Jerome “JD” Domengeaux

Jerome “JD” Domengeaux

I think back to the day I met JD at the weigh-ins for his fight, and boy could I not have been farther from the truth of my first impressions. His looks were so intimidating, with some very deep inset eyes, almost like he had eyeliner on, and a huge 40 tattoo stretched across his back. He was pacing around, waiting his turn to stare down his opponent, and I think I even told mom to stay out of his way if he came near.

Talk about misjudging someone, please insert a loud donkey sound (HEE-HAW, HEE-HAW) for media stupidity because my thinking was that of a complete jackass.  JD is probably one of the nicest people I have met in sports, he is a full supporter of the projects I do, and those eyes come from passion, conviction in his talent, determination, pride, and a strong family belief.

JD is the kind of person that you want as your friend, because he won’t let you down, and you would go into battle with anytime day or night. To be cliché, you are a better person for knowing him. He wears that 40 tattoo on his back in honor for his fallen cousin Eraste Autin, who was tragically taken from us in a pre-season workout for the Florida Gators Football Team before his freshman season. The 6-2, 255-pound Autin was a fullback from Lafayette, La., and had graduated St. Thomas More High School. He earned Prep All-America honors as a senior and rushed for nearly 700 yards with 12 TDs in 2000. He was rated among the nation’s top five fullback prospects for the 2001 signing class.

Born and raised In Lafayette, Louisiana, in  a rough place with not much for finances, but loaded with family love and support, JD told me that his days outside playing sports with his group would usually end up in tons of fights, and then a good handshake when it was over. Football, Track, and Basketball were his choices during his youth, and that carried over into High School.

He went to live with his cousin Eraste, who I mentioned a little earlier, for a little while, and this is where their bond solidified, as JD who was five years his younger, would go and attend those High School Football games of his beloved cousin. JD is a man who fights for a living, and has trained himself to be able to close off from outside distractions when need be, but I could hear in his voice what his cousin meant to him, and what it meant to have an older role model who was his own flesh and blood. I hope in some small way, that by having a chapter on JD, a young athlete will read his story, and maybe just walk a little taller, seeing that dreams do come true, from no matter circumstances you are born into, or raised with, when you put the effort in to do the work necessary to try and get there.

The entrance into MMA, came from a seminar, he and his brother attended of UFC veteran Tim Credeur in his hometown, and they immediately signed up to Tim’s Gym, and there is where the road began. We talked about the Gym being one thing, and then standing under the bright lights being another, and he advised a few things for some newer generation fighters.

  • Be careful not to get too caught up in all the media and social media hype.
  • End of the day, it’s just the prep work you’ve done that will be the determining factor.
  • It’s just a battle of you and that other person in there, and all the hype, and talking, and outside distractions mean nothing at that point.

We talked about the feeling of being gassed in a fight, with nothing left, and the ability to try and not hit panic mode. He says that it comes with experience, and really trying to keep a good poker face, so your opponent doesn’t really know how bad you are hurt or whatever, and that controlling your emotions of being under the lights, hearing your name on a walkout, and dealing with a possible and most likely adrenaline dump, all comes with being in that position a few times, and having that situation presented to you in training, when you are exhausted, and your opponent feels fresher at that moment. I then reversed the question and asked about those times when you are the guy who feels good, has landed a big punch, or sees an opponent getting gassed out. How do you know they aren’t playing possum. Again the obvious answer is that it comes with the experience of having fights. You just know when you have hit an opponent, and you’ve done damage. The poker face routine can only last so long, and the body has its limits on what it can take and not take, no matter how tough you are physically and mentally, when you walked into the cage at the beginning of the night.

We discussed the balance of the ups and downs during a training camp, with those days you feel so good, you could train 5x, and then those days where you just want to say (………) this, and why am I doing it. He said that the grind of a camp with cutting weight, and dieting, eating foods you don’t want to eat, how you deal with relationships with friends and loved ones, can be extremely tough, but then on those bad days he tries to imagine himself in the cage, not having given his all to be prepared, and the following occurrences

  • Being embarrassed in front of friends and family
  • Money being taken out of his pocket by his opponent of either fight bonuses or future fights on a larger stage.
  • Physical damage being done that could possibly be of a permanent nature.

JD did want to point out to the new generation of athletes no matter what the sport is, that you need to stay humble, and leave your ego at the door. You can always learn something from another person, including the one that is brand new and has maybe only been around a short while in the sport. They might do something a different way than you are used to, and it might work, and be something you can apply.

He flashed back suddenly in our conversation to a great moment in his younger days, back in 8th grade when he played his first official organized football game, and it was so great because he was out there with his friends high-fiving between plays, just enjoying it all. I guess the fact that he had rushed for over two hundred yards, had two touchdowns, played on the defensive side as well at Defensive End, and had a few sacks, and a recovered fumble probably didn’t hurt either.

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