‘The Crank’ gears up for MMA in 2012

Posted on Dec 14 2011
By Walter J. Sutherland

CNMI mixed martial arts practitioner Frank “The Crank” Camacho poses with second grade students of William S. Reyes Elementary School during his visit to last Friday. (Contributed Photo) Saipan’s Frank “The Crank” Camacho is back on island to spend the holidays with his family, but said he will still train twice a day as he has plans on returning to the octagon in 2012.

He arrived early last week after spending a week in Guam training with some fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students at the Purebred Gym.

The Purebred Gym is a satellite gym of Master Lloyd Irvin MMA, Camacho’s head trainer, which is headquartered in Maryland.

“I visited some friends and family in Guam and also got to toss with Ground Fu’s Jess “Spiderman” Taitano,” Camacho said in an interview on Friday.

Taitano has an upcoming bout in Japan.

Camacho added, “It’s great to be back. I have been training a lot-sometimes two or three times a day, running and cross-fit training with my longtime friend Jose Quan. I always look forward to coming back to the CNMI and I really want to thank everyone for all of their support.”

It is safe to say that Camacho is quite popular right now on Saipan as three different cars pulled over to greet him during the interview held along Beach Road in Garapan.

“That’s the best part about coming back, I really do appreciate the love and I take it all of it back with me. It’s what keeps me pushing forward, especially on bad days when I’m fighting injuries or during tough workouts when it feels like I’m clinging to my last breath,” he said.

Camacho had a humbling 2011, being eliminated in the quarterfinals in the BJJ World Championships in Long Beach California back in June.

He was submitted with a chokehold, but managed a Top 8 placing out of a field of about 130 competitors; he marks it as his first loss. He was also battling some minor injuries throughout the year, however none are considered serious or career ending.

“I was disappointed about losing that quarterfinals match, but all in all I look at 2011 as a good year for me. I learned a whole lot and right now I feel great and fully recovered from some nagging injuries. And most of all I got my hunger back to get back in the cage,” he said.

Needles to say, Camacho has returned his focus to MMA bouts in 2012. Nothing is confirmed, but he is expected to land a match at some point next year.

In addition to his training and quality time with his family, Camacho managed to visit William S. Reyes Elementary School last Friday to speak to a couple of classrooms about setting goals.

“The kids were just awesome. It was really an impromptu thing, but I think it went pretty well. My friend Pat Alepuyo recently finished his last day over there before being transferred and I went to his former fourth grade class and another group of second graders during my visit. I wanted to tell them not to be afraid to dream big. I also wanted to share with them some of my goals and encourage them to start with small short-term goals and build their way up to long-term aspirations. I also told them that actually writing them down physically and carrying them with them every day is a good way to turn the goals into reality,” he said.

Camacho also plans on visiting Hopwood Junior High School on Wednesday morning.

Camacho carries with him a military-style dog tag with five of his lifelong goals engraved on the face plate.

On the top of the list is to become an Ultimate Fighter Champion. Underneath that is to become a BJJ black belt, which he narrowly missed this past year.

The third goal says “three percent,” which is estimated to be the small group of people that do what it takes to actually make their dreams come true.

“Most people simply don’t do literally everything it takes to realize their dreams. Only 3 percent of MMA fighters will actually graduate to that elite champion level and I want to be in that 3 percent,” he explained.

Camacho’s fourth goal is the Fokai motto, which states: exhaust the body, proceed the mind, cultivate the spirit. Fokai is a Chamorro word that translates to persevere and also happens to be one of his favorite local apparel brands.

The fifth goal says “Marianas Family,” which stands for his immediate family and extends out to the entire CNMI.

“I always wanted to be a champion, and after that I want to return home and give back to my family and friends and even help others the community. Again, I can’t thank everyone enough for believing and supporting me. You have no idea how much it means to me,” he smiled.

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