Always fun when an photo editor emails you and asks if you can take a punch. I don’t. I do, however, know how to curl up into a ball and cry, which is what would happen if I did actually step into the ring with this guy. MMA fighter Anthony “Rumble” Johnson let ESPN the Mag and myself follow him for a couple days in preparation for UFC 187 in Vegas this Friday.
Normally this kind of shoot would be just him training doing his thing, but we happened to be with him when the whole Jon Jones hit-and-run story broke. It was admirable how this guy took the news and continued his intense training even tough he had no idea what was going to happen with Jones and his chance to win the take the belt away from the best in the business. He eventually found out that the belt would be stripped and he would be fighting a completely different styled fighter.
Some who know my work will gasp that these are in black-and-white, but for me I like the texture and tones that come through when converted. Little details like sweat on skin or highlights on chains and equipment aren’t overpowered but mixed lighting in the gym. It’s more about showing the small things in this guy’s training and sometime you just have to ditch what you normally do to make it work – kind of like what Johnson is having to do to prepare for Daniel Cromier and his chance to be on top after his return to the UFC.
The awesome four-page layout and color images are below and in my Photoshelter archive: http://chiplitherland.photoshelter.com/gallery/Anthony-Rumble-Johnson-UFC-187-training/G0000pCtSQi44d8w