What Motivates a Fighter?
During the week leading up to UFC 102
in Portland, Oregon, I spent a lot of time with a house full of fighters from all over the country, as well as with Randy Couture
. All of this interaction gave me the rare opportunity to have conversations with a broad spectrum of fighters about what motivates them to work as hard as they do. Not surprisingly, almost all of them are motivated by the goal of winning the belt!
The Most Prized Belt
If you’re a fighter, there is only one belt you’re motivated by—the UFC championship belt. Joe Warren
, the world champion in Greco-Roman wrestling who recently made the transition to MMA
said to me, “It’s all about winning bigger and better belts!” I had to ask him how he determined the worth of a belt or medal, and his answer was intriguing. He explained, “It all depends on who gives it to you.”
There are countless wrestling tournaments that you can win a medal from, but if you win a medal at the Olympics, it’s because of the event that makes the reward so special. If you win a belt from a small MMA organization, it doesn’t mean as much as winning the belt from the UFC
because the UFC is recognized as the biggest and best of all MMA organizations. The prize derives its value from the organization or person that represents it.
Our Reward: The Crown of Righteousness
I believe this principle helps us understand Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:6-8:
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
I have often wondered what the “crown of righteousness” really is and why I would want one. I see now that the value of the crown is derived from the person who is giving it to me! Jesus Christ is the one who will give the crown to each of us. That fact should motivate us to persevere much more than the reward itself.