Inside The Cage: Transforming Losses Into Lessons.

The saying “Everything happens for a reason” has been on my mind recently. Why do certain events have to happen so we can learn and, most importantly, grow in our lives? For me, my fight was one of these circumstances; unfortunately, it didn’t go my way. I think I put up a good scrap, and it really could’ve gone either way, but in the end, my opponent was the better man on the night and went home victorious. In this article, I’m going to talk about the three ways this loss has affected and changed my outlook on things in my journey through martial arts and life, whilst discussing what I’ve learnt too.


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Ben Whittaker Showboating Against Khalid Graidia

In fight camp, I began to realize the immense sacrifice these upcoming fighters make as they train relentlessly, hoping to one day turn into professional athletes. It’s a life not for the faint-hearted, and many may talk about one day stepping into the ring, but only a select few have the courage to do it, let alone competing on a world stage at an elite level.

I remember coming across a video of Ben Whittaker, a boxing prodigy who recently went viral for his exceptional, yet playful performance against his opponent Khalid Graidia. Ben was asked about the sacrifices he’s had to make in order to get to where he is today; the answer he gave made me feel really bad for him.

Ben Whitaker talking about the sacrifices he had for boxing.

Ben talked about a time when he was away for fight camp, and unfortunately, his grandma passed away during this period. He was then asked to come back and attend her funeral; he declined the offer, saying it would be wise to stay and continue his training. When he explained this during the interview, he visibly broke down. Some may say he made the wrong choice; after all, family is very important to most people. But I’d love to know just how many people would be willing to make such a significant sacrifice in their day-to-day lives.

We live in a time where self-importance and extraordinary egos are rampant, especially in the younger generations. Your thoughts and opinions have to be heard and accepted by everyone else. While I trained for my fight, all the white noise of this world quickly faded away. The reality of another man wanting to knock me out, along with the sacrifices I had to make, made everything become real quickly. My time with friends and family became secondary, along with other things.

Making these sorts of sacrifices was difficult at the time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I learned that in order to be great, you have to pay your pound of flesh. It’s just a matter of how much you want it, and I wanted nothing more than to win at any cost.


I don’t like losing; nobody does. So when my opponent got his hand raised instead of mine, it hurt a lot. For weeks, I thought about what I could have done in preparation for my fight or while I was in the ring to win. This self-destructive thinking became overwhelming. As it stands, I’m already my worst critic, but this was too much. My self-confidence as an amateur fighter quickly faded away. I was my own worst enemy.

A good friend of mine, Mason Kinsella, who’s a very talented amateur mixed martial artist, talked about this in a recent interview. Being critical of yourself in moderation is good; it’s what makes fighters and athletes overall so great. They’re always looking to improve. But when you constantly put yourself down, don’t give yourself any credit, and doubt your performance even when you seemingly did very well or gave it your best, it becomes very dangerous.

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Mason talks about the being kind to yourself at CWSE34

I think a lot of athletes, even those who aren’t mixed martial artists, have to learn that you’ve got to be your own best friend in this game. As Mason said, “Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to someone else.” I’ve realized this while dealing with my loss. Be kind to yourself; no one else will care about you as much as you.


Life is no joke. It will give you the hardest knocks you’ll ever receive, and then some! You’ll lose a lot, unfortunately—that’s just how it is. I wish I could tell you there’d be more wins than woeful defeats, but that’s not the case. I’d be lying if I did. The trick I’ve learned, no pun intended, is to roll with the punches and accept that sometimes you won’t get every win.

It’s always an embarrassing sight to see a fighter take a loss poorly, acting out and sometimes not showing respect to their opponent. Nobody wants to be that type of athlete. Only when you accept defeat, learn from it, and come back stronger can you avoid this trap of lashing out.

I’d like to revisit my question at the beginning of this article: Why do certain events have to happen so we can learn and grow in our lives? Because in this scenario, if I hadn’t lost, I would’ve missed the opportunity to learn these lessons and not only become a better fighter but a better man. If you’re reading this and going through a hard time in life, just know that what you’ll learn from your current situation will allow you to reach another level in life, where you’ll look back and say, “Everything does happen for a reason.”

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