March 28, 2013
Fighting Through: Sean Salmon
By Josh Bunch

“I’m qualifying for Regionals next year for sure. Then, I’ll make these guys earn their spot (to the Games).”

Photos courtesy of Holly Mikolajewski

Sean Salmon has been kicked, punched and beaten down, but he keeps coming back. As a mixed martial artist, he holds a professional record of 22 wins and 19 losses.

Two months ago, he joined No Mercy CrossFit. A few weeks later, he signed up for the Open. Despite his minimal CrossFit experience, he’s holding his own. After three weeks, he’s in 647th place in the Central East with 150 reps on 13.1, 281 reps on 13.2 and 240 reps on 13.3.

He knows this isn’t his year, but he’s already looking forward to next year. In 2014, he’s determined to fight his way to the Central East Regional.

“I’m qualifying for Regionals next year for sure,” he says. “Then, I’ll make these guys earn their spot (to the Games).”

In 2012, Salmon’s friend took him to the Columbus Convention Center for the Central East Regional. Over the loudspeaker, Salmon heard a familiar name: Joe DeGain.

“I competed (in wrestling) with Joe DeGain in high school, and I heard them say his name,” Salmon says.

“If (DeGain) could do it, I could do it.”

He left the Central East Regional determined to start CrossFit. At first, he incorporated CrossFit-style workouts into his training for upcoming fights. It wasn’t until he moved to Piqua, Ohio, that he committed to an affiliate.

The Open, he says, has helped him understand CrossFit as a sport.

“I thought it was just about trying to be good at exercising,” he says. “But there’s a strategy involved, just like fighting.”

To prepare for 2014, he’s learning the basics of CrossFit, and not letting go of his tactics from fighting.

To prepare for fights and CrossFit competition, he varies the intensity and scope of his workouts. Sometimes he works on skill and other times he works on his work capacity. Either way, it’s about getting better in the long run.

“Just because success isn’t immediate, doesn’t mean it’s not inevitable,” he says.

Secondly, he stays close to his training partners.

“The two sports seem to be surrounded by great people,” he says. “Everyone feels like your best friend.”

However, just because he and his competitors are friends, doesn't mean they're soft. Just like fighting, he makes CrossFit just a little personal, he says. That way, he becomes the best kind of right hook, the one you never see coming.

“I wanna make those top guys sweat.”