I just went onto Reddit and the r/bjj subreddit and saw a posted a video with me in it. Seriously.
I was actually in the stands for a superfight between Hermes Franca and Ryan Hall on the eve of the first UFC event in Boston. Ryan Hall was standing next to me in cargo shorts and listening to an iPod. Legitimately, I had the thought of “Wow, this dude is pretty creepy.”
For those that don’t know… his nickname is Ryan “Creepy” Hall. No, I am not the reason that he has that nickname, but goddamn did it ring true.
That was probably one of the more memorable and exciting weekends of my life. It started by grabbing a sausage egg and cheese sandwich from Dunkies, shooting into Boston, getting raped in parking fees, and then watching grappling superfights all morning and afternoon. I saw Leandro ______ (some super jacked dude that was running shit at the time and I was idolizing), Eddie Bravo, and Thiago Alves. The event was actually pretty small, those were the days of BJJ that very few people actually followed it. There were probably a couple hundred people watching elite athletes fight each other for very small sums of cash or even just bragging rights.
Walking down the main streets of Boston, you’d see lambos, Ferraris, etc ripping around with some overly wealthy dude wearing wildly flashy clothing behind the wheel. The girls even seemed to be hotter that day. Smokeshows. 11/10’s. I was in full creepy mode. This was just the Friday afternoon. I was competing Saturday morning so it was really just about exploring the scene and watching some fun battles. The very next day was the first UFC event in Boston, hence all the commotion. I remember that Saturday actually bumping into Thiago Alves at the Grappler’s Quest and asking to take a picture. He obliged and SOMEWHERE (my old Sony Ericsson phone captured a lot of moments I’ll never get back) I have a picture of us together, him confused and me in a shitty Adidas gi with a cute little white belt with a stripe or 2 across my waist. The dude was my favorite UFC fighter for many MANY years. PITBULL always went to war and made the events worth watching.
Holy shit, I forgot about aaaaaaaaaaall of this until the Reddit post.
Watching the match now, I have a better understanding of what happened, but I really couldn’t understand what the hell was happening whilte I was watching live. Ryan Hall butt-scooting, spinning upside down, it made NO sense to me. Hermes Franca was waaaaay more jacked, he’s going to run through this dude, right? He’s a UFC fighter, he has a HUGE advantage. Nope, apparently not.
I forget how it ends, but let’s rewatch it right now and see what comes up in the ol’ memory banks.
Look for a young dude leaning against the barriers WITH HAIR(!!!!) yellow shirt with a blue duck on it. I wore a blue duck, because I had never seen a blue duck before.
Immediately he drops to his ass. Okay, what the fuck am I watching. Why isN’T hermes thrahing him right now? You’re way more muscular and muscles ALWAYS win, right? Eh…
They engage multiple times, disengage, there’s actually a few moments where 25 year old Kris is wondering what kind of bullshit this is. Now i see a sick deep half guard to a beautiful berimbolo. Ryan now has a strong back control. Hermes doing a great job of defending. Ryan with a slick transition to a triangle but Hermes slips out. They’re holding hands. Gay. Hermes tries to jump guard, can’t. They’re back to holding hands…still gay. HEY! There’s ME!
And we’re back to Hermes trying to pass Ryan’s guard. Disengaged. Hand holding. Cute. Herme’s obviously getting frustrated. Ryan grabbing some sort of X guard. Disengage. Re-engage. Spinning around, inverted guard, still managing to hold on. Man, Ryan from 12 years ago was incredible. Hermes trying to pressure pass and can’t pin the mother fucker down. Hermes looking for a knee slice and can’t get it. Ryan is incredibly strong in some weird positions from his back. Hermes still looking for the knee slice. Ryan reaching for deep half and then moving to inverted. Hermes can’t even get north-south. Knee slice successful but Ryan rolls away. This is a good reason why you should learn both sides of the technique. The tempo is speeding up and Hermes jumped into a backwards mount and slides to side control. 3:15 left. Ryan recovers a semblance of deep half guard. Hermes disengages and now Ryan spins for a heel hook. 2:40 to go. 50/50 (leg entanglement) with Ryan looking far more comfortable. 2 minutes left and they’re both pretty stuck. 50/50 is known for this kind of boredom. 90 seconds left. Ryan taking the back, goes inverted.. keeps spinning, Hermes trying to take N/S but can’t get it. Ryan and Hermes STILL spinning and quickly fighting for position. Hermes smash passing but can’t actually pass. Back to the knee slice, Ryan rolls out. Ryan with the leg at 25 seconds left. Hermes ripping at his with 15 seconds left. Time expires.
Damn. What a wild battle. There I am again! Hermes with the victory 6-3.
It looks like the two of them had fun. 25 year old Kris doesn’t know what he saw, but he enjoyed the fuck out of it. 36 (37 in 10 days) Kris enjoyed it as well, but this time he knew what was happening. It seems that if you don’t give up, you keep showing up, and you keep enthusiasm for shit you love, you’re going to learn and the understanding comes along the way. Had I watched that and gotten stuck obsessing about how I don’t know what’s going on, or thinking I’d never get there… I would have had to bail on the whole sport/art a long time ago. There’s no telling where I would have been now.
But more importantly… let’s talk about the amount of Affliction shirts that are no longer in circulation – what a blessing. Watching this video was going to blind me from all the reflections off of shirts. Guys no longer need to bedazzle themselves for attention. They can just be humble and awesome human beings. Eddie Bravo used to have some sweet hair too. I remember giving him a high five while he was on the phone before this fight. I knew him from being friends with Joe Rogan…and mind you, this is BEFORE his massive podcast. This is back when I was just a member of his forum, talked shit with a bunch of other interesting and openminded creatures, and weed wasn’t legal…so we were rebels. We needed that booming voice that talked about legalizing it. Weeeeeeeeeeed, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.
Now, here I am stoned on a Friday evening talking about what life was like for me on a random weekend 12 years ago. Shit man, the time truly flies. And here’s proof that I’ve never been good…I just keep showing up. The progress will come with anything you keep doing…just stay at it.
I love you all. Enjoy your weekend and be grateful for any and all moments with loved ones and friends, for we never know when they’ll be taken from us.