Mark La Monica is the deputy sports editor for cross media at Newsday and writes about mixed martial
A T-shirt lay over the fence, its light gray fabric stained charcoal from the sweat of wind sprints on the treadmill during an early morning training session.
Another T-shirt also was draped over the fence, its black fabric darker than night from the energy expended at a late-morning jiu-jitsu session.
Still, Deividas Taurosevicius isn’t done.
The World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight from Copiague has one T-shirt left, and this one is drenched as he wears it during his striking session. All in a day’s work at Extreme Fitness in Farmingdale as Taurosevicius prepares for his fight against Javier Vazquez at WEC 43 in San Antonio Saturday.
For the 145-pound Taurosevicius, this fight cannot arrive fast enough. His last few fights have been canceled.
“It’s usually finding out a week before,” said Taurosevicius, 32. “A week, two weeks. You’re ready to go. You’re dieting, eating, everything. You’re supposed to explode and then, eh, no explosion.”
Taurosevicius (10-3) was on the undercard for the “Affliction: Trilogy” card in August when it was canceled a week before. Josh Barnett tested positive for steroids and no suitable opponent for Fedor Emelianenko could be found on short notice, thereby destroying the main event, ruining the card and collapsing the entire promotion.
His WEC debut on Sept. 2 was delayed until this weekend after main event fighter Ben Henderson was injured. And then his opponent changed on Sept. 21.
“It’s like putting yourself down,” said Taurosevicius, a former IFL fighter. “You have to pump yourself back again, get mentally ready, and go back to training again for another one. But four times is a little bit too much. You could overburn.”
Most fighters start training camp seven or eight weeks before a fight. The changes to Taurosevicius’ fight calendar created what essentially was a six-month training camp. The changes to Taurosevicius’ opponents rendered much of that camp useless since his original opponent Mark Hominick has a fighting style much different from Vazquez.
“Of course it affects you mentally because you’re preparing and preparing for nothing,” he said. “Oh well, what are you going to do?”
All he wants to do is fight. Could it be that rugby mentality?
Taurosevicius was considered the best rugby player in Lithuania before coming to the States in 2002 with the national team. He decided to stay in America, got hooked on MMA and moved to New Jersey to learn the sport. He later moved to Long Island to train with striking coaches. Now he has his own school, Taurus MMA.
“I was so excited to want to try it, after two weeks of the training, I asked my coach to give me a fight,” Taurosevicius said. “He said, ‘Are you crazy?’”
Taurosevicius got the fight. He lost a decision to Mike Acosta. But he got the taste he wanted. Seven years later, he’s still hungry.
>> How did Taurosevicius get started in MMA? Watch this video and find out.