It’s not easy trying to make a name for yourself as a professional mixed martial artist—especially when you have a day job and are a father of four.
I found myself captivated by middleweight Chris “No Mercy” McNally who, incredibly, can juggle all of these responsibilities all while attempting to take his fight career to the next level. When he takes on former UFC top contender David “the Crow” Loiseau this coming Saturday at CES MMA “Real Pain”, McNally knows he can’t let this big opportunity slip away.
“I’ve definitely focused a whole lot on my cardio,” McNally said in a phone interview this past Saturday. “I really focused a lot on that and on my wrestling.”
The former collegiate wrestler believes he’s the better grappler in this match-up and thinks that his skills on the ground are better than Loiseau’s.
“My takedowns, my takedown counters and my awareness on the ground will definitely be in my advantage,” McNally said.
But McNally isn’t just focusing on his strengths, however, as the South Carolina based middleweight has also enlisted the help of a new Muay Thai coach to work on his striking. Loiseau is a seasoned veteran and will have an advantage standing up so this is a great move by McNally in my opinion.
Outside of the cage, however, McNally has a radically different workload on his plate.
The 32-year-old father of four has to balance training with his day job, working in the material management division for the Boeing Company. Some fighters may dread having to spend their days working a “real” job, but McNally has the exact opposite mindset, finding the positives in having a stable and steady income.
“As a fighter, it’s really important to have a base of some kind of an income,” McNally said. “It’s very up and down. It’s a very dramatic industry because it is entertainment. You have to understand that, when it comes in, it might come in a whole bunch but then you might have to feed your family and you might starve for a while.”
McNally is realistic about his current situation as a fighter, realizing that having a day job is necessary in order to pay the bills and to provide for his family.
In order to stay motivated in such a tough sport, McNally has realized over the years that he can’t just fight for himself.
“I used to be driven strictly by the fact that I wanted to prove it to myself,” McNally, who grew up with a severe learning disability, said. “As I got older, I realized that the true power of something that pushes you beyond what you think you can do, it can’t just be about you.”
For McNally, that driving force can be summed up in one word—family.
“Every single time that I have a bill or my child or someone asks me for something and I don’t have the means to provide for them—that’s my fuel, that’s my fire,” McNally said. “It’s not about money. It’s like that movie Cinderella Man when he remembers his kids sitting in the bread lines. My thinking of it is, if I have the physical ability and the opportunity to give my family a better life, whatever means necessary, I am going to do that.”