Shannon Ross’ recent trip to America didn’t go far, but an early morning phone call from UFC president Dana White made all the pain and drama worthwhile.
Ross thought he was going to retire earlier this year, but he was given one last chance to make it to the UFC after his wife Beck admitted to sticking by him.
The Gold Coast mechanic is set for his biggest fight of the season against Dana White in Las Vegas as he prepares to embark on the chance of a lifetime.
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But the 33-year-old had to change his flight after his passport was lost in the post for four days.
It finally made it to Sin City, and Ross didn’t let a little stomach ache stop him as he entered the cage for a crucial fight against Brazilian Vinicius Salvador.
Ross was knocked down twice in the first round, but kept getting up, before one punch ended a very different second period – knocking the Australian out.
When he lost the fight, he won the honor of Dana White and was later offered a UFC contract.
But he didn’t find out until he was out of the accident application operation, when his manager got a call from Dana White at 4 a.m.
“When I had dinner with the team, I tried to reflect on the war and what happened and where it went wrong,” Ross said. foxsports.com.au.
“We went to bed very early that night; Apparently I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate or anything like that… I woke up the next morning and that’s where all the drama started with appendicitis.
“When I came out of surgery I had missed calls from my manager Danny Rubenstein from Ruby Sports. I quickly called him back to see if everything was fine and he told me that Dana and Mick had called him at 4am.
“They were trying to call him at four o’clock in the morning and then he got up and spoke to them and said they have to sign me.
“They thought my skills were up there with the best and they thought I could go and do a lot in the flyweight class. Then they heard about the surgery and thought, ‘If this guy is fighting appendicitis and he can fight like that, let’s weigh him.’
Once on the plane, he told himself that nothing would stop him from chasing his dreams, and the passport drama did a shift in Rose’s mind.
In the lead-up to the fight, the Australian started to feel “a good bit of pain” in his stomach, but initially put him on a low calorie intake during the week of the fight.
When he started to heat up on the day of the battle, he screamed when he was squeezed into the submission of the body triangle.
Called and focused during the fight, fueled by adrenaline, that night was a very different story.
“That night after the fight and the next day (the same) I got really sick and about seven o’clock I went down to eat with a group and I didn’t order any food because my stomach was really sick,” he said.
“Then (I) went back to the hotel and around 11 o’clock my strength and conditioning coach came down… He saw me, I was in bed, I had a cold and I was shivering, fever.
“Let’s get you to the hospital now, it’s getting out of control,” he called.
“There’s almost a short window for fighters as you can’t have forever, it’s a young man’s game and father time always wins.
“I was really thinking about (how) this is definitely the last chance.”
Ross is back in Australia and still recovering from surgery, although a wild few weeks hasn’t dampened his desire to succeed.
After years of sacrifice and determination, including a $20,000 gamble to achieve his goal, Ross said it was a “dream come true” to seal the deal.
“I’ve been working for this in the local Australian circuit for a long time and it’s all been sacrifices and losses up to this point.
“To come out of the fight and obviously not win and to think I didn’t have a contract and then to have surgery and then to come out of surgery and find out we got one.
“It was absolutely fantastic. It made everything worthwhile.
“(Mrs. Beck) has been together for 12 years, so it’s almost time for me to fight. She was there every step of the way, my biggest supporter,” he added.
She always pushed me when I needed a little extra motivation and always helped me stay focused on diet and nutrition and training and bigger goals.
“I can’t thank her enough because I’m not where I am now and I’m not the person I used to be. It would be a very, very different story without her.