Modern Day Gladiators
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
The gladiators of the UFC arena have been bathed in the blood of battle. In Ancient Rome the gladiators fought for freedom, glory, and prizes afforded them by those who stood in the stands roaring their names in triumph and shedding tears in defeat. When the world needs heroes and champions, they turn to the bravest among us, the mettle tested. Dominick is the gladiator who knows triumph, what it means to be willing to die to win. He acknowledges those who fight with him.
“I am fighting for those who are locked in the life and death battle with COVID-19. Those on the ventilators and the bad asses fighting with them; the doctors, nurses, and healthcare warriors on the frontlines. When I regain my belt those fighting will regain their strength to win the fight of their lives,” Dominick said.
Like the gladiator schools of old coach Eric Del Fierro leads team alliance into the fray. Dominick alongside UFC warrior Jeremy Stephens train at Alliance together ahead of UFC 249. They sharpen each other’s skills and maul each other in their private training facility. Bruises, scrapes, and contusions adorn their bodies like leopards’ spots. Sparring partners take turns trying to dispel the myths of fighting unbreakable men only to be answered with blows and chokes while biting down on mouthpieces.
Coaches hold pads in a whir of motion and the echo of strikes so fierce one can imagine bone crumbling under the pressure. There is a look of defiance and killer instinct in their eyes as they circle each other, muscles twitching in anticipation of the next volley of blows or the air defying feeling of the double leg takedown. The only sound is the canvas reverberating underfoot and the sight of blood in spatters or mists painting the cage like a morbid beehive.
Training partners from every discipline shape their charges like blacksmiths folding metal into weapons of war. Dominick the cunning cutlass who can pierce your defenses deftly while parrying and dancing away from everything you have and Jeremy the devastating battle axe cleaving into his quarries with no quarter. Each in their own way are demoralizing and deadly. Training for championship rounds requires grit and fortitude like the doctors and nurses still in the fight with the deadly virus. How many rounds have they gone? How many rounds will you go to support them and the warriors who are about to rock the world on May 9th?