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damien trainor

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Ever get the impression you wasn’t meant to do something? Pt One

21 Dec Posted by in Blog | Comments

It’s been a long time since I sat down and wrote a personal blog about my experiences within the fight game. I’ve just been so busy with seminars, running the gym, getting my first few fighters out and of course the birth of my son Cole. It’s safe to say things have been pretty hectic both at work and at home leaving little time for any kind of written reflection. I can’t complain though, I wouldn’t change a thing as life is really good at the moment.

I was just skimming through some of my old memory sticks and I came across a blog I’d written about my last fight in Japan back in 2011. The reason I didn’t post it up back then was that I’d lost the fight and it would have looked as if I was trying to make excuses for the defeat, I think it’s time to post it up now.

Did you ever get the impression that you are just not meant to do something? Well, the run up to this fight certainly seemed to be telling me that.

Back in August of 2011 I was told that there was a potential fight for me in Japan under K-1 rules. I thought this was awesome as I am a huge fan of the K-1 and have always been interested in Japan.

I have fought in Japan before but I didn’t really get a chance to look about last time (some more crazy situations to talk about there) so I was excited to potentially see a little more of the country.

My opponent was to be their organisations 55kg champion Shota Takiya. He was their young star and the man to beat in Bantamweight division. From the few videos I found of him he seemed to be a very heavy puncher but all his other stuff looked average. He was also a southpaw but my last few opponents had been left handed so I wasn’t concerned.

Day one of training and the first sign appeared.

I was on the pads with my trainer Steve; he stood in a southpaw stance and I was practising moving off to my left after I attacked (A common strategy used against southpaws).

I threw a jumping scissor knee at the pads but as I landed my foot landed on top of Steve’s lead foot. There was a loud cracking noise as my ankle buckled from the force of me landing on to an unsteady position.

1111I have to say I wasn’t very macho at this point as I let out a huge cry while I was rolling around on the floor. The pain was excruciating and within minutes my ankle had swollen up like it had a golf ball inside.

I couldn’t train for a couple of days as I was very unsteady, the slightest quick movement would force me to go over on my ankle again. I couldn’t spar at all for the duration of my fight training but my pad work was still good, I just couldn’t kick too much for it.

Sign two came a few weeks before I was due to fly out. Steve said he was unable to go just as the flight tickets had been paid for. I had to find another person to replace him, I’d asked my training partner Adam Boyce if he could go. He jumped at the chance but his passport hadn’t long expired so needed to get one asap so the Japanese could change the name in time.

I’d messaged my manager about this but apparently the Japanese weren’t happy as it would of cost them £450 just to change the name. Luckily after I’d forwarded the message to Steve about the Japanese promotors spitting their dummies out, he was able to change a few things and was able to come.

Sign three, the weekend before my departure I’d started feel a little rough. I thought nothing of it, I was sure if I just kept popping Ibuprofen it would pass.
By the Monday it got worse, I was throwing up every time I ate something. At one point I threw four times in one sitting and going to the toilet was just as unpleasant. I wasn’t able to go in to work for the rest of that week before the flight and those that know me know I’d have to be practically dying before I take time off through sickness.

Tuesday was the day before we flew out and It took quite a lot of effort to pack my things for the journey.

Steve had messaged me asking if I was able to check in online as he was having trouble.

I checked the Etihad website and I found it quite easy. I’d put in all my details I just needed Steve’s to be able to finalise the check in.

Steve messaged me back saying he’d book himself in as he didn’t have those details to hand. I thought I’d check myself in a little later on too as I was dying on the sofa and just wanted to sleep.

Most of my training stuff was still at the gym due to me being ill so I was waiting for my mate Nathan Epps to finish training and bring my bag to me.

Nathan arrived with my bag, we chatted a bit about the fight, how I was feeling etc but he didn’t stay long as he knew I had to be up early for my flight. Our train to Manchester airport was at 5.30am to give us enough time before our flight at 8.50am .
All packed up and I was about to print my boarding pass….and the ink had run out through the final steps of checking in.

I thought “this is taking the p*ss!” I was half tempted to go to the gym and print it off but it was a little late. I was certain that every time I’d flown I’d only ever used my passport to check in so I thought it would be ok.

I was awake before my alarm at 4am, I’d never felt like this before a fight but I actually felt as if I didn’t want to go. I just shrugged it off and thought I’d be fine once I was on the way there.

I had a text off Michelle wishing me luck, I asked her what she was doing up and she replied she’d just woke up.

I explained about my boarding pass dilemma and she offered to book me in and print them off for me. She could then take me to the train station when she dropped them off to save me getting a taxi.

I was now checked in, all packed and ready to head to the train station.
I arrived at 5am, said my good byes to Michelle and headed in to meet Steve.

Our train was at 5.30am. We had to change at Krewe to get a connecting train and we were scheduled to arrive at Manchester airport at 7.04am. This would give us plenty of time to drop our bags off and get some food before getting onto the plane.

We changed trains with no hiccup and were on the final trek to the airport.

The train pulled in at the airport but when we checked the time it was 8.04am. Steve quickly grabbed the times of the train tickets we bought and we were meant to have arrived an hour earlier.

I said not to panic as we’d still got enough time to drop the bags off and get to our gate before boarding.

We arrived at the Etihad desk and the woman took our printed boarding passes without saying a thing and picked up a walkie talkie. Naturally we just thought she was about to rush us through…..wrong.

“Two more to off load” then she ripped up our boarding passes. “What’s going on?” Steve asked. “You’ve missed your flight!”

Steve explained about the train but was told “You’re late, there’s nothing we can do”

“We’ve still got over 30 minutes” I said. Then a rather fat guy with a beard behind the desk spurted back “you’re not checked in”. “Hold on but we’ve checked in online, so according to your computer we’re here!”

“You haven’t put your bags on so you’re not officially here.”

“So what’s the point of checking in online then?” Steve asked. They didn’t answer that question.

Then some other woman piped up saying that they couldn’t get us on now because they have worked out how heavy the plane is and what fuel is needed to fly the plane.
“That’s a bit of bullsh!t isn’t it?” The woman looked shocked with Steve’s response. “You have no idea how heavy people are, I’ve never seen someone weigh in before they get on the plane”

The fat bloke piped up again “Look your late you’ve missed your flight that’s it!” Steve quickly replied “that’s fair enough so why come out with the bullshit about weight and fuel?”

A few words went back and forth trying to get us on the plane but with little success. All they kept saying was to call our booking agent. “it was booked from Japan so we cant do that” they checked the system and said it was a UK based firm and gave us a number to contact.

We called the number that was given to us and all they told us was we needed to buy another flight. The Etihad desk were very unhelpful and did nothing to check if there was another flight to Abu Dhabi (our connecting flight) that they could get us on.
I tried calling Dan Green (my manager) but he lived in the states which meant he was six hours behind us and we had no contact info for the Japanese promotor.

We quickly checked the flight info to see if there was a name on there.

Toshiki Sakau was the booking name; we stuck it into facebook and tried our luck. A few came up but one said he worked for K-1 so we sent a messaged hoping it was him.

We went and got a drink while waiting for a response, we got one in about 20 mins.
There was a few phone calls and messages basically through Facebook but according to the Japanese it was our fault and we had to pay for our own flights to get to Japan.

There was no way we were doing this! it may have been different if we were getting paid thousands but in this sport you don’t so that wasn’t an option.
We were checking the prices of the flights just incase there were some cheap ones but the cheapest was over £600.

I’d contacted Michelle to let her know what had happened and she quickly jumped on the net and started looking for us too. She found one which was £500 one way.
We thought we only need one way because we can use the return flight from the other ticket…wrong

Apparently if you are classed as a no show on the first flight then the other is void and doesn’t exist…robbing b*****ds!

After a couple of hours we got a message from Toshiki asking if there was anyway that they could pay for the flight.

We gave them the number to ebookers which is who they booked the flight with before. This tickled me because the woman on the phone was from a call centre in India and her English wasn’t great so I thought what a conversation that’s going be between the Japanese guy and the Indian call centre woman.

A few hours passed, luckily we had laptops so it went quite quick and we were able to keep in touch with Toshiki.

The only response we were getting was that he was sorting it and we needed to wait in the airport.

Eight hours had passed and we were getting pissed off, I just wanted to say “forget it” and go home. I didn’t think it was going to happen because we were keeping track of flights and the prices were going up as the day went on, one flight actually went to £3000! We started to send him links of flights from Birmingham that flew out the next day as their prices were still in the £600 region.

Finally after 10 hours sitting in Manchester airport they bought us another flight flying from Birmingham the following morning.

So back on the train to Birmingham to get some sleep and then back to another airport the following morning.

It only cost us £7 to get the train to Manchester, but to get home it was now £37. The whole day had just been a complete disaster.

I eventually got home at 8.30pm. We left out at 4.45am so I was ill, exhausted and had a 19 hour journey to look forward to the next day.

You’ll have to wait till the next blog to read about Japan and the fight…yes I do actually get there! may have been better if I hadn’t though but I’ve never once pulled out of a fight and I’m sure it will all make interesting reading.

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