‘Til The Death of Me, Chapter 6: The Intimidation Game

Meagan’s entrance song — the song that played whenever she entered the ring — was “Die Tonight,” a Country Rap song by Adam Calhoun and Ryan Upchurch. The song played during the first repeat of the chorus and right before the second verse, and then continued to play until she was in the ring and in her corner. She liked the song for it’s second verse, most especially the beginning of it:

“You can get it, Imma fight ’til the death of me

I ain’t never been known to run from an enemy…”

Walking her path to the ring, Meagan became focused on the song and those lyrics as well as the lyrics she had been listening to just minutes before. She blocked out the noise from the crowd and all of the screaming fans leaning over the rails trying to touch her. She ignored being pushed one or two times by fans clumsily bumping into the body guards, who were so close to Meagan it was impossible not to run into her. She ignored the flashing lights of all different colors. She ignored everything, putting her entire focus on the fight at hand.

Once approaching the ring, at the bottom of the steps which were placed for the two fighters to enter properly, Meagan obeyed the instructions of the referee that stood in front of her. She stood up straight and held her arms straight out from her sides. After doing the neccessary check-ups, the ref grabbed a small container of Vaseline, applied it to a gloved finger, and wiped the substance on the young fighter’s face. Lastly, he asked her to show him that she had a mouth guard in place, which she did, and then she was allowed to jog up the steps and into the ring.

Once inside, she did a lap of sideways slides around the ring to warm up. Then she quickly practiced some jabs, hooks, and elbow swings before stretching her arms a bit and then bouncing in place. This is all of what Meagan would do to prepare for a professional fight.

When her opponent entered the ring, it was to a screamo song Meagan didn’t recognize. Melody Santorum was considered a bad fighter; Not bad in the sense of terrible, but bad in the sense of potentially great. She’d have to be, to make it to a championship light-heavyweight fight such as this. The winner of this fight would be great contenders for being drafted into the UFC. Her two most dangerous weapons were her speed and her “mean” right hand, as some may have called it. Her orange hair was held back in cornrows tonight, showing off freckles which were palpable against the pale skin on her face. Apparently, her style was to keep her eyes on her opponent at all times, Meagan noticed. From the time she entered the arena, to being gelled up, to entering and now jumping and punching in place in her corner, Melody kept her eyes locked on Meagan’s. Rather than be fazed by this, Meagan stared back.

Damien took notice. Glancing between the two women, he guided Meagan to sit on her chair in the corner. When she sat, Meagan’s attention went to Damien. He smiled, but his eyes were intense as hell. Veins stuck out of his neck like cords. “This girl ain’t got nothin’ on ya.” Meagan nodded. “She ain’t got nothin’ on ya,” Damien repeated.

“She’s just a ginger. You gonna let some ginger bitch take what’s yours?” Meagan shook her head and gritted her teeth. However derogatory it was to call someone a ginger, it was doing its trick. Damien always knew how to play off of Meagan’s anger — always simmering  inside, the monster in her waiting for the right time to come out and explode. But he also knew that she knew how to controll it, to channel it into doing what it took to win every fight. Hell, it had gotten her this far.

Don’t fix what isn’t broken, she told herself. Both her and Damien knew how mad she got when other females tried to stare her down, like she was some kind of weak-minded clown. In a way, it was actually funny. “Are you going to let her beat you and take what the hell is yours?” Damien continued. “No!” Meagan whispered in a raspy voice.

“Then put her down like the pound,” Damien told her. “Win this fight, and take home the buckle. Don’t nobody deserve this more than you. Don’t nobody deserve this more than you! I want you to say it.”

“Don’t nobody deserve this more than me,” Meagan said.

“I wanna hear you say it, Meagan!”

“Don’t nobody deserve this more than me!” Meagan yelled to the rooftops. When she lowered her head back to normal equilibrium, she noticed Melody noticing her over Damien’s shoulder. From across the ring, Melody’s eyes narrowed, and a corner of her mouth lifted. Meagan’s entire body tensed. Suddenly, Damien forced Meagan’s eyes away. “Focus on me,” he demanded.

“When you go out there, all you’re gonna see is her face. I want you to remember what you’ve learned.

“Fuck the mind games. Fuck the facial expressions — Just toss them to the side.” He actually made hand movements to exemplify moving something over. “Wear her down, stay away from that right hand, and then go for the kill.” He listed off with his fingers as he spoke. “If you accomplish those three things, you got this. And hey, it may take a few rounds to tire her out. So be it! Take a few rounds. I’d rather you waste her precious time to where by the fourth or fifth round, she’s useless, than to have you try to be a hero and get  knocked out within the first two. Got it?”

Meagan nodded. “Yes, Pops.”

“Time’s up!” Called the official, now standing with Melody Santorum in the middle of the ring. Damien held his hand out to Meagan, who took it in a brotherly grip and allowed her adopted father to full her up in a standing position. Still holding her hand, Damien gave her a quick hug. “I love you. No matter what happens, know that.”

As Meagan approached her opponent, she repeated her first two tasks in her head. Wear her down, stay away from that right hand… Wear her down, stay away from the right hand… We must focus on that first step even when the top of the staircase cannot be seen. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated something to that effect. Except in Meagan’s case, she could see the top very clearly — smell it, even — and there was just one person standing in the way of getting there.

As the ref recited the instructions of the fight — to be clean and fair, etc, etc.. — Melody and Meagan got as close as they could get to one another, and appeared to be in a staring contest. When it was time to touch gloves, Meagan held hers out and waited, never leaving Melody’s eyes. Melody never moved her gloves up. “I’m gonna kick your ass back to Chicago, blood!” And then she shoved Meagan back. The ref got between them and ordered Melody impatently to watch herself before she was disqualified.

So it’s a mind game you want, after all, Meagan thought. Almost smiling.  she came up with a plan.