Peggy Morgan’s TUF 18 Fighter Blog Week 9: I Screwed Up and Cody Broke

October 31, 2013
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Peggy Morgan-TUF 18Last week, I dreamed that I fought Sarah Moras again, but I had to do everything exactly as I’d done it the first time. I knew all the mistakes I was about to make, but I couldn’t do anything to stop myself from making them. Basically, I was trapped inside my own body watching myself get beat up for a second time.

It sucked.

I’m fully aware how much of a head case I sound like right now, and I don’t care. Y’all have seen me in some pretty unglamorous situations. I mean, seriously. You’ve seen me in my underwear at 135 pounds. You’ve seen me trapped underneath another woman eating elbow after elbow. At this point, I couldn’t feel much more vulnerable than I already do, so screw it. Might as well start revealing my neurotic dreams to you as well. Especially since this particular neurotic dream pretty accurately sums up what it’s like to lose a fight on The Ultimate Fighter.

No matter what, losing hurts. I’m not talking about the obvious physical pain, which to be honest isn’t that bad. I’m talking about emotional stuff. After that loss, I looked back at all the hours I’d spent training, all the work my coaches and training partners had put into helping me, all the sacrifices my family and I had made, and all the time I’d given up with my son. I felt like I’d thrown it all away. I felt like I’d let myself down. I felt like I’d let my coaches and training partners down. More than anything else, I felt like I’d let my son down.

For a few weeks after, I was pretty freaking depressed. But I got over it. Now, four months later, the fight is finally airing for the first time, and I’m living the whole thing over again.

The worst part is anticipating how other people are going to react. Although this was my first MMA loss, I’ve lost before as an amateur boxer and kickboxer. That was different though, mostly because it wasn’t on TV. No one was tweeting or blogging or even talking about it. No one cared. For the first time in my life, I have to deal with losing on a big stage.

I know I’m going to get feedback from people saying I should have done this or I could have done that. I’ve been to plenty of fights and heard the stuff spectators say. It’s usually pretty obvious advice. Stuff like, “Don’t let him take you down!” or my personal favorite, “Punch him!” As a fighter, I’d just like to say: we know. Trust me. We say the same things inside our own heads. But sometimes it’s just not that easy.

You know how sometimes you have a bad day at the office? Well, the same thing happens to fighters, too. Some days, things just aren’t clicking. You can’t get the rhythm, can’t find the angle, can’t gauge the distance. You miss a shot. You sprawl too late. You grab an underhook when you should have kept the whizzer. You make one mistake and then another mistake and the next thing you know, you’re being elbowed in the head and then armbarred.

I don’t want to make excuses, and I definitely don’t want to take anything away from Sarah. She’s a tough chick and a good fighter. But long story short, I screwed up. I know I screwed up. That is all.

And while we’re on the subject of screwing up, this is probably a good time to talk about Cody Bollinger missing weight. Anthony, Cody, Sarah, and I had been cutting together in the sauna the previous day, and I’d had no idea anything was wrong. I knew Cody was having a rough weight cut, but so were the rest of us, so it never occurred to me that he wouldn’t make weight.

But then the next day I was lying on one of the sofas in the Team Rousey locker room waiting for it to finally be time to weigh in when I heard that Dana was at the gym. That was the first indication that something wasn’t right. Dana didn’t spend a lot of time hanging around the gym. He was mostly only there for fights or if somebody was doing something they shouldn’t be. A few minutes later, Team Rousey heard the news: Cody had given up. It wasn’t that he missed weight. He wasn’t even trying to make weight anymore.

You all heard the explanation he offered: “I broke.”

It’s hard to understand, I know. Even other fighters who know how mentally and physically challenging a hard weight cut can be will have a hard time understanding what could impel someone to give up such an amazing opportunity. It’s probably even harder for the general public to understand.

Few people will ever endure the sort of deprivation fighters go through during a weight cut. I’m not complaining; it’s what we choose to do. Still, it’s more difficult than anyone who hasn’t been there can understand. You might think that the hunger is the worst, but it’s really the thirst that becomes unbearable. After a while, you get to a primitive state where you really don’t care about anything except getting some moisture back into your body. Your mind starts doing some strange things.

I don’t know what was going on in Cody’s head when he decided to give up and take a drink, but I’m pretty sure it’s a decision he’ll regret for the rest of his life.

Team Rousey’s Peggy Morgan is blogging exclusively for readers throughout the Team Rousey vs. Team Tate season. You can follow her on Twitter @PeggyMorganMMA.

  • Mark Zima

    I guessed, when you wrote earlier that you envied Duke her fight, that you lost this one. But I was still rooting for you, hoping I was wrong. I’m sure you’ll continue to learn and improve and eventually rise to the top. Looking forward to watching your progress.

  • joseph

    That’s why weight cutting is stupid. To weight in at 145 and then fight the next day at 160 is silly. It should either be a range of weight or fighters should just fight at what weight they are most comfortable. I no longer try to cut weight just try to stay fit and comfortable.

    • adam kleist

      Only problem though then is the possibility of mismatches and such if you change the system, which was the point of having this to begin with.

      I’ve never quite understood the reason behind the weigh in the day before though and then allowing the fighters to add so much more back before the fight. I can see the idea of replenishing and being at ones best I suppose but… almost defeats the purpose of cutting to me. Regardless though, if nothing else…..I think there is a major issue with how weight cuts tend to go in the combat world, that really needs addressing. It just is not healthy to be putting your body through this type of extreme deprivation, or extreme over indulgence on a constant basis like a lot of fighters do. There has got to be better ways to be cutting weight if this system must stay in place than how it tends to be done. I mean when you got people passing out from dehydration…having to go to the hospital in cases, and even sometimes actually dying as happened not too long ago, something is very wrong. And that’s not even going into the long term effects of constantly doing this cutting/regaining thing, it will take a toll on the body over time. There has to be better ways.

  • Mike mckinney

    Remember that weight divisions are a way to handicap fights. It allows for lesser fighters to still shine. That allows promoters to offer more content, and gives us more product.
    I believe having weigh ins the day before is to protect fighters from themselves. It is extremely unhealthy to fight while dehydrated, and guys will do it.
    The rules are all to protect the fighters. More often than not from themselves. It’s easy to say “weigh guys as they enter the ring.” However that presents tons of problems. If fighters didn’t make weight it would give promoters no time to do anything. Most of all, guys would come in dehydrated and it is really bad to have head trama while in that state.

    The answer should be not having stupid low weight divisions. There’s just about nobody that fights walking around at 135lbs. And the very few that might are not enough to have a division. It’s silly. We have a men’s weight division in the UFC that is close to the average weight of girls entering high school.

    • Joe

      But you forget that the guys at 155 are cutting down from an even higher weight than that. The guys who currently fight at 135 would have a tough time competing with them.

      The reality is everyone cuts. How is getting rid of the lighter weight divisions going to change anything?

  • Mike mckinney

    You’re correct in that almost everyone is cutting weight. There’s a ton of humans that couldn’t make 205lbs.
    I mentioned getting rid of super low weight classes because very few athletes are close to those weights.
    The lower the weight class the more weight on average guys are cutting especially if you look at it from a percentage of body weight.
    The lower the weight class, the more weight cutting issues arise.
    At the end of the day it’s the fans fault. People say they like fast pace action, and promote the divisions.

    • sylverdrag

      Out here in Asia, a lot of fighters naturally belong in these lower weight classes (some without cutting any weight at all). Removing the lighter weigth classes would make it impossible for them to fight (or they would be at a huge disadvantage).

      I think the solution is not to remove lower weight classes, but to enforce a minimum hydration level. No one should object to a fighter cutting fat to make weight, the only issue is water loss so by making sure that fighters are properly hydrated, one could avoid the most detrimental aspect of weight cutting.

  • jiralinseng

    Hi Peggy, don’t know if you read these or not, but just wanted to say that there’s alot of fans out here including me that give you fighters respect, win or lose. Don’t listen to the negative stuff, they’re written by people who sit on the couch and do less than 1% of the kind of work that you guys and gals put into your passion. And you’re living your dream! Take pride in the fact that you even made it to TUF and will likely get more opportunities through this experience in the near future. There’s a long list of fighters who have lost on TUF but have excelled in the UFC. Good luck with the rest of your career, looking forward to seeing you in the UFC!

  • claudale

    Peggy, it looked to me like your mistake in that fight was you initially stuffed the takedown, and instead of retreating, you tried to get on top and and ended up on bottom. I was rooting for you – Sarah was an annoying Canadian

  • annmariastat

    Peggy –
    My grandmother used to tell me after I lost, “When you don’t get what you want, it is because God has better plans for you.” She always turned out to be right in the end.