October 29, 2012 is a day that people will never forget. This was when Hurricane Sandy touched down and barreled through the East Coast. It left millions of people without power, knocked down homes and claimed lives.
You heard the horror story of UFC middleweight contender Chris Weidman, whose home was destroyed. At this time, Weidman is trying to repair the home.
Another UFC middleweight was fortunate that his home and life weren't affected, and that middleweight is Tom DeBlass.
DeBlass will be making his middleweight debut against Riki Fukuda on Saturday at UFC on Fuel TV 6. The event will be taking place from the CotaiArena in the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel in Macau, China. The DeBlass vs. Fukuda fight will air on Facebook starting at 7:30 a.m. ET.
DeBlass, who now fights out of Forked River, N.J. which is right off of the Jersey Shore, says his home was unscathed by Sandy, but unfortunately, those around him weren't so lucky.
"The damage was pretty bad," DeBlass told Bleacher Report. "Houses a mile away from me, some of those people lost their homes. Thank God my home, my business and my families homes weren't affected. The town got it pretty bad. Some people won't have power for another week."
For DeBlass and his family, they were one of the fortunate families that didn't suffer from the hurricane. Though for a short time, the middleweight wasn't sure if he would be making the trek to Macau.
"We lost power for a day," DeBlass stated. "We were told we were supposed to lose it for seven to 10 days, but God willing we got it back at like 6 a.m. that morning. That was a huge surprise and made things a little easier.
"I have a little girl and three crazy dogs, and I told my fiance, 'How am I going to go to China and leave you alone with no power in the house?'
"I was actually thinking, 'I'm not going to be able to go because it's not safe.' My parents, though, really stepped up and said they would stay at our house and help out. I'm sure we would have made it work. They all wanted me to go. I trained super hard for this fight, and it was an emotional time. I was like, 'How is this going to happen a week before I'm supposed to leave for China and we get a hurricane?'
"I didn't feel right leaving, seeing everybody else during this terrible time. I know in the end, me actually going to fight, if anything, lifts their morale and worst fears. They will get something to look forward to for a little bit as they go through this crazy time."
Going through a traumatic time like a hurricane can mess with a person's mind. DeBlass says it will be therapeutic for him to fight to get his mind off of what's happening at home.
"The therapeutic session will actually be when I step into the cage because I will still have the travel to China and then cut weight," DeBlass stated. "When I finally step into the cage, I know I can just let it all hang out. After the fight, I can relax for a couple minutes, get back home, teach as much as I can and help people as much as I can."
The training partner of former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar made his UFC debut against Cyrille Diabate at UFC on Fuel TV 2. DeBlass took the fight on 12 days notice with a fractured ankle but doesn't regret taking the fight under those circumstances and feels it was a blessing in disguise.
"The fight (with Diabate) was meant to happen," DeBlass stated. "It's funny when you take a fight on such short notice, people love you for it, but when it doesn't go your way, people also forget it was on short notice. I was fat and out of shape when I got the call due to being on vacation the week before. I actually pulled out of my April 27 fight for Ring of Combat to let my ankle heal.
"I don't regret taking the fight. I'm thankful to the UFC for the opportunity, and I learned a lot from it. I know what happened in that fight. All the credit goes to Cyrille. He adjusted well and went through some adversity. I know who I am and know what I am capable of. I know I would probably still be fighting at 205 if that fight never happened, and then the Nick Penner fight got cancelled.
"Middleweight is where I'm supposed to be. The last month and a half, we have made such a jump in our training camp. We have improved so much to where we are supposed to be right now. Now I know what it's like to get your face smashed in."
After the Diabate fight, DeBlass realized that he needed to make a change in his career, which is why he dropped to 185. He feels that the middleweight division is where he needs to be.
"I think the guys at 205 are so big," DeBlass stated. "I went to the UFC Summit, and the fighters at 205 were walking around between 235 and 245 pounds. I don't think it's that they are stronger than me. I felt much stronger than Cyrille, but dealing with that weight and height was starting to wear on me a little bit.
"At the UFC level, you have to make this as fair as possible. Now I'm going to be in my weight class. People won't really be that much bigger than me, and I'll be one of the bigger guys in the division."
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.
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