In my fight week post, I outlined my basic weight-cutting strategy, modified by little nuggets of information I would read here and there online. By Thursday morning, I'd cut as much sodium as possible from the diet and my water intake was minimal. I weighed 134 and felt good throughout the day, if perhaps a bit cranky. My friends started to filter into town and while you might think that would just add to the anticipation, they served as a great distraction from the event. They were also, of course, greatly supportive. Gavin Griffin's wife, Amy, compared my Saturday night to a bride on her wedding day, and "do you need anything, Terrence?" was perhaps the question I heard the most through Thursday and Friday.
I woke up at 133.6 lbs on Friday morning and headed out to the gym to cut weight. Due to a communication mix-up with the team I got there 90 minutes before everyone else. Aside from me, two of my Universal MMA teammates, Levon Kinley and Zach Koch, also fighting on the card. All three of us were within 4 lbs of our target weight on Friday morning. Zach preferred to lose the weight through exercise while Levon and I chose to wait it out and head for the sauna. After yet more somewhat stressful hassles, including a flat tire, we headed over to coach Paul's building to sweat out the last few remaining pounds. After about 30-35 minutes of misery in the sauna, we were on weight with about three hours to go to the weigh-in.
The weigh-ins were pretty uneventful. I'd cooked some food the night before and asked my friends to microwave and bring it to me. Though the weigh-in was scheduled to begin at 4:30, I stepped on the scale probably around 5:15. The scale was slightly heavier than the electronic one we'd been using to cut, and I had to strip down to my underwear to get to 131 lbs even, the absolute maximum allowed. I began to chow down and drink Hydralite, although to be honest I was unable to put back very much food or drink in that first hour. But by 8pm, I was pretty ravenous. Although I didn't weigh myself on Saturday, I probably stepped into the cage close to 140 lbs that night.
This is clearly my "Can I just go eat now?" face.
I fell asleep around 12:30am the night of the fight and woke up just past 8am, my first solid interrupted 7+ hour night of sleep in a few weeks. It felt wonderful and I was full of energy. I was ready to run out and get breakfast, walk around, be a Vancouver tour guide for my visiting friends, anything... but everyone was still asleep! I was stir-crazy in my apartment, just absolutely full of energy; all amped up and nowhere to go. But it wasn't nerves, simply anticipation. It was a lot like the feeling of waking up on the morning of a major final table and being in the chip lead, only better and more intense. Finally everyone was awake and we headed for some sushi. I ate a light meal, figuring undereating was superior to overeating.
At 4pm, I went to the gym and found out the awful news that Zach had gotten sick and would be unable to fight. It was a huge downer. The guy is just a beast in the gym who stomps all over me in every practice and I was stoked to see him fight. But I had to put that aside and focus on myself. We got to the Vogue Theatre and set up shop in our dressing room [pic], which was more functionally designed for touching up makeup than warming up fighters. Still, it was pretty cool, and I loved taking it all in. I wish I had taken more pictures or video, but with so much to think about, it never really came to mind.
As the first fighter on the card, I was worried that I wasn't going to have enough time to warm up. Everything was running late, and we hadn't even had the rules meeting finished by 6pm, when the first fight was scheduled to get underway. This is where having an experienced cornerman and teammates on hand made a huge difference. Paulie quickly and professionally wrapped my hands (it takes a lot more work than you think!) and I started to warm up quickly in the small backstage area. It was kind of weird, because right in front of where I was getting warmed up, Tony sat in the chair getting his own hands wrapped by his cornerman. So we were hesitant to go over the exact combinations and techniques I was supposed to use in the fight, but that's what we ended up doing anyway. Instilling the muscle memory in me and making any necessary last-minute adjustments seemed more important than tipping our hand at that point.
I had just started to break a sweat when it was time to go on. I snuck a quick look at Tony and he didn't seem as well warmed-up as I did. That would be the first little boost of extra confidence I got as I headed out into the bright lights.