With a Little Help From My Friends
Many of you may remember when I left Ultimate Surrender over concerns for my personal safety. This year I am back and more confident due to the group of people that I am working with than before and here's why: On Friday I participated in a live tag team match with my teammate Mistress Kara and my team Dragon coach Dragonlily. My opponents were Beretta James and Izamar Gutierrez fighting for team Nightmare and coached by Syd Blakovich. The match was sure to be an exciting one. With team Nightmare starting out in the lead towards the season end, Kara and I were determined to make up the points and score the victory for our team Dragon. Kara had beaten Izamar many times as had I beaten Beretta more than once on the same mats but anything could happen in a tag team so it was still anybody's game, and we were AMPED! I'm not going to go into the details of this particular match or who won out of courtesy to those who didn't watch the live feed and don't want a spoiler but, I will elaborate on an incident from that night that many people have questions about. Approximately one minute into the second round of our match, Mistress Kara and I had a tag on Izamar. As soon as Kara left the ring, I attempted to establish a dominant position against Izamar. Almost instantly, Beretta was tagged in and before I knew it she was taking my back and pulling me down. The issue with this was that Izamar and my legs were still trapped together as my body was being yanked dangerously backwards. As soon as Beretta took my back I knew the danger I was in. I screamed and screamed but the momentum was already in motion and too fast to be stopped. That moment seemed like it lasted an eternity. I was just waiting for all the bones in my ankle to shatter as the weight of Izamar's body fell on top of me. It seemed like no one could hear me or stop what was happening and my fate was imminent. Ariel blew her whistle and miraculously I emerged from the mess physically unscathed however emotionally shaken. For those of you who play sports, you know how devastating and terrifying injuries can be. I got up dazed, ready to go on but my entire sense of safety had been shattered. I knew I had a job to do but I really just wanted to run off and cry. Whether I liked it or not, I had mentally 'checked out', I was no longer in the right mindset to fight and Ariel knew it. Both to my relief as well as my chagrin, I was pulled out from wrestling for the remainder of the match. Today I watched the clip of video recorded from the live feed and I was amazed at what I saw. The first thing that surprised me was how quickly it all happened. In my memory it seemed like it took at least a minute to get me out of there, in reality, it took about ten seconds. I actually had to re-watch the clip frame by frame to actually see what went down. What I also saw was that even though I felt totally helpless and alone in that moment, everyone was doing what they could to help. Syd’s experience and her proximity to the action allowed her to quickly recognize what was about to happen and let her team know what to do to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Ariel was right on top of blowing the whistle and stopping the clock while the camera panned away to allow me a moment to recover. I wish we had instant replays Friday night because if I had only been able to see everyone looking out for me in that critical time it would have restored my confidence. Regardless, my confidence IS restored and I am reaffirmed that I am safe in the hands of these amazing women and of this company. Shit happens and no one can stop it. The reality we face as fighters is that any time we step on the mat we put our lives, our bodies, and our careers at risk. We also consider the risks our opponents take. It is each person’s responsibility to be mindful of not only their own but everyone else’s safety and well being. I cannot emphasize enough how priceless it is that we have experienced coaches such as Dragonlily and Syd as well as a ref/director who has been in our shoes. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Will I be injured? Maybe but, that’s the nature of the game. What I do know is that the amazing women I work are here for me win or lose and even though we are fighting for victory, we are fighting even harder for a fun and safe outcome.