Friday, February 6, 2015

The Day I Found My Calling

Photo taken by: Jose Olivar

I can still remember the day Mixed Martial Arts became my obsession. 

The day was May 26, 2007. I was enjoying the last few weeks I had left in high school, and with nothing better to do, my friends and I decided to watch a UFC event that Spike TV was airing.  

Back then the UFC was still in its early stages of popularity. Only a handful of hardcore fans really knew what that UFC event meant to the sport of mixed martial arts. 

I would be lying if I said that I understood the significance of what I was about to see.

For most of the undercard fights—where fighters who had no strong fan following were competing to build up their resume—my friends and I were talking and not really focusing on what was going on. Ever so often, a fighter would go down from a punch, and only then would our attention focus on the TV.

It wasn’t until the main event came on that I felt compelled to pay attention to the fights.

UFC legend Chuck Liddell was about to step in the cage against the only man to ever stop him in a fight. Even as a casual fan, I knew who Liddell was. The Mohawk, the tattoos, and the mean face he had when he was about to step in the cage. Liddell embodied what people would imagine what UFC fighter looked like.

As I sat there glued to the television, anticipating Liddell to throw the one punch knock out he was known for; something happened that would forever alter my life.

BANG!

Just two minutes into the fight, Quentin “Rampage” Jackson threw a punch that would connect with Liddell’s jaw and send him crashing down to the mat.

And just like that, a champion’s reign came to an end, and my pursuit for a career in sports journalism began.

Growing up, writing has always been something that came easy to me. While my classmates groaned about writing essays, I used to get excited and would look forward to coming up with ideas of what to write about.

Along with writing, sport was also something that became a huge part of my life. From before I could even remember, I have always been an avid sports fan.

While going to school at Butte College and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I decided that I would pursue a career that would give me a chance to do something that I already love doing.

Now that I am a senior in college, my life has come full circle, as I am just two semesters away from graduating with a degree in Journalism.

After college, I plan on working for a newspaper where I can hone my skills as a sports writer.

Eventually, I plan on covering Mixed Martial Arts as a freelance journalist, and hopefully moderate my own website.

While there are other sports that are more “main stream,” I realized that being a well known beat writer for MMA is something that is a lot more feasible, since it is still a relatively young sport that not a lot of journalists cover.

Some of the few media outlets that I think are doing a great job of covering mixed martial arts are: mmafighting.com, sherdog.com and Fox Sports 1.

One individual who is really doing a great job of covering MMA on his own is Ariel Helwani.

Helwani has been one of the pioneer journalists who has covered mixed martial arts since before it was popular in 2006.

He does a great job of covering the sport through social media and the Internet, despite not having a platform like ESPN, who have just recently started to cover Mixed Martial Arts.

Helwani uses Twitter—where he has over 250K followers—for breaking news, and his weekly podcasts, where he interviews fighters and promoters about current topics related to the sport.

Because of Helwani, I plan on learning more about the use of Twitter and how it can aid me in my pursuit of a career as a MMA sports journalist.

Through this blog, I plan on exploring new areas in my chose field to help me with achieving my career.

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