I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to document the training, travels, and lives of some of the best fighters in the world. They are generous with their time, and I repay them by putting all my effort into my photos of them. As Andre Kertesz once said, "Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph."
With this photoblog, I hope to provide a glimpse into the lives of MMA fighters--backstage, behind the scenes, and beyond. I want to take you places not everyone gets to go.
Kenny Florian's Weight Cut
When I first heard that Kenny was going to make the cut to featherweight back in 2011, I thought it was a joke. He’d fought at middleweight and lightweight already in his career; where were those last 10 pounds going to come from? Five months later I watched the weigh-ins online for his first featherweight fight against Diego Nunes in Vancouver, but I don't think it really hit me how significant the weight cut was since I was just viewing him through a 15-inch Macbook screen.
But I was with Kenny in Houston the following October for his championship fight with Jose Aldo at UFC 136. That's when I finally got to see his weight-cutting process in person, and I realized what a tremendous toll it was taking on his body. Very rarely am I affected by anything I see in MMA. I've seen so many injuries and what not; they just roll right off me. But sitting in a hotel bathroom watching Kenny try to get rid of every ounce of water in his body will stay with me forever.
To be honest, it was one of those moments when I wasn't sure I should even be taking a photograph. I’ve been a part of a lot of weight cuts, but this was different. This was darker somehow. You could tell someone--his family members, his coaches--wanted to say something to break the uneasy silence, but instead we just sat there.
Check out the first edition of Through the Lens:
Japan's Karate Kid: Kyoji Horiguchi
Japan's brightest MMA prospect.
Joel Tudor on the Art of Surfing, Fighting, and Style
A surf icon helps MMA keep its sense of tradition.
Manny Pacquiao: The Man Who Reinvented Boxing
Jack Slack talks Manny Pacquiao.
The House of Rickson: An Afternoon in Rio with Jiu-Jitsu's Royal Family
Father Gracie's children Kron, Kauline, and Kauan do what they do best.
Team Lakay Has Turned Baguio into a Breeding Ground for Filipino MMA
A look at the top Filipino fighters.