K-1 and MMA fighter Mark “The Fight Shark” Miller is doing a weekly blog leading up to his miraculous comeback this May. He will step back into the ring for the first time in six years, and become the first fighter ever to do so after having open heart surgery.
“Courage Doesnʼt always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says ʻI will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher
It’s been a tough week. Training has jumped up a lot. While I am progressing and improving continually, I am sore, tired sometimes, and antsy. Now the itch is back, the desire to be back in that ring.
The lust for that chance to do what I do best. I was sitting at home, unwinding on Thursday evening, and I had a realization that made me smile. When I was young, and just starting to really pay attention to combat sports, I can remember watching Buddy McGirt and Rob Kaman fight on TV.
I remember loving Buddy’s fights against Pernell Whitaker. How, while Buddy didn’t win, he was one of the first people to ever put hands on Sweet Pea. I remember watching Rob Kaman dig those leg kicks into opponents. It was like watching a skilled lumberjack sink an axe into a tree. I remember how I longed to be counted among those men, as a peer, as one of them.
Here I am years later, and these two men are my coaches. These are the men polishing me for this fight. I feel so lucky to have such a career that I get to work with the people I have looked up to and aspired to be like. And truly, my career has been this way since the beginning. Starting with Maurice Smith and Rick Roufus, two men I still am so grateful to, and now these guys.
It makes me think about my dad, and about my kids. My father was such a huge influence on me, good and bad. At six-foot-six, he wasn’t a small man, and he wasn’t always a nice man, but no one could ever say he wasn’t passionate. He introduced me to combat sports, put the interest in it in me.
My dad played in the very first NBA game ever. He played for the Toronto Huskies. I always sort of held that fact as a piece of pride. He was a part of something big, bigger than himself.
I hope to do that for my kids. I have three sons, all of whom are so brilliant, and so individual. I am so proud of the human beings they are growing up to be. I hope one day that they will feel that they can have that same pride when it comes to me.
This is what drives me when it gets hard on nights like this. I remember when I was recovering from my heart surgery at my parents’ home in Latrobe, I had some of the best conversations with my father that I had ever had in my entire life. We talked about my career a little, and for the first time he didn’t call me a fool for choosing to be a fighter over being a baseball player.
It was so little time after that that he was gone, yet the impact that he left is immeasurable. The influence a parent can have on a child is a gift when regarded as such.
I get to get up tomorrow and get beat up early during strength and conditioning. Mark Dacascos, the incredible martial artist known mostly for his various film and TV appearances and roles, also trains at my strength and conditioning gym. He is such a joy to train around, always happy. Then later, it’s off to train with Rob.
I only get one day off a week before it’s back to grinding with the greatest. My legs are going to hurt. And I get to tell my kids all about how Daddy got to play with a big man named Rob Kaman. How lucky am I?
You can follow Mark on Twitter: @fightshark_com