Star Winar had the privilege to see Ryan Lang, a MMA fighter, in action at one of his fights. Afterward we heard a crowd member say Ryan could probably write a book after his fighting career. Intrigued, and not wanting to judge a book by its cover, we got an interview with Ryan to find out why the fan said this. After sitting down together with Ryan, we found out his ACT score was one point shy of perfect and quickly learned that he could write a novel or a math book depending on how he felt that day. Ryan Lang has so many awards we had to leave many of them out (complete list at bottom of article). As a 4x High School State Champion and also a National Champion, he was the #1 recruit out of high school and took a full scholarship to Northwestern University in Chicago where he was an All-American and All-Academic American. While in College he won over 150 college amateur wrestling matches, was the Big 10 Champion and during that time he had a 60 match winning streak. He qualified for the Olympic trials but moved from Chicago to Los Angeles to chase his MMA dream. You’ll see him fighting on HDnet (owned by Mark Cuban owner of the Dallas Mavericks), also in the Abu Dhabi World Championships, Chicago Fight with Lionheart, and his sponsors will be sending him to Japan, Puerto Rico, Holland and Germany.
Ryan related to Star Winar one of his pivotal moments.
I will always remember the week before my first MMA fight. I had recently declined Olympic trials to chase this dream of becoming a world-renowned fighter. I had just finished training on a rainy Tuesday afternoon and one of the older gentlemen in the facility approached me. He came up to me and said, “Ryan, I can beat you in a fight.” As I laughed he didn’t wipe the flat grin on his face. He said, “ I am serious I know I can beat you in a fight right now.” Then he pulled out a bandana and handed it to me. “If you put this blindfold on I can beat you in a fight.” He spat out as he held out the blindfold. He brought down his arm and put his hand on my shoulder. “Ryan if you walk in here and do not know why you’re here or what you’re here to do, it’s like wearing a blindfold. You need a target and a goal in life. A lot of people walk around in life wearing a blindfold. They have no idea why they are here or what they are supposed to do and run into things for however long they are here and then get knocked out forever. Don’t be one of them.” He handed me the blindfold and walked off.
I kept that blindfold and put it in my locker. That night I went to the Pacific Ocean to watch the sunset and reflect and visualize the fight that was coming. I walked along the beach with the blindfold in my back pocket.
It was a beautiful evening as the waves crashed and the sand below my feet made that ever so soft sound of crunching sand. I remember the first man that came jogging toward me. His face was frozen solid. I had to stare at him; and even so he never even acknowledged my presence. I wondered what was on his mind. Then a couple came walking by and they didn’t say much to each other. In fact if they were not walking so close to each other I would not have even thought they were together. The man in the pair looked tired from work and she looked to have a secret hidden inside of her but could not tell anyone. Coming from the other direction was a man with a dog. He had a subtle smile and seemed to be in a place all by himself. He seemed to carry a sense of gratitude and I wondered what he was thankful for. I became infatuated with these people’s stories and what they were doing with their lives. I just kept thinking ‘are they still wearing their blindfolds?’
The night finally came when my first fight was taking place. I remember pulling the curtain to the side and the cold cement hit my feet as I walked down to the ring. The fans were yelling like wild animals as they had left their cares behind them and sat in anticipation of two men preparing to enter the ring. I was fully stripped of my clothes as I weighed-in for the fight, knowing tonight my purpose was to win. I remember the sound of the door creaking as it opened to the ring, and then the sound of the crowd disappearing as I walked into my corner. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. After those initial moments, I do not remember the details of my victory, but I remember my perspective on life drastically changed from that day forward. Because as he raised my hand I knew this was what I was born to do!
The man pulled me aside and told me, ‘you don’t climb mount Everest by accident!’
As you go on your journey remember it is not easy! But remember when you take off your blindfold you can climb and let me tell you the view from the top is beautiful!