Monday, September 26, 2011
Why Do EYE BELIEVE?
I haven't written anything like this in awhile, but after her Bellator win vs Casey Noland on Saturday September 24th, I felt it was time to write one, about Jessica "Evil" Eye.
Let's go back to 2010. My blog was still fairly new. I fighter I knew was coming to fight on NAAFS Eve of Destruction, an all female card. I had yet to meet her in person, so wanted to be there, and perhaps cover the show as well, since it was all female. That would be my first NAAFS show, and I have covered every one of them since. Well, her fight ended up not happening, but I went anyway. The main event was Jessica Eye vs Marissa Caldwell. I admit, I knew little of both. I was aware of Jessica, and had heard she was good, but never actually saw her fight. The other fights ended and it was time for the main event.
Before the fighters entered the place went crazy, Jessica Eye, shirts, signs, posters, all on display. When Jessica came out to the cage, the place erupted. I couldn't believe how loud it was. I actually felt bad for Marissa because it seemed not a single person was rooting for her. Now, I wouldn't say I was rooting for Marissa, but there is that natural feeling you sometimes get of "wouldn't it be funny if the crowd all got shocked". What I watched was Jessica Eye put on an amazing performance, controlling the whole fight. I was quickly a Jessica Eye fan.
After the fight I asked her to do an interview and take a picture. We share a couple short messages on Facebook, but the interview would take many many months before it happened. But I saw Jessica a a show two months after her fight and went to say hi, and instead was greeted with a hug. It caught me off guard, I mean, she hardly knew me. Later I would come to find out that that is just how Jessica is. If you support Jessica, you are not just a fan, she thinks of every fan as a friend in one way or another.
Over time, I really got to know Jessica. We talked on the phone, in person, online, etc. Her nickname is evil, and inside the cage, she may be, but outside the cage, she is as sweet a person as a person can be. I remember one thing above all else. One night we were talking on the phone, about some big things coming her way that she didn't want announced yet. During that conversation, we talked about my huge weight loss and desire to get on a bodybuilding stage. I told her I needed surgery to remove loose skin first. I don't want to say what she said, but she said something to me that I will never forget and that phone call will always have a special place in my heart.
But Jessica is that way with everyone. If a girl needs help on her game, Jessica is quick to say "come to Strong Style and I will work with you", you need help with something, Jessica is the first to say "let me see what I can do". Ask all the female fighters who have come to work with Jessica, or all the female fighters who look up to her.
When I decided to fight, I knew right away I wanted Jessica to be one of the two people I learned from. So Jessica and Rachel Dovidio gave of their time and knowledge to help me. Never once did they ask for anything in return. When I would text her and say something bad about myself or I was unhappy with my work, she was quick to put me in my place. When it turned out my hip wouldn't let me fight, she saw I was upset, but she didn't give me sympathy. She knew it wasn't what I needed. She instead helped me focus on what was always my number one goal, competing in bodybuilding. I still get down about not being allowed to fight, but when I am down, I know I can go to Jessica for a quick reality check.
So just two nights ago, Jessica got to fight for Bellator. She fought a great fight, easily winning a decision, save for one judge who somehow decided to not watch the fight and score it for Noland. The people I was with, female fighters, finally got to see what I go through when they fight. The nerves I felt. Not nervous for her winning or losing, not for her safety, but just because I see how hard she works, I know the person she is, I wanted her to have success, that's why I get nervous. When the third round ended, I was sure Jessica had won, yet still I got nervous. In fact the last thirty seconds, I was tugging on the shirt of fighter Jessica Dinch, that's how nervous I was. But even while confident, I couldn't help the nerves. I sat rocking back and forth in my seat, starring into my hands. The first judge scored it for Jessica, but then the second judge scored it for Noland. I was worried, did my obvious biasedness for Jessica make me see something that wasn't there? Did Jessica lose? The announcer finally said "for your winner.......... from Independence, Ohio" and before he said Jessica's name I pumped my fist hard and jumped up. Jessica was jumping in the cage, blood dripping from a cut under her eye, she was so happy. And me, like the rest of the crowd was happy for her. Finally, they went to interview her, seeing the happiness on her face, I could hold it no more, laugh if you want, but I had tears in my eyes. Jessica Eye had just put the world on notice, that she is for real, and is going to be around doing big things for many years.
So why do EYE Believe? Listen, I am male, and Jessica is a female. I am older than her by several years. So to some, maybe its strange that she means so much to me. But if you know Jessica at all, you will know that its not strange at all. EYE believe in Jessica the fighter, that much is obvious, but EYE believe even more in Jessica the person. It's not about trying to be friends with some top fighter, cause I am friends with lots of fighters, it's not cause I think Jessica is some cute girl, cause I look at her almost like a sister, so its nothing like that. Its about Jessica in so many ways reminds me of me. I am often called a giving and helpful person, well that's who Jessica is.......only she is more of a bad ass than me haha. I got my EYEbelieve tattoo because its my tribute to someone who wanted to help me when she didn't have to. Who had my back when she didn't have to. Who helps so many people, when she doesn't have to. In his press conference, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney referred to Jessica's fans as an army. Well yes, they are an army, and army she worked hard to ear, and has earned them. But that army supports her not just because she is a good fighter, but because she is a special person.
These are the reasons EYE Believe. EYE believe she will be among the elite fighters in the sport, EYE Believe she is a special person, EYE Believe she is an example of what I love about women's MMA. EYE Believe you have only seen a small sample of what is in store for this young woman. These are the reasons EYE Believe..... In fact, EYE don't just believe..... EYE Know.