Former UFC welterweight prospect Dalby spills on struggles with depression

MMA can be a brutal sport.

It’s a game of mountainous highs and chasmal lows, of unpredictable ups and downs, of clashing expectations and realities, and sometimes, its pressures can crack even the most iron-willed competitors. In a recent post to Instagram, UFC welterweight veteran Nicolas Dalby shared his story of being broken by the sport, and of his journey back from the brink.

“Fighting. It’s something we all do,” Denmark’s Dalby said in his post. “We fight bullies at school. We fight to earn a living. We fight through sickness(mental & physical). We fight our inner daemons. We fight with our significant others, friends and family. We fight for the rights we believe in. We all fight our own fights, small and big ones. Every single day!”

“For me, one of my biggest fights are coming up, literally and figuratively. Literally because I have committed to step foot in a cage to fight again after 1½ years away from the sport, after something that ended in me suffering 2 defeats in a row, the first ones in over 10 years of competitive fighting. But also figuratively. Figuratively because I have been battling a deep depression which resulted in alcoholism, apathy and hurtful behaviour towards the people I hold the dearest. Experiencing all of that and putting it behind me has been a very bumpy detour away from and back to the main-road that leads in the right direction. How do you come back after a downfall like that? Can you imagine the self-doubt? Can my body still handle a gruelling fight camp? Is my mind strong enough to handle the sessions where nothing is working, doubt sneaks in and the lingering injuries that undoubtedly lie ahead play with your head? Am I strong enough physically & mentally to not just take the fight but to actually go in there and unleash the hell & fury I have in me when believe in myself and I’m running on all cylinders(plus nitro)? Those are the questions that will get answered before summer arrives. Maybe I’ll get a major injury in the lead up to the fight. Maybe things won’t “click” when I’m finally in the cage. Maybe I will lose the fight. But theres only one way to find out. And that’s by fucking doing it! And doing it 110%!

“This is a fight to determine my future. Now is the time to prove to myself, my girlfriend, my friends, my family & the rest of the world what I’m made of. That I am going to follow up to the promises I made myself. And that is the real fight. If I do that, do the very best I can. Then I will win the fight in the cage. And the fight for my life!”

The 33-year-old Nicolas Dalby, who is perhaps best known for fighting Darren Till to a draw back in October of 2015, lost his last two bouts in the Octagon, giving up decisions to Zak Cummings and Peter Sobotta. He’ll make his looming return to the cage with an overall record of 14-2-1.

This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 2/6/2018.