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    Wednesday, October 23, 2019-1:53:01A.M.






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MMA-rianas: MMA-rriage

Love and MMA

TODAY’S MMA-rianas will be taking a departure from the usual technical discussions pertaining to mixed martial arts in favor of a more lighthearted and humorous tone.

Partly inspired by the recent eloping of one of the CNMI’s favorite mixed martial arts sons, Frank “The Crank” Camacho and his lovely wife, Sarah Filush Camacho, this column is dedicated to “love and MMA” and its relationship with “love for MMA.”

Remember the romantic-comedy films Love & Basketball and Brown Sugar? Well, think of it in those terms except replace basketball and hip hop (the parallel theme in Brown Sugar) with MMA and you’ll get the gist of it.

As difficult as it may be to grasp for some, a fighter’s commitment to their MMA career often shares many similarities to the commitment they must carry into their marriage relationship once they have tied the knot. Allow me to clarify.

Much like the ups and downs experienced during training and competition throughout one’s quest to be a successful MMA competitor, marriage can at times be equally if not more exhausting on the mind, body and spirit.

Except in marriage, you’re dealing with two entities and their own separate personalities and priorities and not just the needs and wants of one individual.

In that regard, marriage can be even more challenging than simply training to become the best fighter. A fighter’s spouse also experiences and shares in the joys and heartaches of all their ups and downs, their triumphs and their failures.

This makes perfect sense when you think about it, because what’s good for the goose is supposed to be good for the gander too. A large degree of sacrifice, selflessness and humility comes into play. If the marriage starts to suffer for the sake of the career or vice versa, that’s something nobody wants.

At this point, you’re stopping and wondering why this is taking a seemingly more serious turn and wondering when the more humorous aspect is going to kick in.

I don’t blame you. I am too. But bear with me here.

You see, much like any career path, being an MMA fighter who is married can be even more empowering and uplifting with the right attitude or mindset on the part of both spouses. A fighter with a spouse who strongly supports his or her career goals, is more likely to have higher morale and feel more motivated to continue what they are doing, no matter what the outcome.

In the case of the Camachos, Sarah has long been a very passionate supporter of her husband’s MMA career—even before they were married. She even goes as far as to help him prepare during fight camp by performing many of the same regimens that he does, together with him, as a show of support.

By engaging in the same workouts and subjecting herself to the same rigors and discipline, she, like many other MMA spouses develops a greater appreciation for what Frank puts on the line every day.

Frank and Sarah Camacho, pictured here at Submit. Intl II, are in many ways the quintessential “MMA-rried” couple.  Contributed photo

Frank, in turn, grows stronger in his appreciation for her. The relationship is subsequently strengthened in this mutual, reciprocative behavior.

Theirs is just one among many examples of MMA power couples engaged in “MMA-rriages.”

Take for instance, Cuki and Mari Alvarez, who are widely regarded as the First Couple of MMA in the CNMI. Not only was Mari highly supportive of Cuki during his days as a fighter, but she was right there beside him to help him fulfill his dream of opening his own MMA gym and starting his own promotion. In fact, she helps him run that gym to this day as co-owner and is an avid practitioner of MMA training herself. That foundation that they began together has extended to their children, some of whom are also MMA fighters or practitioners.

Now, on a much lighter note, I’d like to close this column with a few MMA-rriage jokes for some quick laughs.

You know you’re in an MMA-rriage when…

…your spouse wants to get romantic in the bedroom, but it quickly escalates into a Jiu-Jitsu rolling session with you trying to pass guard into full mount

…your mother-in-law moves in for a hug at the family Thanksgiving, but you make sure you have your under-hooks in to defend the takedown

…your kid’s teacher is confused because you helped with their alphabet assignment but instead of “A, B, C…” you put “ATT, AKA, RNC, TKO, KO, UFC…”

…you and your spouse both chuckle out loud whenever you see the cauliflower at a salad bar because it reminds you of their ears