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UFC 281 The Fight Physio’s Journey Part 2

UFC 281 The Fight Physio’s Journey Part 2

Writing this on the plane home is a bittersweet summary of the trip I was fortunate enough to experience.

On this trip since our last post, I ran through a few experiences; taking a subway to cross states, working through the night to 3am, meeting the health dream team for the team, watching a combat event at the meca Madison Square Garden, watched a Broadway show on Broadway, experienced multiple subway breakdowns while trying to make it to the airport on time, and sitting in a single seat for 19hours straight!

I arrived on Monday night around 7pm, after going through customs etc, I was very apprehensive about asking for a pickup which was going to take a team member a 2hr roundtrip, or a 2hr subway commute to the fighters house, so I decided to bite the bullet and get an accommodation close to a subway transit station. This accommodation was small, a double bed touching 3 corners of the room, but I was in Manhattan and I had my own bathroom, so I was fortunate. I caught up with John Love, a physio colleague I was at University with at the same time. He has a resume that a lot would be jealous of; the Warriors, the Kiwis,the NZ Commonwealth Team, and now the New York Rugby team. He’s based in New York now, and it was a great time to catch up for a beer together and have a good yarn.

Tuesday was my day to make the trip to the fighters house in Saddle River. 2 missed stops on the subway and 2 hours later, I was super glad to meet the team at the mansion house. Being attentive on public transport that I am not used to was a learning curve.
Being able to work with the fighters and the team was an honour. The team was fortunate enough to have Mick Bainsey on the team as well, a physio from Australia who’s worked with the team before. Tagging teams with Bainsey definitely took a lot of pressure off, allowing me to absorb the atmosphere more as well. He had a portable physio plinth, so he ran the hard yards, while I had the observation and on the fly role.

Being able to have long chats with the 2nd tier team was a real gem of this trip. I worked with Abiola Beckley during this camp to accelerate Israel’s S&C, especially early on with a few hiccups. Reconnecting in person with Jordi the Fight Dietitian was great too. (Quick side note, Jordi was who inspired me to create a subbrand of The Fight Physio, hence the similarity in name handles. I credit him for encouraging me to embrace the role).A couple of days later, Brad the Chiro and Emma the masseuse showed up at our accommodation. I have met Brad multiple times, but met Emma for the first time. It was a great bond as we got to hang out, discussed treatment modalities, treatment methodologies, and ran a spot clinic during the fighters weight cut in the middle of the fighters hotel amongst the UFC staffers and other fighters. We shared multiple meals, experiences around NYC and a Broadway show together! Shout out to Davor Matarugic for hanging out with us and doing all the driving.

Going to UFC281 event together with the team was something. The card was fully stacked from the start having Carlos Ulberg, to the end with Israel Adesanya, it was crazy with energy highs and lows. Watching Brad’s fight ended in heartache, watching Dan’s fight was a true nail-biter from an injury perspective, but he is, as described by Israel, an absolute psycho, willing to take any chance to simply beat his opponent.
Israel’s fight was another rollercoaster. Unfortunately it was not the result we were hoping for, but that is the sport we are in. I am grateful none of the team had to spend any time in the hospital after.

On the day of leaving, I decided a bit of solo time to explore the city and recharge before taking a 19hr flight home. I walked down the infamous Wall Street, tried some NY lobster and an awesome bagel that was way too big for anyone to finish on their own.
Google said I had a 1hr trip to get to the airport, but after checking out of the hotel and running out of things to do, I thought I’d leave an hour earlier than planned, and lucky I did.
I was meant to take the A train that comes every 14 minutes, a 35min wait later on a crowded platform, the announcer said the train was not running and to explore other options. I rushed to look for another option, taking the 4 train, which, just 1 stop from my transiting train station, the emergency brakes kicked in. Waiting an additional 15mins on this train before moving, I missed my connecting train.
Now taking a rail (different to a subway apparently) I had to wait another 20mins before the next one took off.
Arriving at the Airtrain, I was told the stops at terminal 1 was not running, and to take a shuttle from another terminal stop!
Managed to get there in the end and catch the plane!

Being a part of the big city, having the opportunity of a lifetime working with the best combat athletes in the world, with a team that is second to none has been an absolute pleasure.
Big thank you to the Adesanya family for having me on this trip. I will never forget your affability and generosity.

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