ST. LOUIS – UFC middleweight Uriah Hall is no stranger to self-doubt. Lately, though, he’s gotten better at managing it.
Specifically, through the generous use of expletives.
The shift came just in time, because Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC) admits camp for his upcoming fight, a FS1-televised co-headliner opposite ex-champ Vitor Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-9 UFC), has been rocky.
For one, Hall is a bit worn out. He didn’t really stop training after his previous bout, a “Performance of the Night” knockout of Krzysztof Jotko this past September.
“Three weeks ago, my body shut down,” Hall told MMAjunkie three days in advance of his meeting with the soon-to-retire Belfort at UFC Fight Night 124, which takes place Sunday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
The challenges weren’t just physical. One of his coaches, Robert Follis, took his own life in the middle of camp. Like many fighters who trained at the famed Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, where Follis taught, Hall found himself grappling with profound loss at a time he was supposed to be ramping up for competition.
One day after that, one of Hall’s best friends passed away.
“Then prior to that, I was sick for three weeks,” Hall said. “I was breaking. I called my sister. I pretty much cried every night. I called my sister and said, ‘I can’t do this. What do I do?’ I called my mom. My mom’s like, ‘You’ve got to embrace it. It’s happening.’”
In other words, accept the circumstances and move forward. Hall took the advice, narrowed his circle of friends and contacts, and soldiered on. It wasn’t a snap of the fingers that brought him around, but time and support from those closest to him.
When he faces Belfort, he’ll do so with the memory of his loss hovering overhead. He’ll also bring the support of his friends and training partners who’ve taught him to appreciate the people still in his life.
Winning is still important to Hall. But it’s not the most important thing. And in a way, that’s freeing.
“It just kind of made me zone in on what’s really important,” he said.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
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