Facing him was a pleasure and a great time to demonstrate the old adage, “Steel Sharpens Steel”. For 30 minutes we battled giving our all in the ring. No dirty tricks. No fouls. Just hard nosed battling for 30 minutes.
It was thrilling to face down a competitor with that level of intensity and determination. To me our lengthy battle was truly living. A chance to slough off the day-to-day of career, church and family and simply battle. Battle with no other intent than to subdue the other man into submission.
For 6 rounds (I swear it was 8) Jacobs hurled himself at me. I tried to be the bully as much as I could but he wouldn’t allow it even though I outweighed him by at least 50 pounds.
I made pre-match calculations, strategies and plans. Even during the match I made adjustments as I realized trying to take him down was both futile and pointless as it merely sapped me of my waning old-man strength. Instead I attempted submissions from underneath, at one point extending his arm to the point of popping yet he didn’t tap.
On another series I had him pinned but no one but myself and a few corner side spectators could see.
On yet another I had a choke locked on as tight as I possibly could given my failing grip. One trapped leg would’ve sealed the deal. Yet somehow, some way Jacobs found a way out, a point of day light and he ran for it.
An outsized underdog in every match Curran Jacobs willed his way through each competitor overcoming them with his heart and tenacity.
I watched his quarter and semi final match ups that went into multiple over times only to end in rear naked strangle submissions for him. Not one but two capable and expert grapplers went down to what seemed like an easy thing to avoid. But it wasn’t. It was going to happen whether you knew it was or not.
To quote the great short story ‘A Piece of Steak’ by Jack London, “youth will be served”. Curran’s youth and vigor pulled him through many a potentially match ending situation in all three of his matches.
I couldn’t help but feel just like Tom King in the story. Old. Tired. Up for one more battle. Yet despite all of his dominance couldn’t stay the tide of youth.
After the match as I reflected on “how else could I have beaten him?” I could come up with few answers. I gave him my best, or at least the best that my battle worn 41-year-old self could give. I made so many mid game adjustments it gave me no less than 3 finishing opportunities that for whatever reason didn’t happen.
I analyzed the various scenarios and factors then finally I came to one plausible conclusion. I dislike crediting successes or failures to things like this, to me “Cause-and-Effect” means your training and skill execution, but sometimes explanations like this are very real in sport.
I think I can boil it down to this: One man’s personal quest and one man’s destiny.
The more I thought about it and the more I learned about Curran’s history the more sense it made.
A man who has suffered personal loss and tragedy like Curran often finds a special place inside his soul that drives him on to do great things. There are few things in life that evoke one’s soul to grow the way personal loss does.
During the match I thought at some point he would have slowed down yet those memories must have driven him on. I can explain it in no other way. Every match he was outgunned yet he still found a way to win.
I’m a big believer in Champions finding a way to win.
On a personal level I hate losing. It irks me forever. Losing to me is like having a piece of my soul removed. There are few losses that I forget. I use them for motivation. But in the end, they are merely sporting losses.
True losses, like the loss of loved ones, takes a different piece of your soul and provides a much more powerful motivation. Love. Remembrance. Connection to the other side and a will to shine for them while still here on earth.
Losing to Jacobs was the most unique loss I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never lost to someone who then promoted me on social media. I’ve never lost to someone and somehow made an instant friend and kindred spirit. It is bizarre.
For that I can only credit Curran’s warrior spirit and his desire to fulfill a personal quest. He found a way to achieve his destiny as the first modern era Catch Wrestling World Champion becoming one of the new young torch bearers for this great sport. Not just by eking out wins but by submitting all three of his opponents.
There are a number of torch bearers in MMA but Curran’s place in the Catch Wrestling cosmos is special. Special because of the adversity he constantly faced each match out and special because of his personal reasons for fighting, for excelling for others beyond just himself.
I can’t help but like the guy. He is a great competitor. He is very in tune with his family and they give him power. He is a great and gracious champion.
As one warrior to another I would like to congratulate Curran on a job well done. I hope that he is able to carry the sport of Catch Wrestling as well as he does himself. The sport of Catch Wrestling has a great new champion and his name is Curran Jacobs.