Losses hurt in the world of mixed martial arts, but they afford a priceless learning experience.
Chris Elissarraras (5-2), the 209 Beatdown Bantamweight Champ and 559 Fights Featherweight Champ, suffered defeat in his last tilt for a title, except he learned more from an injury he sustained than allowing the belt—he’d prefer to be wrapped in—to slip through his fingers. When Elisarraras was a special guest on Episode 2 of NorCal MMA’s Fight Talk (link here), he discussed the direction he plans to steer the remainder of his stint in the amateurs before returning to complete in the sophomore showing of 209 Beatdown on April 29, 2017.
In Elisarraras’ previous outing, his opportunity to claim a fourth win in a row and a third amateur championship was snapped, along with his leg, in a unanimous decision loss to Samuel Fierro while challenging for the 559 Fights vacant Bantamweight Title:
“He [Fierro] had me against the cage, and he tried to take me down. I went to brace my foot, but I couldn’t get it out in time; so my butt landed on my ankle, with his weight on top of me, and it ended up fracturing my fibia.”
Before the misfortunate shift in his bone structure, he admitted,
“I had never been hurt before, so it was kind of an unrealistic thing in my mind. I kind of have the mentality that: I’m not going to get hurt doing this sport, and I’m somewhat invincible.”
Forced from his feet, the product of The Pit North in Atascadero, California was caged inside his own mind in regards to his path as a combat sports athlete:
“I had a lot of time to think about everything and the direction I want to move forward with my career; a lot of time to plan; a lot of time to dig deep into what’s going to make me better as an athlete; what’s going to make me a better fighter.”
After health and wellness weighed heavily on Elisarraras’ mind, he opted to not tax his body by shrinking down to the bantamweight division,
“I’m probably going to be giving up my 135-belt for 209 [Beatdown] because I don’t want to fight at 135 anymore,” especially, as he continued, under the regulations of C.A.M.O (California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization). “With same day weigh-ins, there’s just no way. It drains me, not only mentally but physically, so much. When I have fought at 145, I did so much better…”
His reflection about undergoing the dramatic weight cut, with minimal time to recover, carved out any doubt that Elisarraras’ decision to target only those tipping the scale at 145-pounds was the right one,
“Once you do that [the weight cut] and jump in a cage with someone six-hours later, I’m two to three seconds behind in my head, and two to three seconds is a game-changer when you’re talking about the kind of speed these guys have in my classes.”
A sound argument supports Elisarraras choice to relinquish his 209 Beatdown belt and join the long line of featherweight contenders:
“When we go pro, 135 is going to be ideal for me.”
Even if Elissarraras doesn’t return to 209 Beatdown 2 as the all-amateur promotion’s defending bantamweight champion, he couldn’t possibly be slotted on the April 29th card too far from the top of the heap in the featherweight division..