It’s hard to watch. But you can find an edited replay online. It’s one of fights that makes it onto a highlight reel because of the amount of blood and brutality. It happened on May 30, 2009. Ryan “The Real Deal” Ford versus Dave “Pain Train” Mazany on TFC 7 in Edmonton.
Both men step into the cage and it’s immediately apparent how much taller and wider Ford is over Mazany. Within seconds Ford staggers Mazany with a wild left hook then quickly follows up with swift left roundhouse kick to Mazany’s face and drops him. Ford jumps right on top of him and drops a fist like sledgehammer on Mazany as he tries to cover up. Mazany desperately tries to clinch, doing everything to hang on, never once giving up, but Ford picks him three feet off the mat and slams him back down. Ford now drops bombs. The referee steps in and pulls Ford off before stopping the fight. The camera focuses on the blood. Blood on Ford’s leg, the cage floor, and on Dave’s swollen face.
The video clip now shows Dave lying on a couch as someone works on him with a pair of forceps. “Before they stitched me up, they were literally picking bone out of my nose,” Dave says. At the end, Dave says kids should stay in school. “I think I’ll go get my masters,“ he jokes before the clip fades to black.
That night was a turning point in Dave Mazany’s life. Not only was his nose shattered and his orbital bone above his eye fractured, but so was his will at that moment. Dave was living in Alaska then. After turning pro in MMA, he shot out to a 5-0 record. In his gym, he was treated as an up-and-coming star. But then he took a beating. His third loss in a row. He was now 5-3. Those who were quick to praise him were now writing him off.
Dave had a decision to make. Did he want this?
“It was one of the most emotional times in my life, “ Dave says. “It’s easy to win, it’s easy to be the hammer. But once you’re the nail – that determines your true character.”
He knew if still wanted to pursue this dream, he would need to make a drastic change. So after he saved some money, he packed his truck and drove down to Las Vegas.
“I wanted to be around the best…Iron sharpens iron,” he says.
It was a tough at first. He lived off his savings. He slept on his aunt and uncle’s coach. He trained. But during a hard recession it was tough to get fights. And then one day South Africa called. It was the EFC, the Extreme Fighting Championship which organizes fights on the African continent. They called his gym and asked if anyone wanted to take a fight on short notice – 10 days short notice. Dave jumped at the chance and won.
“It was the rebirth of the Pain Train,” he says.
That was in October, 2010. From there Dave went on a winning streak and put his fighting career back on track. In July of this year. Dave Mazany faced South African favorite Leon Mynhardt at EFC 51 in Carnival City Casino, Johannesburg for the lightweight championship. Dave won the title on a first round submission. It’s his first championship belt.
But he isn’t satisfied. He is still pursuing his dream of eventually fighting in the UFC. It’s like everything he does. If he’s going to do it – he wants to do it right and be among the best. He trains out of Xtreme Couture on West Sunset almost every day. He grinds. He pushes on. That’s who he is – it’s all he’s ever been.
In MMA, there dozens – if not hundreds – of organizations promoting fights all over the world. But the UFC is at the top of that list. To fight in the UFC, it’s as much about politics and marketability as it is fight records or ability. And Dave is 33. He knows if he has another loss that dream is most likely over.
But he controls what he can control and tries not to worry about what he can’t. So he trains and he grinds, but he’s also laying the groundwork for a life after fighting.
Dave knows he can be a good coach, a good trainer. By will as much as a chance meeting, Dave came to TruFusion to teach kettlebell classes. By luck it also happened to be at the time TruFusion was starting a boxing program. It’s been a good fit. He was instrumental in the class design, and he loves the team atmosphere at TruFusion – how everyone’s opinion matters, how supportive the team is.
He sees similar values between TruFusion and himself. Once again, if you’re gonna do something, then do it right. And he loves having an impact on people’s lives.
For Dave, it’s a joy to come in and watch people give it their all. It’s a joy to take a group of people who haven’t had much experience boxing and watch them evolve over time. He’s fascinated how energy is contagious. How it starts in one corner of the room and spreads throughout the whole class.
And just like everything else he does, he can be quite critical of himself. He leaves class and goes over it in his head. Could his playlist been better? Could he have given a better cue?
“He really cares about each and every client reaching their goals and goes above and beyond to help them get there,” says TruFusion member Suzanne Cunningham Philips. “Dave is an amazing instructor.”
But as he lays the road for another future, he’s not done yet with the present. His first title defense happens November 11 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Dave Mazany is not only far from finished, he’s just getting started.
Dave Mazany teaches:
Tru BattleBoxing, Monday @ 1 pm
Tru Boxing Core, Wednesday @ 1 pm
Tru BattleBoxing Express, Thursday @ 8 am