“Phil Brooks is not in his mid-thirties, he’s cruising rapidly into his late-thirties. He doesn’t have a documentable athletic background. Do I know that he has been in the gym with the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world for several years? Sure I do, but he’s never been in a competition. I don’t know of any sports he played in high school. He went straight from high school into the wrestling world so there’s no college background there. Brock Lesnar was an NCAA Division I champion, who was a champion in junior college, he was a bad ass wrestling in high school and he was wrestling since he was five years old. He was a competitive athlete so that’s a different jump to make… Phillip Brooks does not have that background. It makes it all the more improbable, which is exactly why he’s so driven to do it. Because he looks in the mirror and he sees not only a rebel and an uncompromising spokesman for the beliefs that are near and dear to him, but he sees someone that will defy conventional wisdom and pull off miracles if that’s what it takes because he has one shot in life and he wants to do something quite special with it… As for his mindset where he is in his journey, I think every moment he takes a breath is one moment closer to his debut. I think the only thing that he sees in his mind right now, 24/7 he is envisioning the moment they lock that Octagon and the referee says ‘fight.'”
Penick’s Analysis: It’s easy to think that, despite the intentions, he won’t wind up actually getting in the cage. There’s so much that goes into competing in this sport at a high level; in the short amount of time he’s spent actually training MMA – and taking into account his age, the injury setback, the lack of prior athletic experience, etc. – it’s easy to write off the endeavor as nothing more than a dream. He’s been putting in the work, and doing all the right things, but it’s entirely possible he hits a wall and doesn’t advance further from there. Of course, it’s also entirely possible that he heals up, makes the strides Duke Roufus wants to see from him, and then gets himself into the Octagon for at least one fight. There’s still a long path ahead before anything definitive happens, but we’ll find out within the year whether or not it actually happens.