Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mark Miller: “I fight ‘em all the same.”

By Elias Cepeda

Ok, let’s work in reverse for a moment. You know those “thank you’s” fighters sometimes throw out at the end of interviews? Well they shouldn’t just be an afterthought for readers.

A lot of work goes into becoming a pro-fighter, and for most fighters the idea of being a true “professional” athlete is more of a dream than a reality. Making fighting a job, a career isn’t easy and fighters often rely on many others to help make their dream possible. Mark Miller is a fighter, no doubt about it. It has to be something he was born with to hit the way he does and to train with such gusto as he does.

But his dream is to become a professional fighter and as a member of the Chicago Red Bears in the International Fight League (IFL), Mark Miller feels he finally has a chance to become one. Since getting word that he was selected for the IFL, Miller has been doing something he’s always wanted to, and that’s focus 100% on training. No side or day jobs, just train and fight. And there are a lot of people and places he wants to thank.

“Can I throw some shout outs to people?” Miller asks less than one week before he is set to be in Atlanta, Georgia to make his IFL debut as a Chicago Red Bears welterweight.

“Gilbert Grappling, JABB Boxing Gym, Dino Costeas, West Loop Gym, POW Mixed Martial Arts, Glen Hudson’s gym and Mike Garcia” Miller says.

There it is. But it’s no laundry list, rattled off thoughtlessly. Mark Miller is sincerely grateful to those who have been helping him train for the biggest moment in his fighting career thus far.

“This (fighting) is what I want to do as long as I can. It sure beats construction. F_ck that” says Miller with a laugh.

But those who know of Mark Miller know that he’s not trying to choose any easy way out of hard work. He’s intent on using the security of working for the IFL to do what he loves, and that includes all the unglamorous work that takes place outside of the spotlight.

“Basically they pay monthly and that allows fighters to concentrate on training and not fighting every week to make money and not working at clubs at night and dealing with knuckleheads there that can cause you problems. It’s just training. I train two-three times a day, eat and sleep.” For Miller this is what it’s all about.

And for Mark, training isn’t just something he puts a lot of effort into, but also a lot of thought. Fans of MMA understand the intricacies of the sport and how it can play out like a kinetic chess game, with exponential amounts of possible techniques and scenarios playing out during competition. And of course, the best in the game train with the same type of diversity, eschewing traditional methods of preparation for more functional, fight-specific exercises.

Miller discovered the need for this type of training a while ago, and now his approach to conditioning is as well-rounded and versatile as he hopes to be as a fighter.

(Read More)

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