Mike Swick’s return to the Octagon after some rough years away is a big one. He steps in to the cage on the UFC’s most publically visible outlet. Despite his popularity and familiarity with the spotlight, UFC on Fox is a big step for anyone. Mike Swick doesn’t seem phased, and accepted the opportunity immediately.
“I just wanted a fight. It didn’t matter that it was on FOX”, Swick said. “I’ve fought on all different types of formats before. Pay per views and live broadcasts on Spike. If you do what you’re supposed to go out there and do right – people are going to notice you and see it. That’s just the way it goes. You have to fight the fight if you know what I mean. I don’t have to worry about a good showing then if I do that. I want to let people know that I’m back”
Like any good comeback story his is filled with hardships and personal challenges. Mike’s health was the primary reason he was away from the Octagon, but he feels he has a new lease on life, and is ready to go.
“I’m doing great”, Swick said. “It’s been a rough road the last several years with my health. You always have injuries here and there and you learn to deal with them. When I had the esophagus issue it really messed me up. It affected my diet and my eating patterns. I got really malnourished. I’d have big fights during this time, and it was really tough on me physically and mentally”.
Mike’s problems stemmed from medical treatments and the side effects that went along with them. It changed his lifestyle completely and finding the strength to do anything athletic was tough.
“It took forever to figure out how to get over that”, said Swick. “I had to calculate the right amount of food intake so I wasn’t malnourished and exhausted. I got everything under control and was in good shape. I had a great fight camp, and then I blew my knee. Knee injuries are one of the worst injuries you can physically have. That kept me back out another year. It’s been one thing on top of each other, all of the things that could possibly go wrong”.
When an athlete is faced with health problems it is not uncommon that retirement is contemplated. There were naysayers at every corner, but Swick never let that get him down.
“Whenever I asked myself if I was done it was more when I was going through the health issues and being misdiagnosed”, Mike stated. “The doctors were telling me I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete because you can’t eat the amounts of food you need to sustain that type of output. You focus on taking this and that medicine and those medicines are going to affect how you train. So basically it was told to me that my career might be over. That’s kind of where I was at around the Thiago fight. I went through what was going on and figured out how to defy the odds. I trained for the David Mitchell fight and I was on meds, eating all of this crazy food, and was malnourished. In that fight I was basically just dead. When he backed out with an injury I told Joe Silva I was done. I couldn’t even barely move, but I was going to show up and tough it out if he hadn’t backed out. When he backed out I just took it as a sign. I don’t know if I would ever back. I did every thing I could have possibly done for that fight camp. That’s when I went back to the doctors and got more information and turned everything around sort of”.
Mike found a rewarding way to keep himself busy, and give back to those he feels deserve it the most. In spite of his medical conditions he made the most of his time.
“I did a lot of military support tours”, he stated. “When I got in to the UFC I said that any time I had available I would support the troops. I would do what I could to give back because I didn’t get to go in to the military myself. I took the fighting route and I felt I still owed some dues. That’s why I have done so many tours. I’ve done fifteen tours in ten countries along with a lot of stateside tours. It’s just a great thing to do. To these guys it means the world to them to show support. It’s great for me, too. Hanging around these guys gets me motivated and it’s really inspiring”.
Those travels didn’t come without their own challenges according to Mike.
“I have a lot of interesting stories when I’m doing military tours”, Mike joked. “When you fly military aircraft it’s easy to get lost, especially as a civilian because you switch planes a lot. Often times the plane you’re supposed to take doesn’t even take off for whatever reason. They need the plane for some evac or this or that. Sometimes you don’t stay on the schedule you’re supposed to. That’s what happened with us. We were supposed to go to this one base and we ended up in a base in Kandahar, and no one knew who we were. We just showed up and the USO grabbed us. We went with them and met all of the troops”.
One particular story stood out from the rest according to Mike.
“Kyrgyzstan really scammed us at the airport”, Swick said. “On the way out of there, somehow through some inside spy source or something, they found out we had left the country through military transport, which is technically illegal without an authorized visa. They somehow tracked our movement and when we tried to leave they hit us with an illegal exit and entry in to the country. They tried to break us away from the cameras to pay them off. They also threatened to take us to jail so it was kind of like a standoff at two in the morning. A few minutes before the plane left they actually let us on. It was wild”.Tags: "bj Penn", Exclusive Interviews, featured, Mike Swick, MMA NEWS, ufc, ufc news, UFC on FOX