Roland Gephardt was too old for this shit.
At least, that’s what they told him. They, unfortunately, consisted of his wife, his children, his trainer, the media, and anyone who followed the sport of mixed martial arts.
At 64, he was still in better shape than most men a third of his age, something he had always prided himself on. Nature saw fit to bless him with the freak-like genetics, but the one thing he held above all else was how he stayed in such condition: blood, sweat, and tears.
Gephardt never touched a drop of synthetics, never once shot up a drug that would make injuries heal at three times their normal rate, or never once took a pill that promised a single work out would give him the benefits of ten. He never took a shortcut, believing that you cheated not only yourself but your opponent when you did such a thing, and even worse, you disgraced every warrior that ever lived before you.
That’s why body modification didn’t sit well with him. It didn’t sit well at all. How could a man look at himself in the mirror if he was goosed up on artificial hormones, let alone when he knew his arm literally had more in common with a jackhammer than it did with a human body anymore?
This new trend of turning fighters into half-man/half-machine abominations was enough to put most old timers off of the sport for good, claiming it was going in a direction it was never meant to go. Why not let them carry weapons into the cage instead, allowing them to shoot and stab each other with no false pretense that that jaw shattering left came from an actual bowling ball than to have those not realize buried under the man’s flesh was the mechanical equivalent?
Roland had had enough. He hadn’t fought over 84 professional bouts, (81 in which he was the victor), hadn’t held every possible championship multiple times, hadn’t sacrificed so much in this life for the achievements of men like him to be washed away in this new wave of mechanical monstrosities.
They thought it was all a joke when 20 year retired former world champion Roland Gephardt called a press conference that wasn’t to announce the opening of a new steakhouse.
It was short, simple, and to the point.
“You can put a jet engine in your chest and you still won’t have as much heart as a fighter from my generation, and any one of you who says you do, I’ll meet you in the cage.”
He left the podium without another word, oblivious to the barrage of questions and flash bulbs that chased after him.
Within two weeks, a fight was signed. Lance “Freight Train” McGillicutty. One of the version 2.1 fighters that seemed to have mechanics that didn’t cause his body to tear itself to shreds as the first wave of fighters had. Gephardt signed without negotiating a single term.
Tonight, he sat in his dressing room, a thin sheen of perspiration covering his massive frame as he finished his warm-up. The few aches and pains in his joints he normally felt were gone, replaced with a body that was ready for the kill.
There was a knock on his door. One of his cornermen opened it a crack.
“It’s time” came the voice from the other side. Roland nodded.
He bowed his head and said a quick prayer to the ancients, asking them to give him the strength to prove that no amount of bio-mechanics could make up for the true, fighting spirit of a man. Deep in his heart, this still beating, pure, heart, he heard them answer.
It was time, indeed.
CBBC Corrupter, Official Translator of Pope Siglericus XXX, 2012 Body Maim World Champion, Siglerfest 2K12 Open Invitational Double Elimination Arm Wrestling Champion