The untold story of combat sports competition and training tells a tale of colons filled to capacity, begging unsuccessfully for relief.
Nothing makes a man want to poop more than fighting, whether by grappling, punching or kicking. All that shaking, jostling, and straining really makes the doo doo flow through you. Combat athletes endure years of training where the practice of their art sometimes becomes a struggle to withstand their most basic urge: the urge to shit.
I'm certain that as a young wrestler in Cuba, Yoel Romero often felt the terrible yearning for gastrointestinal relief while honing his skills. I've seen photos of the bare bones Cero Pelado practice facilities in Havana where Romero trained. When looking at that dilapidated, un-air conditioned mat room, it becomes easy to imagine Romero struggling with his practice partner, sweating profusely in the Caribbean humidity and feeling the pressure of a compacted fecal payload tugging at his entrails.
Few things constitute a bigger pain in the ass (figuratively and literally) than leaving a combat-sports practice to crap. Different disciplines have different doo doo difficulties. Boxers, have to remove their gloves, Judokas must figure out how to remove and then re-tie their belts and taekwondo practitioners need to unfasten their dinosaur-themed buckles and remove their entire red, blue, yellow, pink, black or white/green lycra body suits with matching helmets and boots.
Wrestlers, while lacking most specialized equipment, face peculiar poo-related problems peculiar to their sport, within practice and without. For example, after weigh-ins at large wrestling tournaments, competitors gorge their empty digestive tracts with fibrous foods. Afterward, bathrooms soon become barren of toilet paper, and the floors soak in puddles of dirty commode water, which the wrestlers then walk in.
If the unsanitary conditions in the privy were not bad enough, sometimes filthy conditions manifest themselves on the mats. I have known a couple wrestlers who used laxatives to make weight only to have the fetid wages of their medication froth forth in the middle of a bout. I've come face to face with a wrestler who found similar difficulty in restraining his functions. Once, while coaching mat side, a fairly large young man tumbled into my lap, I instantly recognized a distinct pungentness emanating from him, and when he walked back inside the circle, a telltale brown stain painted an isosceles triangle down the center of the rear end on his white singlet.
This doesn't even touch on the complications associated with going number two during practice. In Romero's case, he likely had to deal with a culture hostile to bathroom excursions, with coaches and teammates who sneered at prolonged absences from training sessions. While in the act of excretion, he would have had to cope with the dissatisfaction of a rushed movement, and the disgusting sensation of pulling lukewarm, sweat-soaked, and potentially skid-marked, undies back over his backside. Afterward, hopefully someone replaced the soap over the sink, or he would have ended up rubbing stinky and soiled hands all over his teammates.
Instead, practice after practice, year after year, Romero probably did what countless other wrestlers do, and held it. Through the discomfort, the bubbling and the pressure from what often feels like a mound of plutonium weighting down the lower abdomen, wrestlers like Romero learn to ignore the need for relief and push through.
Thus, Romero's drawer loading dump in his fight against Derek Brunson represented no isolated incident, but a final surrender to years of pained pleas from his innards. We, the fighting fans, likely viewed the incident as a source of mirth or disgust, when we should have celebrated. Though most of us did not realize it, we were witnessing a rare and joyous event: a moment of liberation from a decades old burden. Fortunately for us, we will get to relive this moment tonight when Romero fights Brad Tavares, because he will shit again, in fact, he shits himself every single time he fights.
Allow me to explain.
If there were a college that only admitted the greatest wrestlers ever, and Romero applied, he wouldn't receive early admission, but he probably would end up on the waiting list. On the prestigious international Senior freestyle wrestling circuit, Romero enjoyed a fantastic career, firmly entrenching himself as one of the world's best for a decade, and claiming wins over three different Olympic gold medalists. Despite all of his success, however, Romero only managed to ascend to the top of the sport one time, winning a lone World Championship in 1999. Seven other times, he placed top six in the Olympics or World Championships without taking away the top prize. Though Romero experienced sustained excellence, historical greatness remained tantalizingly close but ultimately elusive. Doubtlessly, this hurt him deeply.
Sick of wrestling, the work without the payoff, the heartbreak, the lack of recognition and the frustratingly close brushes with Olympic glory, Romero decided that he didn't want to put up with it anymore. So, instead of basing his fighting style around wrestling, a combat style which has provided him such intense tribulation, Romero enters the cage and shits.
In all but one case, he has not taken physical shits, yet still pooped in very real way, both spiritually and stylistically. At its essence, crapping amounts to a purging of the unwanted, the toxic, the foul and the noisome. The sport that first took Romero across the world and twice to the Olympics became putrid to him, so he defecates, excluding all vestiges of his wrestling past in the composition of his fighting repertoire. Now, cleansed from the incapacitating clog of wrestling, Romero eschews almost all takedowns, and takedown defense, and simply pummels his opponents with explosive violence.
You could almost say, shitting himself free of wrestling allows him to beat the shit out of people, which in turn, has caused him to shit his pants.
Just wait till tonight.
Shit's going down.