I’m writing this blog about Shawn, a couple of years after his passing, because I’ve decided to write a book called Colossal Concerns: Tales from the gym and other colossal adventures.
As I started to plan these epic tales of Mma wonderment for your consumption, I sorted through the filing cabinet in my brain (Which is full) and selected the best stories that will both amuse and interest you.
Whilst recalling various episodes during my career for the book I arrived at the part where I trained at Randy Couture’s gym, Xtreme Couture, in Las Vegas back in 2008.
As I was cataloguing these stories, I arrived at ones with Shawn. As I relived these events I was hit with a flood of guilt. Why hadn’t I done a blog about him sooner!?!
Now, please don’t mistake me here, me and Shawn weren’t best buddies or anything like that but I got to know him a little during my stay in Vegas as he had little choice but to see me every day!
When I was training at Xtreme Couture I didn’t know a soul, apart from Jay White, who had taken pity on me and let me stay at his home and invade his and his family’s space for ten weeks!
While I was at this strange new gym I was doing my best not to seem intimated or out of place while sharing mat space with legends like Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Heath Herring, Forrest Griffin, Grey Maynard, Tyson Griffin and Mike Pyle – to name drop a few. Not to mention the constant influx of the best fighters in the world that had casually ‘swung’ by.
I can’t tell you how invaluable it was to have a guy like Shawn Tompkins that, while not knowing me from Adam, took me under his wing and made me feel like part of his extended fight family.
When you experience something like this it really is comforting, especially as I didn’t know anyone there and was away from home, hence the guilt I expressed earlier about not having done this blog before.