Blog: R.I.P. Muhammad Ali & Kimbo Slice! Plus a Look at Enlarged Heart and How it Changed My Life

Muhammed-AliIt’s a tearful day in combat sports. We lost my biggest inspiration in the sport and life, in Muhammad Ali. He’s on the background of my website you’re looking at. He and the Malcolm X banner were the first things I put on this website like 5 years ago. Two of my biggest heroes and I actually got to witness him do some awesome philanthropy work. What an honor.

We also lost the back yard brawlin king that transitioned to professional boxing and mixed martial arts. I have seen some disturbing statements on social media. Knocking this man for his success. Sad to say professionals in MMA and fans alike are bashing Kimbo. Why? Because he wasn’t your run of the mill star? Say what you want about him in the ring or cage. He was indeed an icon. In part because of YouTube in it’s early days and social media as well. Mostly he was known for explosive KOs or being on the receiving end of a KO or finish. As a boxer he was successful. I always felt that was more his lane anyway. Sadly heart failure took him to the afterlife, and that may alarm some. How does an athlete die from an enlarged heart?


Athlete’s Heart
An enlarged heart is something I know all too well about and it is what is being pointed to as Kimbo’s cause of death. It is often called athletes heart. It is brought on by natural causes as well as additional stress on the heart. Your heart is a muscle just like your biceps, if you work it hard it will grow. Your heart however is very intricate in comparison as it regulates blood flow through your body and only has so much room to work in your chest. Without it we cease to exist whereas you could live without an arm. If your heart grows too much inside your chest cavity you will ultimately die.

I went through a similar issue in my left ventricle some years ago. It was not scary at the time as I was consumed with playing college ball. Everything I did was to be on that field. Until I failed my first physical however. I was so filled with anger and rage. “How dare this nurse fail me and send me to a cardiologist!? I’m fine!” I thought, the mind of a teenager who thought he was above his own health. I later found out this could have been a serious problem. I was diagnosed with muscular hypertrophy in my left ventricle and never saw the collegiate football field and that was that. What I did not know at the time was that a nurse with a puzzled look on her face after hearing my irregular heartbeat probably saved my life.

This was very apparent years later when Arkansas Razorback tight end, Garrett Uekman, died of what was believed to be cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart. One minute he was playing video games, the next he had passed away. “That could have been me,” I thought to myself one day with friends. I had long been removed from organized sports. So long I had forgotten that day my life took a major turn. One nurse’s bad feeling was the difference between me and Uekman, at least that’s how I perceived it. How many physicals had I passed? How many doctors had shrugged off my irregular heartbeat due to my heart murmur? How many times had I ignored odd feelings during hard workout sessions? Weird shortness of breath? How many times did I tempt the reaper? It really made me get on the ball with my health and by the grace of God I don’t have an enlarged ventricle anymore.


Normal Heart vs Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathic Heart (Enlarged). I couldn’t find a better picture but this should suffice

Shortly after the original diagnosis I lost a lot of weight, I stopped killing myself in the gym and I relaxed. Eventually my doctor told me at my yearly checkup that I was “As healthy as a horse,” and “You could play football again.” My response was um no I won’t do that haha. I felt I was too far removed from that sport but I was boxing again maybe I could do that seriously now. That was something else I had given up ever being able to do considering my heart. His response was “Well, I’d like to see you lose a little more weight but you’re healthy.” Lose more weight? Well dang doc, thanks? I remember thinking with a smile. I had already dropped 30 pounds back then. Looking back he was right another 40 pounds later I feel excellent. Better than I ever have in my life.

Sidenote, people are citing roids already as a cause of death to Kimbo. I remember when Kimbo couldn’t afford roids and he was still a beast so forgive me if I ignore that until I hear facts.

Just reflecting on life today and thought I’d share my experience with you all. It might help some kid some where. R.I.P. to our fallen legends



The poster I saw before football practice and boxing practice everyday.

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Coming Back Soon, Down 40lbs!

This is just to let you know. Smoove is still in full effect! I seem to get busy with life. Sorry about that! I have been training my ass off, LITERALLY! Hahahaha here’s a recent pic to show the results of that work! IMG_20160524_154605

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The Champ Is Here!

The realization of my potential is a difficult concept for me. Only because try as I might, with all the drive of my ancestors, who fought wild beasts to procure their dinner, who escaped wrongful persecution in 1800s, who til this day fight with the power to overcome, I fall short. 2nd place. Maybe I aim to high? Maybe I am a perfectionist? Maybe I’m not my potential. Maybe I’m not good enough.

Title WinTitle Stance

But today those doubts are shattered. Today I have realized, in part, that I am great. Even when not at the best I am a champion!!! 2015 National Title Champion!

My coach Kevin Lightburn always says “The whole world is against you, you can’t be against yourself champ.” Coach Anthony Tucker always tells me “Relax. Don’t get emotional. You get emotional, you start throwing crazy punches.”  This time I listened. This time those statements meant so much more to me before my fight. I was confident and nervous. The week had been a roller coaster both physically and mentally. It is truly a blessing to box and win. Thank you everyone who has supported me thus far.

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What is HiiiPower? Why Do I Live By It?

Let’s answer these questions backwards. The second question’s answer is shorter. I live by it because though I do not know it’s creator personally, I had the same mind set even before hearing or knowing who it’s creator was. So essentially Kendrick and I just really think a lot alike.

To answer the first question, HiiiPower was created by Kendrick Lamar, or at least named, not created by, by Mr. Lamar. To explain it I will post a comment on the youtube video I came across. Thomas Utromo is so eloquent and so raw, his comment sums it up better than I ever could:

When Kendrick wrote HiiiPower it was him trying to figure out who he was and where he came from. It’s deeper than what’s written in just the lyrics.

Hiii Power is a way of thinking with higher expectations, and achieving richness in body and mind. Essentially a quest for knowledge and wisdom of the body, mind and spirit

To gain HiiiPoWeR is to gain a greater understanding of yourself.

Hiiipower: the three i’s represent heart, honor and respect. That’s how we carry ourselves in the streets, and just in the world, period. Hiiipower, it basically is the simplest form of representing just being above all the madness, all the bullshit. No matter what the world is going through, you’re always going to keep your dignity and carry yourself with this manner that it don’t phase you. Whatever you think negative is in your life. Overcoming that and still having that self-respect.

HiiiPoWeR is a higher status of thinking. To be able to think outside the box and quit indulging in useless topics

HiiiPower means that we need to stand above all the bullshit that’s going on in the world, everything that everybody is feeding us, from the time we were born until now.

Because at the end of the day, everything that we were taught in school has always been a half truth, in the world, in general. Kendrick is trying to start his generation on a whole new stepping stone with a whole new set of truth and eventually we can all learn from each other.

Its known today that the human race is nothing; no morals, no standards. What we about to do is raise the level of expectations. No, you don’t have to have a lot of money, you don’t have to be rich, but you will be rich in mind and spirit. Some say its big as a crew, some say its big as a gang, HiiiPower, we stand for it as if it’s big as a religion.

Lesane Parish Crooks is 2Pac’s original name. My understanding is that HiiiPower is very similar to Thug Life, it is to push a movement even further than Thug Life went. This is more than rap.

As he speaks on racial problems, political issues and conspiracy theories, the song sounds like the start of something epic and man, it sounds good.
“So get up off that slave ship, build your own pyramids, write your own hieroglyphs” -Kendrick Lamar

This video has Kendrick in this old warehouse spitting as there are random flashbacks of revolutionary leaders, protesting, hate and struggle. I can say that I love these type of videos, there so raw and straight forward. At one point, there is a shot of Malcolm X on a donkey in front of The Pyramids as Kendrick was saying the above quote. That was probably my favorite part of the video. I thought it was funny when he says, “that was the biggest racist party…” and they show clips of Fox News.

“And everything on tv just a figment of imagination, i don’t want a plastic nation, dread that like a haitian” -Kendrick Lamar

Why is Kendrick Lamar pouring gasoline and lighting himself on fire in the video? After seeing that, I thought of the Vietnam Monk, Thich Quang Duc, who burned himself alive in 1963 to protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnam administration. An extremely heroic act by an individual. For this situation, it took a man burning himself to death for changes to be made. The message here from Kendrick Lamar and Thich Quang Duc is to stand for what you believe in, no matter the consequences.”

That is HiiPower.  R.I.P. Alori Joh.

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Wisdom teeth suuuuuuuuuck

I got my wisdom teeth pulled two weeks ago. Long story short I had some big ass teeth and it caused problems. Thank the Lord I am built to take it because these past two weeks have been filled with some pretty painful stuff. Recovery is going great though! I had a very special someone taking care of me. It made the painful days a tad bit easier to handle. My advice to you is to get those suckers out as soon as possible if you have them.

I’m out six weeks from competition and I have just now regained some life lol. No fights for six weeks😦. BUT i forgot to update yall on my January 3rd bout. I won via TKO!!! Started 2015 on an extremely high note. That puts me at four wins and two losses, (4-2, 2 KOs)! I have to get back to work. Until the next time guys and gals!

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Being Black in America At The Moment

Is mentally exhausting. Most often time you have no one to talk to about your problems. Why? Because we are all humans. Doesn’t matter who or what race you speak to. What gender for that matter. Ridicule comes from everyone. That is a a scary thought. Because I am after all under that skin a man. And boy is it hard for me to speak on my flaws.

On top of that I can’t complain. I can’t cry and sob over something like feelings. Did my mother cry when her son dreamed of college at a big university. Did my grandmother cry scrubbing floors for people who called her out of her name and paid her nothing close to what she was worth. Did her grandmother cry when she was a slave. So how dare I cry when faced with such trivial matters?

You see when I want to quit, those thoughts fly through my head. Those thoughts are almost like handcuffs. They are also a beacon in the night to a ship floating through the storms that plague the greatest of sailor. Even that is a conflict. Am I empowered? Or driven to cowardice. All in all…the only people I talk to about it are those with no response. Will the universe right this conflict? Maybe. Will I eventually solve my own puzzles? Those could be considered the same some would say. Will God touch my troubled heart and soul? It has certainly been a long time since I asked Him. I digress.

This half poem, half blog here started out as it is named. Though writing it, it became more of a vent. I wanted to change the title to being me in America, but I can’t. Because we aren’t there yet. I must title this as I feel. Until some kid out there doesn’t have to be plagued with the thoughts that I am. To you, reader, it may seem that this is a part of some fad. I am here to say it is not. Every time somebody calls me Carlton or tells me I speak well those above thoughts race back. But I shrug and explain why I don’t like them saying that. But the times when I am alone I am haunted by those same thoughts. I guess in writing this I am not really solving my issues. But it’s out there, and for some reason I feel a little better. Just my thoughts at 1AM. Even though I’m exhausted I keep it moving and keep on living. We all, after all, want equality and that is most certainly not a black thing.

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The Statement

It certainly is hard to keep up with this website lol. Sometimes I wish I had an assistant. But, then I would have another person to keep up with haha.

The Journey So Far

So I left you guys before we had gone to the Ringside World Championship in Kansas City, MO. We had a time for sure there. I learned many things at this tournament and became a much better fighter. I fought a rather large guy, coming in at six-foot-six-inches and 300 pounds. I was never hurt by this behemoth and he tired out around the second round. The work I had done all year and the excruciating, extreme training in the month preceding the tournament really paid off! Fat boy had abs for the first time in his life. Fat boy being me lol. The training made my fight seem like it was a Saturday on the couch watching football. I truly have the greatest coaches and trainers in existence. The World Ringside Championship was indeed a teacher of many subjects

Fire For your Butt

Fast forward to today. My second year of boxing competitively. The season has started and a statement has been made. StraightRight Boxing and Fitness is home to the best fighters in the state of Arkansas. We hold two Olympic competitors, one Junior Olympic Champion, and a plethora of other athletes that are out for metaphorical and actual blood. So why is it that we receive the shaft at events? We are quite possibly the best thing smokin out of Arkansas. A team full of hard working individuals that include an Emmy award winning producer, a financial adviser and a nutritionist. These are men who are not supposed to be successful. We are supposed to be punch drunk degenerates putting all of our eggs in the proverbial “all my hopes on my athleticism” basket of destiny and disappointment. Athleticism deteriorates. It goes away. You get old one day. We know this we are prepared for this. So why then do you take from these men the fruit of their labor? boxing 2 You may be confused reading this. You may be excited thinking, “What is Bernard rambling about?” The scene. November 1st, 2014, Ft. Smith Arkansas. Brannon Terry has just beaten his opponent within an inch of a knockout. That’s saying something for this 132 pound wrecking machine. He has faced this opponent before. Terry is in rare form landing every combo thrown while being sly enough not to take enough damage in return. He almost scores a knockout in the second round but the other fighter is resilient. The is a StraightRight victory in our first fight at our first event of the season, most assuredly.

“And the winner is…IN THE RED CORNER!”

“Hold on, what?” I said to Phil, one of my teammates. The crowd is in awe for a second but generally goes back to what they may been doing. Murmurs are heard here and there “Wow,” or “Really judges?” can be heard from strangers and familiar faces alike. Many people come up and express their discomfort with a fighter being robbed of a victory. Coach Lightburn is fed up, this has happened to his fighters one too many Continue reading

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