I Just Wanna BANG!- Finding an MMA fight in a pandemic

Fighting is an unconventional occupation as is, but throw in a global pandemic to the mix and suddenly your whole world is in disarray.

Understandably, there are numerous unprecedented precautions we all must now implement, but securing a contracted fight during the Covid-19 era is almost damn near impossible. Either people haven’t been training due to the lockdowns, shutdowns, and even permanent gym closures, or they haven’t been as vigilant with their diet and nutrition and the added surplus of weight and lethargy has accumulated at a rapid rate, narrowing the already quite minuscule pool of available atom-weight prospects. I am fortunate enough that I have been able to continue my training throughout this tumultuous predicament, but unfortunately, have not been able to bask in the fruits of my labor with zero possible fights currently on the horizon. This isn’t from lack of effort, as my coaches and myself have been trying like mad to secure that professional debut fight, reaching out to numerous promotions and scouring the online database for possible opponents, but unluckily have come up short every time. And just when I think I possibly have one on the line, it gets snatched away faster than a Karen eager to speak with a manager to file an egregious complaint. Fighting during a pandemic is apparently not the ideal environment or job to be a part of apparently.

Not only are opponents scarce and dwindling, but venues are often either at a modified limited capacity or else not even allowed to include a live audience at the event in question. I gotta say, fighting in front of a crowd is one of the greatest feelings and biggest adrenaline rushes one can experience. I relish every moment I am locked inside of that octagonal cage as the crowd erupts in vivacious cheers and bleats. Watching these UFC fights in utter silence is almost a bit unnerving. While it is beneficial to be able to hear every strike, blow, takedown, and coach’s instructions, it’s also a bit eerie to not hear frivolous yells and utter chaos from the crowds.

Humans are naturally a species reliant on interpersonal skills and communication and interaction, and with all of the isolation taking place in its stead, it tends to leave a cloud of gloom and despair in its wake. Silence is not something I even remotely associate with fighting, blood, bruises, and annihilation. I wonder greatly how this effects the mentality of each individual as they make that fateful walk to the cage. Fighting is perhaps one of the most contact-heavy sports there is, and I truly miss smothering someone close and personal with my body as I rain down fists and elbows on their face.

With all of this time to prepare, I have been trying to utilize every available second to benefit my career and fighting endeavors. I am training constantly in various mixed martial arts skills and backgrounds with a variety of people from different disciplines in the sport. I am working every day on propelling my nutritional and dietary needs to accelerate my muscle growth and recovery and exacerbate my fight cardio and technique, and I am also scheduling more time for self-care as well. In the past, this was something I neglected entirely way too much, pushing myself constantly past my limits and breaking points and reaping the detriment and suffering because of it. I make sure to take time to relax, stretch, foam roll, see my chiropractor, plan time for body work by my sports massage therapist, ice sore joints, take Epsom salt baths, and most of all, unwind from the arduous  profession I have thrown myself into full throttle. I’ve even incorporated more yoga and meditation into my daily routine to make sure I am giving my mind and body some much needed R & R. It’s easy to feel  burnt out in anything when it’s all you do day in and day out, so sprinkling in some variety and different methods of self-care is conducive to not just your career, but your sanity and mental health as well; a foundation I  have developed quite the strong advocacy for.

I’m not going to lie, it is a bit depressing facing heartbreak after heartbreak of securing a possible fight only to have it fall through a day or two later. This is especially true when it’s your biggest dream in life, you work harder at this than you have for anything, and it falls through your fingertips like your hopes of a presidential election with perfectly well-rounded candidates. I am trying my best to remain hopeful and optimistic for what may be in store for my future, but the Covid-19 epidemic has ultimately delayed and dampened many of my immediate goals and aspirations. It’s especially difficult because I know I can do this and put on a great show for spectators, I believe in myself so much that it’s not like I ever doubt or underestimate my adversaries, it’s just that I know the amount of work I have put in and the drive that I have that I am confident I will give any promotion the fight that they crave. I guess in the meantime I’ll continue to twiddle my thumbs in the hope I will get the call I am so eager to hear. I can’t even begin to express what signing that contract would feel like, and I am sure it will take every ounce of resiliency to not let tears of joy spill from my eyes. Spoiler alert, I cry a lot. Don’t confuse my emotions with weakness however, because this pint-sized human can take a punch and dish it right back in equal force.

I understand that fighting isn’t remotely close to the only occupation effected by the pandemic, and I do see venues and promotions are up and running again. I also understand that I am incredibly fortunate to continue to pursue this dream of mine and have a great team and community surrounding me. But I would definitely be lying if I didn’t admit I was a bit bummed out. I am constantly putting in work, (even writing this piece in between multiple training sessions) and I just can’t wait for the moment when it will be my turn to prove I am worthy of that which I seek. I’ve endured hardships, pain, injury, dilemmas, and more just to get where I am today and honestly do not see any sign of me stopping. Many people seek the win or the results, while I crave the battle rather than the glory; it would just be an added bonus. There is no victory without the blood, sweat, and tears I am putting in behind the scenes, hidden from the watchful eyes of the judgmental observers on the outskirts. Fighting is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, but I truly believe I was put on this earth to do great things, and if that means I sacrifice an abundance of factors to reach that level, then so be it. You don’t earn the title of ‘Wolf Queen’ by sitting on your ass and having others do your bidding. Good things may come to those who wait, but great things come to those who get out there and chase the fuck  out of them.


 Samantha Seff MMA

Submitted and written by Samantha Seff.

Samantha Seff is a Brown Belt out of Schell Shock BJJ in North Carolina with an amateur MMA record of (7-4)