Wednesday, August 5, 2015

From the Connection Rio Hostel to the PRVT Brothel

Ok so its not a brothel, but Ludas (gladiator training school) just didn’t have that poetic ring to it so yeah….

Almost two years ago I arrived in Rio, with no Portuguese or Jiu Jitsu skills and no clue what I was lay ahead of me. Now, I’m in Curitiba, about to start a new stage, which will hopefully lead me home… with a nice MMA record and even more hopefully, signed to Invicta FC. Either way, I’ll actually be fighting for a change, which was not happening while I was training at Nova Uniao.

Day 1 in Curitiba.
I woke up to the sounds of voices rattling off numbers. I opened my eyes, taking in the gleaming white canvas of the boxing ring that was parallel with my mattress. Well, actually, I have no idea whose mattress it was, but it served its purpose.

Sleeping ringside

I reached out and touched the canvas, an act of reverence or maybe just a way to ground myself amidst the tumult of continuous sacrifice and uncertainty. The numbers and voices slowly began to form intelligible sequences. Weight. That’s right. I rolled out of bed (literally), stumbled to my feet and peeled off the majority of my clothes. I mumbled a good morning, in what I believe to be Portuguese and ambled off to the back of the gym in search of a scale.

One of the many uncertain variables in my life was an MMA fight, supposedly some two weeks away. I had been told weeks ago while I was still in Rio trying to get my life condensed into 2 suitcases and ready to move that I should come ready to fight at 52K (115lb). When cutting weight, its important to weigh yourself in the morning before eating or drinking anything. This is your true weight and from there you know how much you can eat, how much to work, and how much rest you can enjoy on any given day. My actual weight class is 105 lbs, I haven’t fought at 115 since losing to UFC Strawweight Tecia Torres at IKF some 3 years ago.

Once I checked my weight I scurried back to my bed in search of my clothes. Curitiba is too damn cold. In the favelas of Rio it is not uncommon to find me running around in sports bra and shorts. Its too damn hot in Rio to be constantly washing sweaty shirts, especially when you are constantly climbing up and down stairs. I can take a punch to the face, but I can’t deal with the cold to save my life.

I arrived in Curitba on a weekend so I had a few days to hang out around the gym before getting in any training on Monday. Since my last visit to Curitiba the gym had expanding and acquired two new inhabitants. Mariana Morais, from Invicta FC, and Istela Nunes, a bad ass Muay Thai fighter with 45-3 record, who had just returned from Thailand. There was now an extra room in the back from these two and what would become a separate apartment for Priscila Souza. Priscila, a native of Rio, has been fighting for PRVT for two years now and after her upcoming fights this summer will be bringing her two daughters to live with her at the gym. Mestre Parana, has apparently been scouring Brazil in search of top female talents and recruiting them to the team. That is, after all, how I ended up living here in Curitiba in the middle of nowhere.

I will take this time to note that I don’t actually live IN Curitiba. I live in the desolate, deserted, dreary metropolitan area of Curitiba, or Sao Jose da Pinhais. There is a whole lot of nothing here, and I’m dependent on other people to get from place to place, which sucks. BUT, I’m here for the promise of fights not to have a good time. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.

My stay at the gym was short lived, as they don’t have a stove, and I was spending mad skrilla eating in the street. So, Monday after training, I packed my limited things and went to the house that Parana rents for the fighters so that I could use the stove and wash my clothes. (Due to a major incident at the airport and subsequent breakdown, I only have half the luggage I was traveling with… and not the half that contained my boxing gloves, tennis shoes, or UNDERWEAR! God do I want my underwear!). 

Skip through a few days, some normal training, me getting my head shoved into fences, and thrown on the ground, blah blah this that and now on to:

Day 5 in Curitiba
Its now Wednesday and my bags are still packed and shoved into random nooks and crannies in an incredibly overcrowded room that I’m sharing with two guys. There are two single beds and a potent smelling queen sized mattress that gets throw down in the middle at night, claiming every last inch of floor space that remains. Thankfully, I used to live at Connection Rio, in a house with give or take 25 male fighters and one other Nicole. I had to share a room with 5 other guys plus a multitude of damp kimonos, so cramming into a room with only two other people is kind of luxurious for me.

I'm counting on this kid not speaking English and therefore, 
never clicking the link and knowing I took this picture...
and then made it public!

My fight that was scheduled for the 16th of August fell through. Apparently the girl and the money weren’t right, so nothing was finalized. Parana, however, wastes no time and is already looking for another fight. In the mean time, Mariana Morais who is signed with Invicta FC will be... or has signed the contract for her first fight. I'm not sure if it's been announced, so more on Mari's fight camp in a future post. Until then check out some of me playing with a camera! 

My new crib... big switch up from the favelas of Rio

Istela with a vicious head kick... 
I choked her out yesterday so I'm definitely going to be watching out for this baby flying at my head! 

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