17 November, 2011

Battered and bruised Cork based fighter set for UFC debut:

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Hecht had to learn to use his fists early
“If you are getting into this sport (UFC) to make money, then go somewhere else.  You’ve got to be out of your mind to do it for the money!” - Jake Hecht

           Jake Hecht is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter specialising in wrestling and boxing.  He has had stitches in his head, had his front tooth smashed up into his nose and suffered a broken collar bone.  These injuries are not the result of his fighting career though.  They are the reason he learned to fight, wrestle and lift weights.
            The Cork based fighter suffered all those injuries at the hands of his older brother, Dustin. That became the inspiration for a teenage Hecht to learn how to defend himself, and ultimately pursue a career in coaching and participating in martial arts.  He suffered stitches in his head at the age of four, suffered the horrific tooth injury when his brother shoved him into bike handlebars and broke his collarbone when he threw him into a billiards table.
            Jake knew he had to learn how to defend himself or face further serious injury.  That process has led him to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  The UFC is the highest level of mixed martial arts and the fastest growing sport in America.  The Cork based Missouri native has signed up to a four fight contract with them.  
Hecht will fight in the Jo Jones vs Lyoto Machida card
               Fighting in the UFC has been a childhood dream for 27 year old Hecht, who is head coach at the MMA Boxing Clinic Cork in Frankfield. He is enjoying coaching full time and living in Cork, which grants him a much more stable lifestyle. “Before (in America), I was bouncing between jobs in bars and it was hard to keep a constant job and income.”
             He says that he loves coaching and it also means he doesn’t have to subject his body to extremes that a jockey would balk at.  He reveals that he once had to go from 90kg to 77 kg over two days for a fight!  He had started fighting at a higher weight and had to go down to a different weight class.  When you need the money, you have to do whatever it takes.  Hecht's fighting weight is 87kg but he will have to lose three kilos for his upcoming bouts.

Jake Hecht is Head Coach Coach at Cork city's Boxing Clinic
             He believes that this is an exciting time to be involved in MMA in Ireland. “It’s obviously not as big as the States but it’s growing fast, growing all the time.  Every weekend there are new events,” he says. “It’s great to be here at the start of it, at the origin.”
              He finds Cork very refreshing, coming from Missouri.  “It’s so clean here and the food is so nice. It’s so green and the people are so welcoming, so I find it refreshing. Where I come from, it’s not a nice place."
              The Yank remains a boxing fan, calling it a  "beautiful sport,"  and boxed for money as a  "broke college kid"  for a time.  He feels that UFC is a better fit for him though:  “Boxing is much harder on your brain than MMA,” he says. “It’s a constant jostling of the brain, over a sustained period." 
Ultimate Fighting can be bloody, brutal and brief

"MMA is one of the most extreme experiences you can have in your life.   Everyone should experience it once before they die," - Jake Hecht

              UFC may be ferocious and often bloody, but it’s not for the money that the American does it.  “You have to love the sport,” he says.  “It’s not big enough for most people to make money at it."  He says that it’s only the top five per cent in UFC that make enough money to really survive.  “Everyone else is fighting for every dollar that they can get."
              “The absolute worst time in a fight,” according to the Hecht, who has a 10-2 professional record, “is the moments before the start, when you are looking across the ring, knowing that the guy there will hit you in the face.  It’s not so bad when it actually happens, because it’s something you train for. It’s one of the most extreme experiences you can have in your life.” Everyone should experience it once before they die, he suggests with a straight face.   Any takers?

                Jake Hecht will make his UFC debut on December 10th in Toronto on the Jones/Machida card and will continue coaching at the BoxingClinic in Frankfield, Cork for the forseeable future thereafter.
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