For Maurice Smith, the magnitude of his K-l USA victory was more than he could handle.
LAS VEGAS — Whether he’s in or out of the ring, Maurice ‘Smith seldom lets his guard down. The sign of a true champion is not necessarily to act like you’ve been there before, but rather to realize you may never be there again.
For Smith, who at 39 is waging a duel war against eroding skills and Father Time, has been to the top so many times in his illustrious career you wonder why he won’t take a moment to enjoy the view.
Yet, Smith keeps putting his reputation on the line because that’s what true champions are supposed to do. It’s what makes them whole, what sets them apart from the forgotten crop which walk around with beer stains on their tattered Ringsides.
Maurice Smith appreciates the fight game. He understands how fleeting victory can be. Like the K-l itself, he knows getting too high after one win only sets you up for a bigger fall down the line.
But then there are moments in a fighter’s life when all the training and all the planning give way to pure emo- tion. When taking it all in stride is no longer an option. When the only remedy is to go with the flow and let it out.
The moment of truth for Maurice Smith came suddenly and without warning 30 minutes after he had won the narrowest of K-l USA’s here with a split-decision victory over Canadian Michael McDonald.
Smith, normally placid and unaffected by such accomplishments, began crying uncontrollably while speaking to K-l veteran Ray Sefo in the pressroom of The Mirage. The more he wiped his eyes, the more tears streamed down his usually emotionless face.
Smith, the first person in martial arts history to ever hold WKA, K-l, Battlecade and UFC titles, could no longer handle the magnitude of his accomplishment. I think Maurice is just now realizing what he did, explained trainer and long-time friend Kirk Jensen. He’s going to retire from kickboxing at the end of the year and this meant a lot to him. He wanted to go out on top.