Grandma Dee (left) and Grandpa Mel (right) leaving the house on Grandma's quest to become an MMA pro.
It wasn't easy, and by the frown on Grandpa Mel's face one can tell that Grandma did not leave the safety of her home (Gr. Dee is agoraphobic, remember?) without putting up quite a fight for a cripple who has had Multiple Sclerosis since the age of 19.
Living together for all these years has not been easy on either one of us, and Grandpa seems to be shrinking.
To be a great MMA fighter, one must go to a great gym and find an excellent coach. Naturally, we headed by van to Greg Jackson's gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Thank heaven that Grandpa loves to drive. We listened to all our favorite Country Western songs, and then started in on Grandma's Kid Rock albums.
Arriving at Jackson's gym was successful due to the fact that Grandpa purchased a fine GPS instrument (due to Grandma having sent him to chauffeur the family to a Cincinnati, Ohio, UFC event).
It is the best investment he ever made, and always gets you right to the door of wherever you want to go. He couldn't stop bragging to everyone about his excellent gas mileage... with me reading a road map we have never experienced that before.
In an effort to be taken seriously, I managed to walk into the gym on my own power—although my wheelchair was in the back of the van with our luggage, in case of a sudden emergency (sometimes I forget how to walk).
I was well enough received, but turned away as a potential "client". Nobody laughed as we left, but I could detect the windows shaking as we drove away.
Our next stop was to visit with Shari Spencer in Las Vegas.
Being a very kind young woman, and respectful of her elders, Shari politely declined to take on Grandma as a MMA fighter. She suggested that it might be a good idea to get in good condition and try to make it through at least one fight before finding a manager.
What a sweet and considerate young lady! Georges is so fortunate to be represented by her in negotiating his contracts with the UFC.
Not having much luck in the initial process did not keep us from seeking out a conditioning trainer. Of course, Jonathan Chaimberg was my first choice. He happened to be at the Tri Star gym discussing some matter or other with Firas Zahabi.
What luck! Getting to meet both men at the same time was an incredible coincidence. Not that Grandpa wouldn't have welcomed another trip. He was beginning to get a feel for the whole adventure, but do keep in mind that he does love NASCAR, which involves a lot of driving.
So trying not to look too old, crippled, or pathetic—not words one associates with a professional MMA fighter prospect—I asked Jonathan about training me. In all seriousness, he suggested that I begin by learning to push my chair back from the dining room table. I guess that would be a very beneficial exercise for my flabby upper arms.
Another serious suggestion was that I lose weight before jumping right into the next phase of my training regimen.
These experts certainly know what they are doing.
So, with a newly discovered vigor, we found our path leading back to Peoria, Illinois and our small homestead. It was a pleasant journey in spite of encountering numerous rainstorms and tornado sightings. When we did arrive home, I discovered a vee-shaped smudge of Slim Fast Mocha Chocolate on my glasses. Hm, I wonder...oh well.
My efforts were not in vein. I am once again in my favorite chair, with my laptop firmly ensconced on a board with a pillow beneath it on my lap. I no longer eat the fried foods that Grandpa prefers, and eat the new Nutrisystem Vegetarian Diabetic diet that has helped so many former pro athletes regain their shape and stamina.
Yes, it is working as well as can be expected for someone who cannot walk more than four hundred yards without taking an unintentional stumble or fall...which is my own version of "pound the ground"—a new technique all the best fighters will soon be copying. I patented it to be sure I get all the credit.
Hopefully, by the time I am 64-and-a-half years old I will have dropped enough weight to go back to my strength and conditioning trainer. Then, when I am fit enough, I hope to go back to Greg Jackson's gym. With a little bit of luck I may even get a fight under my belt and revisit Shari Spencer.
If there is any demand for 65-year-old female fighters, I am sure that Shari will be on top of it, and eager to help me launch my career in the big time.
At least that is what happens in the fairytale I relate to my grandchildren at bedtime.