Glam rocker back on track with MMA

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

As far as epiphanies go, rock star-tuned-cagefighter Robin Black's was as painful as it was enlightening.

The wiry frontman for the glam band that bore his name, wallowed in all the excesses of rock stardom before the fateful night that changed -- and possibly saved -- his life.

"I was on tour in England with my band, completely smashed all the time. I enjoyed the fans, but hated my life," remembers the 40-year-old who has a pro record of 2-2.

"After a three-week-long bender, culminating in the last 48 hours being an extreme bender, I had a drug-and-alcohol-induced seizure on a couch in Nottingham at the fourth consecutive tour afterparty.

"I flew home in excruciating pain, recovered for a week, and made the decision to change my life forever."

A lifelong student of traditional martial arts, Black traded in the eyeliner and tight pants for black eyes and board shorts.

He did some stints on MuchMusic as he was preparing to fight full-time.

'CALLING ME OUT'

But acceptance in the tight-knit MMA community didn't come easy.

"People didn't want me in MMA. They wanted to see me get hurt," remembers Black.

"Websites and message boards were filled with insults. The odd person came after me in training. People were calling me out. Everyone judged me. It was tough. I just wanted to do well by the sport, but the sport didn't necessarily seem to want me."

He started his pro fighting career with back-to-back losses and his failure to throw in the towel began to impress some of his critics.

But the blemishes on his record weren't the only losses Black suffered as he worked to become a respected MMA fighter.

"I have spent 3 1/2 years of my life, full-time, five hours a day, six days a week preparing to do this," says Black.

"No parties. No beers. A divorce. My other career, that I had spent a decade creating, slipping away."

Black now does some broadcast and PR work to pay the bills and trains at Xtreme Couture in Toronto with first-rate fighters like Mark Bocek, Mark Hominick and Chris Horodecki.

WON CANADIAN TITLE

He recently won the Elite1 Canadian Bantamweight Championship and is busy preparing for an Aggression MMA fight in Edmonton on Oct. 24. He is scheduled to face Corey Lautischer.

"He's coming off a tough loss, and I'm going to try to get in his face and remind him of the pain early," says Black.

The ever-positive Black credits MMA and his girlfriend Erica Peck for taking his trainwreck-in-the-making life and setting it on the right track.

"I am happy, healthy, and wake up every day with a mission of self improvement," says Black.

"I have learned humility and empathy. I've learned about pain.

"I've learned about the desire to overcome."

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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