Why did you choose that song?

Some good beats make all the difference

Any fighter that tells you fear is not part of the fight culture is full of it. It is present every day of a fighters life. They fear getting injured. They fear hurting their image. They fear losing. In fact, fear is one of the biggest motivators they have at their disposal. That and some good beats.

Music is engrained in our DNA. It has been with us from before our species could use the spoken word, potentially going back as far as 50,000 years. If you have a child then you know that they will move to music even in utero. The power of music is so incredible that it is also used as a method of therapy because of its ability to be up-lifting.

It is no surprise then that music has played a key role in entertainment. Movie producers use music at the right moments to evoke an emotion (elation, doom, fear, sadness) from viewers. Athletes have used music for years now to get "amped" up. Even the NFL has jumped on the bandwagon by allowing the top picks in the 2014 draft to select their own walk-out song.

It's no different for mixed martial artists (MMA). As a former professional fighter I can tell you that music played a critical role in my pre-fight preparation. Especially on fight day. To this day I cannot go on a run without having my headphones on. I even go so far as to switch to certain songs that will give me an added boost when I am suffering more than usual.

You might be surprised how songs, specifically walk-out songs, are chosen:

  • To get amped up - The most obvious of the reasons is to get pumped. I like to call this "angry" music
  • It fits their personality/style - Jon Jones is known for using 50 cent's "God Gave Me Style"
  • To intimidate their opponent - Jose Aldo likes to play "Run This Town". I imagine this is to put his opponent on notice that the ring is his. Brock Lesnar wanted you to know he was putting you to sleep by walking in to "Enter Sandman"
  • It represents! - Uriah Faber often walks-in to "California Love" because he is from the state. Prior to his retirement Matt Hughes used "A Country Boy Can Survive". Can you guess what part of the United States he is from?

I personally used music to either be a distraction from all the negative thoughts racing through my head, or more commonly to remind me of something that was important to me. Before becoming a father I use songs that I related to my family, particularly a loved one that was struggling with something. Nowadays I gravitate toward songs that make me think of my daughter, taking it so far as to dream up scenarios in which I must fight in order to save her. It’s weird I know, but it works like a charm. Just try imaging that your daughter has been kidnapped and you will run faster than a Kardashian toward publicity.

Music simply moves people. In one fashion or another. And there is no better time to be inspired than just before another person is looking to knock your teeth out.


by: Jonathan Mills Patrick

Jonathan is a former professional mixed martial artist turned finance expert and business advisor. See more of his work at

illustration: Margaret A. McIntyre, from "The cave boy of the age of stone"

© 2014 BRAWLSY, All rights reserved


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