Max Griffin: Bringing “Pain” to UFC 202

“I don’t want my life to be just surrounded in all this [MMA] shit if it doesn’t pay off. To me, the UFC is paying off, and I feel like I’ve done what I need to do.”

13707717_10205346313852263_813480718154879711_nThis was a decree from the “King of Sacramento” in an interview with The Last Round Podcast, episode 35 (link here) in the wake of his crowning achievement as a local legend earlier this year. Finally, it appears the payoff will pixelate for Max “Pain” Griffin (12-2) because he’s scheduled to be featured at UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor II on August 20, 2016 versus Colby “Chaos” Covington (9-1).

Words can’t truly capture the wave of emotions rippling through Griffin’s bloodstream after receiving notice that his dreams are becoming a reality, but ‘elated’ and ‘validated’ would operate as a foundation for every other emotion propping up the bumps on his skin. He described what he remembered weaving within his thoughts at the news,

“Man, it was unreal. I had to say, ‘What the fuck?’ probably like 200 times. I can’t even process it, like really! It’s still sinking in.”

As noted, Griffin is recognized throughout the Northern California fight scene as: “King of Sacramento” after defeating David Mitchell, a former visitor to the UFC, at West Coast Fighting Championship (WFC) 16. Biting down on his mouthpiece instead of a silver spoon, Griffin would argue, as WFC’s current welterweight champion, that he wasn’t born into his position of royalty. He trained hard with Marinoble’s Martial Arts, Carnage Fight Team, and MMAGOLD and poured over half his existence into martial arts, mixed or otherwise; moreover, doubt crept into Griffin’s psyche about whether he’d attain the crown jewel he yearned for as a prizefighter: an opportunity to compete amongst MMA’s elite in the UFC:

“It’s so funny because I’ve been getting these crazy thoughts in my head: Am I gonna still fight?” Uncertainty spilled like the blood, sweat, and tears he’s invested into the sport, but he refused to entertain the idea that his timeline as a mixed martial artist jumped off the starting line inside the boundaries of The Golden State and never broke beyond them. “I was getting frustrated. I wasn’t fighting in another local show.”

Now that the UFC has contracted Griffin to a four-fight deal, beginning on such a high-profile fight card with plenty of time to prepare, he’d suggest their offer soothed any previous frustrations:

“I kind of feel like I’m getting hooked up. I’m getting a good deal; I’m getting a good time; I’m getting a good opponent,” he listed with a smile. “It’s not like a one-day notice fight. The UFC is giving me a lot of time. Thirty-one days is a lot of time; two weeks is a lot of time.”

Griffin may enter the Octagon as a monarch, but the UFC’s matchmaker, Joe Silva, didn’t Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 12.41.55 AMpair him with a peasant. Two years Griffin’s junior, Covington will stand across from Griffin at UFC 202 with six times the experience under MMA’s brightest lights. Over the course of Covington’s walk as a mixed martial artist, his wins come by virtue of submission or decision; whereas, Griffin has ended half of his victories with TKOs, and the debutant, with two straight knockout wins, predicts a third, which will be more charming when announced by Bruce Buffer,

“I haven’t watched much on him, but he’s going to get the business.” Confidence grumbled in Griffin’s voice as he continued,  “He’s getting knocked out. He’s going to get finished. He’s good at wrestling, but he doesn’t’ want to stand with me.”

When Griffin’s walkout music bounces from one end of T-Mobile Arena to the other and he materializes from the dark, backstage area toward the center of attention, he proposed the name brandished across his UFC Fight Kit represents all the individuals who continually pushed him to advance toward the proving ground shaped like a stop sign,

“I want to thank everyone. This is not just for me; it’s for everyone who believed in me. I’ve been training for 18 years, and people have been helping me the whole time, even to my amateur days. I was supposed to be here a long time ago, and I’m beyond ready.”

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