You enter the cage alone. Whatever happens within, you and only you are responsible.
Athletes do have teams and coaches. But when the door closes you are alone. Your team can shout instructions, but you are the only one at war. You need to enter the fire alone.
To be a combat athlete, you need to mentally strong. Unlike other team sports that you can play every other day. You have many games in a season. You lose one, you can win another in a season.
However when you are fighting if you take punishment and you lose, you may have to wait several months before you are ready to fight again and avenge the defeat. I can only imagine the mental agony fighters would go through in the days and weeks following defeat.
You need to believe in yourself during these dark days and continue to put in the work. This is not easy. If you are mentally fragile, you will lose before you step into the cage.
You have no team member to share your loss. There is no one grieving with you. When you wake up the next day feeling sore, you are alone, you have to pull yourself back up and continue to fight.
You need to possess a certain kind of irrational confidence in your own abilities. You need to slay the darkness in your mind and knock out the doubts to come back stronger after defeat.
I have nothing but respect for these modern day gladiators for enduring whatever they have to just to entertain us.