March 05, 2009

The life of a mixed martial arts fighter can be very glamorous when reaching the level of athletes like Chuck Liddell or Georges St. Pierre, but almost every person entering the sport starts out at the bottom rung of the ladder, trying to work their way up.

Enter the story of Davin Clark, a young fighter who works with the team at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., who is currently 1-0 as a professional, just looking for his chance to get better and make his way to a major promotion like the UFC.

At 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, Clark's trainer, Bob Cook, gets a call from the promoters at the upcoming Riot At The Hyatt show in Westlake Village, Calif. A fighter has been dropped from the card and they are looking for an opponent for another young fighter by the name of Felipe Fogolin.

Cook calls his fighter and Clark informs him that he currently weighs 202 pounds and will not be able to make his normal fighting weight of 185 pounds in the short time allowed with weigh-ins, literally less than 24 hours away. The promoter, Cook and his potential opponent agree to a catchweight fight of 191 pounds. The next day the process of cutting weight begins.

Along with teammate Nate Moore and coach Cook, the team heads towards the fight in the car, but with little time to spare, they will be unable to go to the gym to cut weight, so there was only one option remaining.

"We put both guys in the car in plastics, I'm unfortunately in the car with them, without plastics, but sweating all the same. I've got the heater on, heater all the way blasting," Cook explained to on Wednesday evening.

"There was no running exercises, any of that. It was in the car with the heater on and when we'd stop for gas and use the restroom, he'd jump rope."

As the time ticked away for the weigh-in, Clark and Moore both felt confident that they'd make weight without any major troubles. Then came the scale.

"We step on the scale for weigh-ins, Davin is 191.25, instead of 191," said Cook. "So the commission then gives the guy the option whether he wants to fight or not, and of course the guy chooses not to fight."

A very tumultuous 24 hours for Clark, who will now sit out for the event while his teammate goes onto fight, and Cook says he especially feels for his athlete who just wanted to fight.

"It was a frustrating deal. A quarter of a pound cost us the fight, all day suffering in the freaking car, driving, no money, and staying at a Motel 6 tonight.

"We almost had a fight right there (at the weigh-ins)," Cook said with a laugh.

So, less than 24 hours after a fight was offered, a fight won't happen. Davin Clark will gladly enjoy some pasta and try to move past a frustrating day of weight cutting with the end result being a night's stay in Westlake Village.

Cook explains that the situation is not unlike what many aspiring MMA fighters will go through when trying to make a career out of fighting.

"That's just the struggles of these young guys, what they have to go through all the time," Cook said. "Things always fall apart, change, fight for next to no money, trying to live a dream and get to the big time."

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