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Keyboard to the Cage: Ep. 2 - Support the team

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Check out the second episode of this SB Nation original series, where journalist Eddie Mercado supports his teammates and watches them fight live.

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Welcome to the second episode of Keyboard to the Cage: A journalist’s journey to pro MMA! This video series will document my journey through a fight camp in preparation for my professional MMA debut at SFL 42 on January 31, 2020.

Episode 1 explored exactly what I’m doing here, and also introduced my coaches and teammates. This installment is all about supporting my camp. I travel a few hours away from the home base to watch my friends/brothers/teammates step in the cage and go to war. These guys are helping me on my journey to the cage, so the least I could do is come watch them chase their dreams.

In this video we have Carlos Martinez, Craig Jason Willingham, Rob Shermer, and Marshall Shermer stepping up to lay it all the line. Watch the moments beforehand, from taking naps, to hitting pads and from getting their hands wrapped to getting amped. It was a solid experience for me to witness my team go through fight night in their respective ways. It taught me how important it is to remain calm, warm up, and maybe most importantly get the mindset right.

Stay tuned for episode 3, where I get in some sparring, some rolls, and talk about the fears associated with getting into a fight.

Oh, and don’t forget that there will be betting odds for my upcoming pro fight against Will Holtzclaw, courtesy of BetOnline.AG.

Why?

I want a deeper appreciation for both the sport I love to cover so much, and the athletes that risk their lives for their dreams. It’s easy to sit here and critique and ridicule fighters for bad performances or lapses in fight judgement. I believe competing in an MMA bout myself will give me a better understanding of what they have to go through, both in preparation and inside the arena. I gained a little bit of insight in December of 2019 when I traveled to Thailand to train at Tiger Muay Thai and compete in a pro Muay Thai bout out there. It was truly eye opening, but striking is just one facet of MMA. I feel like I need to get a mixed martial arts fight under my belt to curb my curiosity.

Another important ‘why’ for me is that I never want to live with the regret of never trying, or sitting in a rocking chair when I’m 80 years old saying I could have, I should have, or I would have. I want to look back and say I did that. Tomorrow is never promised. This is a fact. I want to do my best to live life to the fullest, and what better way than knucking in a cage? If I happen to inspire at least one person to pursue their dreams in the process, well then it’ll be totally worth it.

Also, I have a lot of little tiny humans looking up to me in the form of six nieces and two nephews. I want to prove to them that anything is possible if you drop the excuses, silence the fears, and put forth your best efforts. It’s easy to be afraid of failure, but easy doesn’t equate to fulfillment. The truth is, I’m just a regular dude without any special talents. The good news is that you don’t need talent to work hard or have an unwavering passion. I want to be proof of that. Inspiring humans is my ‘why.’

Why not? (Excuses):

  • None.

The match:

  • Eddie Mercado (0-0-0) vs. Will Holtzclaw (0-0-0): Middleweight
  • Three five-minute rounds
  • SFL 42 on January 31, 2020 in Norfolk, Virginia

Training regimen:

  • Jiu-Jitsu with Diego Bispo - 6x world black belt champion
  • Muay Thai with Harvey Grasse - Duke Roufus product
  • Wrestling with Seldon Wright - Old Dominion University product
  • Strength & conditioning with Andrew Delcarmen - Certified monster

How to watch:

  • The video series can be seen on Bloody Elbow in article form, along with their and MMA Mania’s Facebook page.
  • The fight itself will be available on fite.tv in PPV form. If you happen to be in Norfolk, Virginia on January 31, 2020 then you can come watch live at the Chartway Arena across from Old Dominion University.

Making this possible:

SFL 42 fightcard:

Main card: (Pro)

Mitch Aguiar vs. Mumia Abu Deyali: Welterweight

Kedrick Harris vs. Kaine Tomlinson Sr: Welterweight

Thomas Blair vs. Elias Briley: Featherweight

Alan Stephenson vs. Sam Eure: 165 pounds

Ryan Parker vs. Ricky Thompson: 190 pounds

Eddie Mercado vs. William Holtzclaw: Middleweight

Prelims: (Amateur)

Evan Stephens vs. Zion Tomlinson: Light Heavyweight title

Pierre Ba vs. Matt Hicks: Bantamweight title

Adrian Soto-Perez vs. Joseph Huggins: Lightweight title

Justin Spyres vs. Brandon Eldridge: Welterweight title

Alistair Patterson vs. Jeffrey Summers: Lightweight

Manny Fernandez vs. Emanuel Thompson: Featherweight

Seldon Wright vs. Conor Mosby: Welterweight

Kaine Tomlinson Jr vs. Kyle Hall: Welterweight