Reposted from Head Blade website.
Today we pay tribute to Kickboxer, Author and all-around Rad Dude Mark "FightShark" Miller. We met Mark shortly after he underwent open heart surgery back in 2007. From the start we had a great connection with him, not only because he sports a shaved head, but because his attitude and spirit are truly inspirational.
After his surgery Mark began on a tremendous journey with a singular singular focus: getting back in the ring to compete. In 2011, after years of rehab and training, Mark's hard work paid off when he earned a knockout win over Russian heavyweight Nikolaj Falin at United Glory 14 (the precursor to GLORY). Mark's KO win marked the first (and likely last) time any fighter has returned to fight professionally following open heart surgery. Inspirational to say the least!
Mark's life has been a rollercoaster since his triumph in 2011. Late last year Mark was hospitalized due to complications with his CHD and kidney failure. He is uninsurable due to his "pre-existing conditions" and facing a mountain of medical bills. One thing is for sure, you cannot keep FightShark down!
Being a HeadBlade sponsored athlete and friend we are extremely happy to run a special two-week long campaign to help raise money for Mark (and save YOU the HeadBlader some $$$)!
Use coupon code "fightshark" at checkout to get a 10% discount on any order at HeadBlade.com. The 10% you save will go directly to Mark to help with his medical bills. Offer expires at 11:59 PM PDT on Monday, April 7.
*If you would like to donate directly to Mark, please visit his GoFundMe page. No amount is too small and 100% of proceeds go directly to help his medical expenses. To learn more about Mark's incredible story, pre-order a copy of his book "Pain Don't Hurt: Fighting Inside and Outside the Ring" on Amazon. The book is being published by Chef/Author/TV star Anthony Bourdain's publishing imprint under Ecco books, and co-authored by his girlfriend Shelby Jones.
The common belief is that fighters with LT (low testosterone) have in the past abused steroids which in turn has caused their bodies to have a reduced testosterone production. Some times it is true sometimes it isn’t.I have been reading some research lately that has stated that repeated concussions and brain injuries can cause low testosterone. When a person receives a head injury it can cause damage to the pituitary gland which regulates hormone production. It is amazing to me that something that is a centimeter square in size can control so many bodily necessities such as testosterone.**In 2007, a paper published in the Journal of Athletic Training reported thefirst known connection between mild concussions and hypopituitarism, a deficiency that can lead to low testosterone. Research is ongoing on brain injuries and the effects on testosterone production. Research in brain injury is still realitively a new process and it will take years to see the final results of this research but the start of it has grown by leaps and bounds rapidly.I am not saying that testosterone replacement therapy is the cure for every fighter’s issues but it would be nice to take into consideration the fact that a malfunctioning pituitary gland can cause issues and treat each case individually instead of condemning all fighters that are on TRT. It is a proven fact that fighters take hits to the head everyday they train. This can not be controlled by any commission or doctor. But the fighters need to be aware of the fact that these repeated head traumas can cause testosterone deficiency.The knowledge that pituitary gland injury causes low testosterone isn’t widespread. Most people you would ask don’t know that repeated head injuries can cause damage to the gland and in turn cause low testosterone. Most I dare to say wouldn’t even know that the pituitary gland controls the release of testosterone.Like I said earlier this is not the one diagnoses fits all fighters deal. Each fighter that thinks they have low testosterone should also in my opinion be tested for pituitary gland damage, and in turn have a legitimate case for testosterone replacement therapy.I would just like for more people to understand there are more causes of low testosterone than previous steroid use and for each case to be looked at on an individual basis. **quoted from MMAfighting.com article by Mike Chiapetta
MMABeats: How does it feel to be associated with, what in my opinion, are two of the biggest names in marital arts, the Thompson's and the Machado's?
Lindsay: I would have to say I feel lucky to have such a tight knit family. It isn't common these days to have families that are close and that support each other the way we do. Both my family and my husband's family are close and have known each other since 1997. To have both families in the martial arts, working together and collaborating is truly awesome! Carlos and my dad get on the mat and get to work with my brothers and other fighters, when together, and then head home and follow up with where they left off over dinner. I would have to say I am one lucky girl to have the family I have!
MMABeats: What was it like growing up in the Thompson family?
Lindsay: Growing up in the Thompson family was definitely a demanding experience. We are firm believers that hard work and dedication pays off. So early on my mom and dad made sure that we learned that lesson. If you want something then get to work..nothing was handed to us that's for sure! We literally grew up in the karate school. We all had so much fun playing and training in the school everyday! What kid wouldn't want to run and play all day on the mats and with all the equipment and with other kids? Good memories for sure! As we trained and got older we took on more responsibilities within the karate school and began to assist in classes and eventually became full time instructors. When other kids were hanging out with their friends after school or watching tv my parents made sure we were busy being role models. Looking back I would not have changed a thing cause I think we all turned out alright!
MMABeats: Do you have any funny Wonderboy stories you can tell that I can share with my readers?
Lindsay: There are too many funny Wonderboy stories to count! He was such a rascal! Sweet as can be but definitely one to always do the exact opposite of what my parents told him to do..lol..I remember one occasion where my mom, me and my other brothers Tony and Evan were at the gas station. It was in the evening and Stephen got out and pumped the gas for mom while we all stayed in the van..well after he had pumped the gas and paid he was walking back to the van and had the bright idea to sneak up and scare our mom ..well she saw someone slowly creeping up beside her side of the van, but didnt realize it was Stephen. Her window was down and when he jumped up at her window she hit him twice in the face so fast that we didnt even see her hand move. I am laughing right now just thinking about this. He yells and walks back holding his nose..haha...naturally she felt so bad but he learned to never sneak up on mom at night at the gas station..lol!!!
MMABeats: Were you competitive in karate growing up?
Lindsay: Oh yes..My dad had me competing in my first karate tournament at the ripe old age of 4. I competed quite often in karate until I was about 13. After 14 years old we all began to focus not just on the Kempo karate and BJJ but also kickboxing! I had my first ickboxing fight at 15 years old. It was against a 27 year old lady who currently held the Georgia state amateur title if I remember correctly. My dad forgot to mention that little detail to me though:) He told me that it was her first fight as well so I wouldn't freak out about fighting such an experienced fighter. You have to understand though. Back then there were no women fighting so you had to take whatever fight you could get. Fortunately I won the fight and sent her packing. The look on my dads face was priceless! He was grinning ear to ear and I could tell he was really proud of me that night. I had a few other fights after that one and won them all. I competed in a handful of BJJ tournaments and won all of those as well..So my martial arts career up until I had my kids was great! I could have accomplished more but the time to start my family approached and I turned my focus on raising my kiddos and helping my husband build his business in Dallas. That has been my focus ever since.
MMABeats: How did you and Carlos meet?
Lindsay: I met Carlos in SC. My dad would bring Carlos in to teach BJJ seminars at his karate school. So for a few years my family got to know and bond with Carlos. He asked my dad for permission to date me and my dad said yes. So we talked via email and the phone for a couple of months before I moved to Texas for good! We got married 2 months later and had 4 kids in 4.5 years..we didnt waste any time creating our family! It has been a roller coaster but its been worth it! We actually have plans to have a couple more little Machado's in the near future! Definitely helps to have family that loves your husband as much as you do!
The lady I am getting ready to introduce to you has to be one of the most interesting people I have chatted with in a while. She is a lady with a goal and a dream and in my opinion she is going to make BIG thing happen for women in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She is the owner/ceo of Just A Girl BJJ. Her name is Leslie Rials. She is a real inspiration to me to go after my goals and dreams and never give up.MMABeats: What inspired you to start Just A Girl BJJ?Leslie: When I started this website, my intention was to do a blog about females in Jiu Jitsu. The blog was also intended to serve as a way to look back on my journey to achieve my Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu and to get in put from other women who may be experiencing some of the same things I was....being small, being paired up with big men, being older, dealing with the feeling of suffocation and sweat dripping in your eyes lol. http://www.justagirlbjj.com/1/post/2013/04/jiu-jitsu-journey.html And the blog continued.....It was called "One Blue Belt" which was how my "Brown Belt" boyfriend would refer to me when he wanted me to do something for him. After about a year of blogging I thought maybe it was time to change the name since I had no intention of staying "One Blue Belt" I put the word out for help and received many cute name ideas, Just a Girl in a Jiu Jitsu World seemed to fit just right! (thank you to my Daughter Tori for that one) http://www.justagirlbjj.com/1/post/2013/01/who-am-i-help.html A friend of my daughters drew the little girl logo just for fun and sent it to me. When I posted it on the site, I instantly had several requests for a shirt with the girl on it. Just a Girl was born! I started making several different items with my logo and it was crazy but, they really took off! I still do my blog but, mainly JAG has turned into a Female BJJ Store! I'm hoping to get more women interested when they see you can be a "Girl" and still do Jiu Jitsu MMABeats: How long have you been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Leslie: I have been training BJJ for about 3 years now and teaching an all womens class for about 1 1/2 years. Prior to BJJ I was a competitive gymnast for over 10 years and studied boxing & kick boxing for about 2 years.MMABeats: What Words of advice would you give to young ladies wanting to compete in BJJ?Leslie: Competing can be very stressful! And I have to say it's not for everyone! I'm a wreck prior to a tournament (everytime!) but, the amazing feeling of accomplishment when its over is indescribable! I strongly encourage competition, it makes you work harder having a goal to look forward to! It's amazing seeing the growth of women in competition in just the last few years.Ladies, give Jiu-Jitsu a try!!
Ricky Rainey's next fight will be on September 6, 2013 on AXS.tv starting at 10pm EST. His fight will be with Dhiego Lima and is being billed as the co-main event.
I learned a lot of things while I was visiting Upstate Karate on August 20, 2013. The biggest lesson I learned was to not make a judgement on someone based on only what you have heard or read about them. I met Ricky Rainey while I was visiting with the Thompson family. I had the preconceived notion that he wasn't going to be very friendly and have a generally bad attitude. He is just the opposite of what I thought he would be like. He is charming and funny and a perfect gentleman. He made me laugh bunches.
From now on I will make my character judgements based on what i have personally encountered rather than what I read or hear.
The other thing I learned is to drink lemon water and eat the lemon rind to help aid in the digestion of your food. The eating lemon rind was easier than I thought it would be and it has seemed to keep my acid reflux in check the last few days ! Thank you Mr. T for the insightful information.
A Portion Of Team Munoz
First of all I would like to say congratulations on the win last Saturday and your amazing comeback.
MMABeats: You said something at the press conference that made a big impression on me and it was "Adversity is the dust that polishes diamonds." Can you give me the back story of that quote and how it applied to your comeback on Saturday?
Mark: Because of the tumultuous year I had last year with pulling out against Chael Sonnen and watching him go for a world title, then rushing into a fight with Chris Weidman and getting knocked out the way I did, finding out later that I actually fought on a broken foot. The doctor says, "you will possibly be sitting out for about a year because of this injury." Upon hearing this, which was the straw that broke the camel's back, I spiraled into depression. I'm not a guy that drinks or does drugs, or parties but I love food. I began to eat all my comfort foods and got up to 261 pounds. Being at my lowest of lows and highest in weight I reached out to my strength and conditioning trainer. And from there I was able to turn it around. The structure of diet and exercise dug me out of the pit and I was able to rise out of the pit and become successful! It was this whole year that gave me perspective and made me realize that I had to fix things in my life and make sure everything was handled before I was able to train. So when I say, adversity is the dust that polishes a diamond." - One will go through adversity but because of that adversity at the end you will be able to shine even brighter!
MMABeats: What was the process of getting out of the cycle of eating because you were sad and being said because you were eating? I am an emotional eater and i know this would help me as well as others.
Mark: I called up my trainer Todd Norman, scheduled a meeting, met him, and we devised a plan of action to get me black in shape. I also spoke to my very good friends in Sam Calavitta and Riley Ross that are very knowledgeable in this as well. They were very instrumental in helping me out of my funk. With a consistent work ethic and diet I was able to chip away at my weight everyday.
MMABeats: If you could have only one Bible verse committed to memory what would it be and why?
Mark: Proverbs 3:5-6 It says, "Trust in The Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He'll make your paths straight."- This verse is the verse that has been the verse I live by! All it's saying in its profound simplicity is all you have to do is trust in The Lord with everything, step out on faith and do what He has called you to do and when doing that He will make your paths straight! I love how this verse just gives you comfort and direction to overcome by trusting in The Lord!
MMABeats: What keeps you motivated to train even through all the adversity you have been dealing with in the last year ?
Mark: My motivation is summed up in two things: faith and family. I believe God has called me to become a warrior for Him to fight for souls and the platform He's given me is the UFC. When I look back upon his sovereignty over my life, God has been preparing me to become a fighter all along. So I step out in faith knowing that this is what He wants me to do. Also my family, with a wife and 4 children I need to provide and with the UFC I'm able to provide and still do what I love to do while glorifying Him at the same time.
MMABeats: How is the hand? I noticed it was swelled a bit during the press conference and was concerned about you.
Mark: Just got an X-ray yesterday (Tuesday July, 9) and its only a sprain. Thank goodness!!!! So as soon as the swelling and pain subsides I will continue my training.
MMABeats: Who was your biggest encourager during this camp?
Mark: My biggest encourager was Todd Norman. He's my strength and conditioning trainer. He believes in me and truly wants what's best for me. I love him like a brother!!
MMABeats: With your training have you ever reached a point where you felt like you werent progressing? How did you overcome that feeling and start making forward progress again?
Mark: Yes there were times when my weight was stagnant and I got a bit frustrated. I was training hard and doing everything right but my weight was staying still. So Todd and Sam gave me some of their insight to switch the training up a bit get rest in the middle of the day and when I started resting in the middle of the day the weight started to fall off again. We came down the conclusion that my cortisol levels were high and I had to get them down by training smarter, not harder and get rest in the middle of the day.
MMABeats: During your long layoff did you take time to learn new skills and new tactics for your return?
Oh yes! New skills were definitely incorporated into my weaponry. I honed my skills as far as striking and also my transitions from striking to takedowns.
MMABeats: What is your favorite post fight food ?
Mark: My favorite post fight food is sushi! I love eating sushi afterwards!
My name is Joseph Lozito. On February 12, 2011 at approximately 8:45 AM, I was involved in a high-profile incident on a New York City subway. 28 hours earlier, a man named Maksim Gelman began a murderous rampage throughout Brooklyn. It started when his mother refused him access to the family Lexus. He proceeded to kill his step-father with a knife. After that he fled to the house of a woman he was stalking and when she wasn’t home, he proceeded to kill her mother and then wait hours for the younger woman to come home and he killed her. While on the run, he attempted several carjacks, slashing others along the way. He struck two pedestrians with cars, killing one of them, bring the death toll to four.The next morning, a woman was reading a newspaper article about him on the subway platform at 96th street where he confronted her, telling her that “what they’re printing about me are all lies” and swatting the paper out of her hands. The woman notified the police and now the police were on a manhunt in the subway system for the man who would later be dubbed “Mad Maks”.At approximately 8:40 AM I made a decision that would alter my life forever. After arriving at New York Penn Station from Philadelphia, I proceeded to the stairway for the platform of the #1 local subway. Notices stated that due to construction, the #1 was running express from 42nd st. to 72nd st., the exact route of both #2 & #3 trains, both of which arrive & depart from the same express platform. This has happened several times in my life and I always just waited at the local platform. On this day however, I decided to go to the express platform since double the trains stop there. That decision would almost cost me my life.When I boarded the train in the first car, two uniformed police officers boarded with me and went straight in to where the motorman operates the train. Their radios were going crazy and while I couldn’t understand what exactly what was going on, they were there for a reason. Being that my commute originated from Philadelphia, I hadn’t seen a New York paper that morning. As the commute started, a man walked up to the motormens door and banged on it and yelled “let me in, I’m the police” unaware that the actual police were behind the door. Looking through the window at the man I would later learn was the man the police were on the train to apprehend, they replied “you’re not the police” and left it at that. As the man walked away, another man who had been standing next to me raced to the same door and was alternately tapping on the window and waving the police out. Again, no action was taken on the part of the officers. As the first man approached the door again, the second man fled back next to me. The first man stopped about three feet from the door, about two feet from me, looked me in the eyes and said “you’re gonna to die, you’re gonna to die”. He pulls out a cooking knife with an 8 inch blade and proceeds to stab me in the face under my left eye. When he cocked his arm back for another plunge, I shot for his legs to take him down. While I was taking him down, he carved the side & back of my head three times. After taking him down, from the bottom, he was slashing upwards while I was trying to catch his hand. His first swing sliced my thumb to the tendon and his second swing sliced my arm to the tricep muscle. Finally on his third swing, I was able to catch his wrist, slam his hand down and he dropped the knife.It was then when I felt a tap on my lower back. It was the male officer from the motormans compartment telling me “we got him”. The fact that "we got him" is in quotes is not just because it was spoken word.I got up and sat on a subway seat, blood pouring out of me, watching the male officer struggling to handcuff Gelman after all the dirty work had been done. His partner offered no assistance and it was only when another passenger on the train helped were they able to handcuff Gelman. Several other officers joined in sporadically and at some point I would say there were over 5 or 6 officers in the subway car which by the way, was now stopped in the tunnel between 34th st. & 42nd st.I BEGGED the police the get the train moving. I was told to hang in there that they'd get me out of there. After about 10 minutes of bleeding from the seven wounds I had suffered, I grabbed an officer by the arm and said "do you have children?' to which he replied "yes". I said "I have two little boys at home, I can't die on this train". I was told not to worry that the paramedics were on their way down to the car, coming through the back of train. A few more minutes go by, no paramedics yet, so I grab another cop by the wrist and say "are you married?" and the reply was "yes" to which I answered "so am I and my wife needs me..I can't die on this train". I was told to stay calm that help was on the way. The only person to offer ANY assistance was the passenger who helped handcuff Gelman. He came and applied direct pressure to my deepest wound, a wound so deep you could see my skull in a photograph. After about 20-25 minutes of essentially bleeding out & on the verge of death, I heard an officer say "ok, we're ready to move". I shouted "what about the paramedics??" and the answer was they were waiting at 42nd st. The truth was they were NEVER on their way to the train. While I was waiting for the train to move, I overheard one of the officers describe me as "likely". I had no idea what that meant. Later at the hospital, I asked my sister who is a NYC cop herself what "likely" meant and she told me "likely to die".Feeling myself get weaker & weaker, we pull into 42nd st. station and there was a problem getting the doors open. When the paramedics entered, as they were transferring me from the seat to the stretcher, I passed out. I found out later from one of the officers that when I passed out, I did so with my eyes open and she thought I had died. Once I was carried up to the street, I was greeted to one officer asking the another, "is that the perp or the vic?".Upon arriving at Bellevue, I was greeted by an army of medical personnel and as I was being treated, an officer comes by my head and shows me the mugshot that was distributed to all cops that day and he asks me "is this the guy who did this to you?" and I said "yes". He says, "well then, you're a hero & I said "I'm not a hero, why am I a hero?" to which he replied "that guy killed four people last night". That was the first I had of Maksim Gelman and his "exploits".After getting several staples and stitches in my head, face, hand & arm, I was transported to my room where I watched Mayor Bloomberg & Commissioner Kelly credit the "quick response by 2 NYPD officers and one off duty cop in the apprehension of Maksim Gelman". Needless to say, I was stunned. I was fortunate enough that the local newspapers came for quotes the next day. They thought they were coming for a victim statement, but what they got was the REAL STORY. Once these stories hit the internet, I was flooded with requests for tv, radio & print interviews and I complied with each & every one of them. Praise was heaped upon me but I was both quick to accept and deflect praise to the others involved, including the NYPD. Even in my weakened condition on the train, I knew they could have done more, but at that point, I was happy to be alive & I was happy to praise anybody.Later that week, I had to testify before a Grand Jury to indict Maksim Gelman. I gave my harrowing testimony and after I left, the male officer gave his testimony. On our way back home, my sister explained that she thought something wasn't right. She said it seemed like the cops were hiding something in the conversation she had with them. She said the female cop said she barely remembered anything and the male cop was very vague in his answers.I missed several weeks of work, but upon returning to work, on one of the first nights I was back, on my way to the train station, a man was following me. I stopped short & confronted the man and he told me he was on the Grand Jury I testified in front of. After he proved he was, he told me something that was basically like getting attacked all was now stopped in the tunnel between 34th st. & 42nd st.I BEGGED the police the get the train moving. I was told to hang i is indeed the hese cops too much credit. They hung you & everybody else out to dry that day. The male cop testified that he was watching everything go down in the car and that when you & Gelman were looking at each other, he started to come out but when Gelman reached in his jacket, the cop thought Gelman had a gun so he closed the door and remained inside". I almost passed out. I now knew that had this officer done his job, I wouldn't have even been touched. I now knew that this officer thought Gelman had a gun and instead of coming out to do something, was willing to sacrifice lives of innocent people to potentially save his own. The fact is, they were on that train to get Gelman, Gelman presented himself on a silver platter. Another passenger tried to get them to come out and they only came out after I had him on the ground and had disarmed him. Yes, they were armed with guns and nightsticks. I was armed with nothing.I felt that someone needed to be held accountable so I hired a lawyer and we filed a lawsuit. I am not expendable. I am not a statistic. The city has basically said that the police had no obligation to protect me or any other person on that train. Even though the man they were looking for, the man who had killed four and injured several others was in their sights and ready to be captured, was on the train, on the SAME car, they didn't have an obligation to do ANYTHING! The city has filed a motion to have my case thrown out before any information is even exchanged between the lawyers. I feel it'"Justice" System, my story needs to be decided by a jury of my peers. All I want is that chance. That is all I'm asking for.
Joe Lozito: A True Life Hero
This is his story on how he survived an attack by the infamous subway killer. And the justice Joe deserves as a survivor of Mad Maks attack.
I had the pleasure a few days ago to talk to Evan Thompson. He is the younger but BIGGER brother of Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson and son of Upstate Karate's owner Ray Thompson. Evan's martial arts and combat sports background started at an early age. His entire family is involved or has been involved with Kickboxing since he was born.I really enjoyed talking to Evan, he is just as pleasant to talk to as everyone one else in his family that i have had the honor of talking to. MMABeats: Do you feel that Stephen being a professional fighter pushed you into wanting to become a professional fighter as well ?
Evan: I wouldnt say so much that it pushed me to want to become a fighter but i will say that it encouraged me to become a better fighter and woek on technique and speed. Stephen inspires me as a fighter. He trains hard and fights hard.
MMABeats: What advice would you dive a young fighter wanting to make MMA their career ?
Evan: Train right. Find a good MMA school and become a well rounded fighter. Take your time and take at least one year of training before taking your first amateur fight. Then take at lest 10-15 amateur fights before going pro. A losing record doesnt look as bad on an amatuer record as it does on a professional one. MMABeats: Who would you say is your biggest influence in your career and why ? Evan: In my MMA career my biggest influence has been my entire family. I want my family's name to be synonymous with Kickboxing and Karate. Just like the Gracie's and the Machado's are synonymous with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.In my teaching career my kids in my classes are my inspiration. It makes me happy to see the kids accomplish things. It is an honor and privilege to be someone that they can look up to as a role model.
MMABeats: Evan would like to give a shout out to the following sponsors and supporters.
My Fit Food
Family Wise Health Care
UDS Payment Solutions
All of my students and families at RCJ Machado Jiu-Jitsu The Colony
And a special Shoutout to Ray and Stephen Thompson, who I am going to punch in the face soon. :o)
The above picture is one of my favorite pictures of Stephen Thompson. When I recently spoke with Stephen I asked him about what Bible verse was his favorite and he told me it was:Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the L ord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." He quotes this right before he goes into the octagon. Stephen said that no matter if he wins or loses that he knows God has a plan for him and he's open to whatever that plan is.
Here are a few more questions that I asked when Stephen and I talked.
MMABeats: Who would you consider the biggest influence in your life?
Stephen: My dad Ray. He is always very upbeat and positive and always supportive. He's someone to really look up to.
MMABeats: How are you going to approach training for your fight with Nah-Shon Burrell?
Stephen: I'll train hard like I always do. When I find out who my opponent is I find out what their strengths are and then I start training and getting myself stronger in their areas of strength.
MMABeats: What's the hardest part of training camp for you?
Stephen: Training camp is always hard. The thing most of the guys I call in to train with me don't realize is that I not only train two to three times a day but I teach adult and kids Karate five to six hours each day on top pf those training sessions.What keeps me going is being able to teach the kids in my classes the same values I was taught,as a kid, by my dad. Such as self confidence, modesty,respect and integrity. That's what keeps a smile on my face. It's an honor to be a role model for them.
Here are a few sponsor and training partner shoutouts Stephen wanted me to include:
Keith Johnson 170
Mike "The Man" King 185
My brother Evan Thompson
Upstate Karate and Team Pitch Black.
and last but not least
Mr. and Mrs. T aka Dad and Mom. I appreciate and want to thank you for everything you've done to make me the man I am today.