By Yvette R. Brisco
The 13 year old boy’s eyes widened as he and his high school gym class watched the mixed martial artists roll, kick, and strike. He was captivated and he was hooked. He signed on the dotted line that very night. “Right away I knew I wanted to get into it.”
That’s how it all began for Mark “The Machine” Hominick.
Within a year or so, he was already competing in the adult division of grappling tournaments and Pancrase. By the time he turned 18, he knew that mixed martial arts would always be a major part of his life. Earning a business degree at university didn’t deter him from going after what had become so important to him. “It’s just always been my passion, and it will always be that.”
Passion is what it takes to achieve and be successful in this sport. How else could one put in hours and hours of training, stick to strict diets, take the black eyes, pulled muscles, and bruises that seem to be found on every rung of the ladder to the top? When preparing for a fight, Hominick has two trainings each day; one for drilling, strength and conditioning, and one for sparring. This kind of focused determination is found in most elite level fighters.
Even notable coach Shawn Tompkins has recognized that passion and determination in Hominick and dubbed him “The Machine” because when he gets in the gym and starts to work out, it’s like flipping a switch. He’s the machine that doesn’t stop until the job is done.
Hominick counts Coach Tompkins as one of his heroes in MMA. “He’s just really been the biggest mentor not in just my career, but in my life.” His other hero, who inspired him as he was growing up and learning about mixed martial arts was Jens “Lil’ Evil” Pulver. He admired Pulver for his work ethic and dedication on his road to achieving his goal of becoming a world champion.
Hominick has his own goal of being champion to achieve. He is constantly working toward his goals and explicitly defines each goal, focusing on it until it is achieved. Two years ago, he set a goal to go undefeated for that year. He achieved it. One year ago, he set a goal to be ranked in the top 10. He achieved it. This year, he set a goal to earn a title shot. He achieved it. His current goal is to become the Featherweight Champion of the World. Will he achieve it? What will it take?
Mixed martial artists cannot be one dimensional. Although “The Machine” is noted for his superior striking skills, he is constantly improving his wrestling, jiu jitsu, and other skills to ensure that he is well rounded and prepared for anything. He said, “The thing with mixed martial arts, you have to be constantly evolving. You constantly have to work and build your game.”
Hominick takes that to heart, and has both the physical and mental fortitude to be a professional. MMA isn’t a sport for the weak or the meek, and “The Machine” is neither. Although he’s been the underdog in several of his fights, he remains focused on what he has trained to do, and that’s his game plan for defeating Jose Aldo, the current UFC Featherweight Champion. Hominick said he will not allow Aldo to dictate what’s going to happen in the fight.
When asked what it would take to beat Aldo, Hominick said, “I think a lot of people go in there and are intimidated by him and shy away from what they’re good at because they’re so concerned with what he’s going to do. I’m just going to go and fight my fight.” Hominick’s training camp has gone well, and he said, “You gotta remember, he’s a man just like anybody else.” Hominick isn’t looking past Aldo to future goals. His single-minded focus is on winning at UFC 129.
Although Mark Hominick is a good fighter, he’s also a good man. He’s a family man with his first child on the way, and he understands the importance of being a good husband and a good father. That’s how he wants his daughter (to be named Rae) to describe him in 15 years when she talks about him to others. He was asked about meeting his wife and he shyly said, “I chased her all throughout high school, and she finally let me catch her.” When asked when he knew she was the one, he said, “I always knew.” This guy is permanently off the market ladies and is deeply in love with his wife.
Mark spends a lot of time in the gym training, but he keeps balance in his life by spending time fishing and having backyard barbeques with family and friends. His small town life is very fulfilling, and he’s had the same friends since he was a kid. His success as a professional fighter has not changed his relationships with his friends. He understands the value of having personal relationships based on history and sharing.
Mark believes that the secret to a successful marriage is to be an honest man to his wife. He honors her and all the wives and girlfriends whose husbands are MMA fighters. They have to endure long separations during training camps, watching their husbands in danger in the cage, and watching them be appreciated a little too much by vigorous fans. The strength that these women possess is notable. “They have to be strong, sometimes stronger than you.”
Mark appreciates how strong women have to be in other situations as well, especially as female mixed martial artists. He thinks that although the growth in women’s MMA will be slow and challenging, it will happen, and women are up for the challenge. “Some of the women I’ve trained with are just as good if not better than the males.” He recognizes the drive that women in the sport have and indicated that when the ladies fight, they leave it all in the cage. They are an example of courage and determination.
Mark also believes that it’s important to be a good role model for today’s youth. He considers all professional athletes to be role models. “There’s always kids looking up to you, and I do take that role very seriously.” Being a good person and living life the way you’re supposed to, in a respectable way is one of the most important aspects to being a good role model. The foundation of mixed martial arts is particularly good for kids because it can change their attitudes, it can change their work ethic, and it can change their lives.
He is on the card with one of his role models for UFC 129, fighting for a hometown crowd in front of the largest crowd the UFC has ever had: Randy Couture. He is impressed with Couture’s contributions to the sport. Couture’s class in both victory and defeat is legendary, and Hominick felt that calling him a role model is an understatement. “He knows how to win and how to lose, how to carry himself after a loss. He’s a very honorable man and a great role model for me and anybody in the sport. It’s an honor to be on the card with him. He’s a living legend for sure in the sport.”
Couture and Hominick share several attributes. Passion is one of them. They are both passionate about mixed martial arts and living life to the fullest. They are also both respectful. They recognize the potential that this sport has to make an impact on the lives of many. Another word that can be applied to both is humble. Both are gentle but fierce warriors, and both will be laying it all on the line Saturday night in front of 55,000 screaming fans, one hoping to end his career on top, and the other hoping to begin his reign as world champion.
Many thanks to Yvette R. Brisco. She is one of the many wonderful contributors to Real Women and Men's MMA. To be a contributor select the Contributor tab on the main menu and it will give you the contact info.
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