For an hour, Benji Radach pushed. "Come on, two more minutes!" he prodded. "You can do it!"
All of the dozen or so participants listened to the MMA star. They punched the heavy bags. They switched to knees when commanded. And they sweated—a lot.
An MMA fighter running a workout at a local gym? That's nothing new. But Radach's a pioneer of sorts among fighters.
The reality is, MMA shelf lives are short and sporadic (so are good paydays). Radach and some others—Nick Thompson, who just passed the bar exam, comes to mind—are looking for second careers.
On this day a few weeks ago, Radach was at LA Boxing's Hoboken location. He was there as both a brand name fighter and the company's corporate director of instructor training. These days, he spends his mornings and afternoons in casual business wear, not MMA gloves. He goes on sales calls, sits in on business meetings and does all of the other 9-to-5-type duties required of a management type.
"I'm a suit," he jokes.
Radach hasn't forgotten his MMA career, though. He's still in heavy training, prepping for his April 11 fight in Strikeforce against hard-hitting Scott Smith.
"At the end of the day, I'm still a fighter," Radach says. "But I won't be forever."
Thompson came to the same realization, and decided to cram for the bar exam right around the time he fought Jake Shields. He lost the fight, but passed the bar and has a few prospects to come aboard as an attorney at several law firms.
"You have to have a backup plan in this business," Thompson says. "Only the top few guys make enough to fight for a living, then retire on that money. I'm not one of them."
THE UFC GOES TO JAPAN
This is a good story about the UFC's continuing pursuit of Japanese fighting stars, and what it means to MMA. I disagree a little about the impact of poaching Japanese stars: nobody markets talent like the UFC, and Dana White has been very successful with Michael Bisping and Marcus Davis in the UK.
KOSCHECK STAYS BUSY
Off his not-so-controversial stoppage loss to Paulo Thiago (I thought the ref made the right call), former NCAA wrestling champ Josh Koscheck returns to the cage at UFC 98. Good move by him. He's getting a reputation as somebody who will fight anybody, any time. In MMA, reputations, good or bad, sell fights.
HASIM RAHMAN WANTS BACK IN
Looks like former heavyweight boxing champion Hasim Rahman wants to try MMA. That's fantastic news—for the fringe MMA fighter who chokes him out in 43 seconds.