Sunday, September 25, 2022

MMA Reporter Documents Journey Preparing For His First Fight

In an effort to better understand the trials that fighters go through in their careers, MMA reporter John Hyon Ko has started training with the ultimate goal of competing in an MMA bout himself.

A Senior MMA Correspondent with The AllStar, Ko is chronicling his experience via video blog as well as on his Fight or Flight blog series. His first video from several months ago details what motivated him to embark on his current journey.

“After covering MMA for a few years, I felt like I needed to have a new experience…The way that I wanted to do it is to embed myself with the fight team, get in shape, train with the team, live with the team, breathe with the team, corner fighters, really be involved with the team and learn from that perspective of how it is to be a fighter. That’s what I’m doing right now.”

Ko (left) sparring at Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA in Thailand. (The AllStar)

Ko traveled to Thailand to begin his journey and settled in at Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA in Phuket. The gym is home to current UFC strawweight Loma Lookboonmee, and former UFC champion Zhang Weili has also been training there ahead of her bout with Carla Esparza at UFC 281.

The MMA reporter recently posted a new update after nearly a month in between videos. During that time, he’s discovered through his own training that MMA fighters likely battle through more serious injuries than a lot of fans may realize.

“I do not know how fighters do it. Cause I know fighters are injured, they have niggles – and when we think of niggles, we think of maybe a sprained finger or a toe or something like that – but I think that fighters and regular people like me, the definition of a niggle or a minor injury is completely different. Like my shoulder is really debilitating, but for a fighter I think they would fight through it, they would train through it and just say it’s a niggle. It’s nothing that they feel would impede them from getting their workouts in.”

“There’s Never A Time When It’s Perfect”

Aside from the physical challenges, another thing that Ko has quickly discovered is how important it is for fighters to be adaptable.

After beginning his journey with the intention of working exclusively at Bangtao Muay Thai & MMA, the MMA reporter has returned to South Korea and plans to spend some time training at the top gyms there once an injury to his shoulder has been addressed.

“When I first got to Phuket I was thinking 6 months, you know I had this plan. But that plan will get tossed on its head immediately, so you have to adjust. And I think fighters are very good at that, they’re very good at adapting, adjusting, forming…

“They can get around things that most people can’t because this is the sport. The sport is always changing, there’s always twists and turns. There’s injuries, there’s something going on always. There’s never a time where it’s perfect. And if someone says that had a perfect training camp, I don’t believe them. Nothing’s perfect.”

Although the plan has changed from when he first started, Ko is excited to see how the gyms in South Korea differ from the experience he had in Thailand. Having completed “Phase 1” of his plan where he focused on getting into shape, the MMA reporter is now firmly in “Phase 2” where he’s looking to develop his technical skills as thoroughly as possible.

Ko has already been in contact with Thailand Fighting Championships (TFC) regarding the eventual fight he is working towards. Once he feels prepared to compete, he’ll return to Phuket for his training camp with the aim of fighting at Bangla Boxing Stadium in Patong, Thailand.

What do you think of Ko’s efforts to go from just covering fights as a reporter to training for a future fight of his own?

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