in a conundrum of sorts. I advance to tonight's fights, where the winner will need to win 3 or maybe even 4 fights TONIGHT to win the event.
Testament to my opponent (Clint Caruthers, great fight buddy) I've awoken today with a variety of ailments, including a jaw that feels wired on a little loose and a head that just won't stop banging - but none of my ailments are serious. Which considering the circumstances, is surprising.
This is not a situation that will continue - fighting the winners from last night in a multi-fight format will not be pretty.
My cardio was wholly insufficient for one 3-round fight, and those who were there know that I got a couple unintentional rests when my headgear came off (three different times). I could not speak for 10 minutes after the fight - my fitness is right on the edge of the envelope of barely acceptable for one fight - and it is irresponsible and potentially dangerous to consider a multi-match endeavor in the same night.
Inherent in my personality is pride, and for those of you ringside last night know that after a slip and taking some damage in the first round, I began to panic slightly. The moment of truth during the break before the second round produced the realization that I could not let this guy beat me no matter what - which led to more aggression and resolve in the second and third rounds.
So if/when I start taking damage tonight, I'm not going to roll over, I'm going to push, I'm going to try and stand, and I'm going to take just as much damage as possible.
There is a difference between stubborn and stupid - and endeavoring to fight tonight, I'm afraid, would be stupid. There is no chance of victory for me. For those of you that think this is a fantasy world, and want to say you can do anything - you can do it! You can win! - guys, to win the Toughman, you need skill, experience, and stamina. I have a little, they have a lot - and I would have to make it through 3 or 4 fights against increasingly powerful opponents to get the win. Ladies and gents, it is not feasible, not currently.
Guys, this may be hard for some of you to understand, but for this reason and others, I am forfeiting my spot in tonight's fights.
I was never in it for the money, and was never in it to win it. The fight doctor cleared me to fight (I view this alone a success), and I'm undefeated in my semi-pro career, 1-0. A young lady asked to take a picture with me while I was leaving the building - my first fan photo!
And most importantly, I've got a membership to the gym that I use and have lost nearly 60 pounds since setting out on this journey.
I do not need to prove anything else to myself, and you my friends and family, I hope I have nothing more to prove to you.
There is an outside possibility that in 12 months, having continued my workout regime, I will re-consider my candidacy for the Toughman and give it another shot.
Thank you again all of you, you are appreciated. And finally, a big thank you to Jerry Thomas and the Toughman producers for putting on a first-class show.