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Wednesday June 26th 2019


What Fight Are You Fighting?

Post Published: 01 November 2010
Category: Guest Bloggers, Living with multiple cancers
This post currently has 14 responses. Leave a comment

What fight are you fighting?

  • Depression and constant struggle to find meaning in to your life?
  • Heartache from losing a lover or a loved one (whether it be through death or a falling apart)?
  • Sadness of living a life in fear or feeling incomplete yet unwilling to make the leap of faith to chase after a dream or vision?
  • Battling to find a pathway that seems hidden to the cancer survivor’s eye of piecing together the “old you” with who you’ve become today
  • Or the addiction to pornography, alcohol or drugs you struggle with day in and day out…


We are all contenders against our own adversaries of our personal fights in life, therefore making it impossible to judge or compare our fights’ scorecard and weight of it to another.

I had the opportunity of meeting Fighter Court “The Crusher” McGee, leading champion in the middleweight division of the UFC at a recent photo shoot I was doing for RIVEN Girls at The Academy where he spars and trains. Court McGee unknowingly presented me with the heartfelt gift of reflection, the reflection of myself I found in him.

Court McGee during the photo shoot was a man of few words but indirectly taught me one of the most valuable lessons in my life to date. I knew very little of this man that I somewhat claimed to know due to my recent invitation to join the RIVEN Girls that market the RIVEN Fight Team that he trains with. Here I am claiming to know someone based off of mere association and I haven’t even touched the surface. Court had probably his biggest fight to date this last Saturday with the UFC since winning The Ultimate Fighter reality show on TV, and he knew it. With the knowledge of what he needed to do and the desire to do it, Court spent the prior weeks leading up to the fight doing what every other professional fighter would have done. That being said he began by practicing, conditioning and strengthening himself. He trained countless hours with his support team to teach his mind and body to handle even the worst of all possible situations that he could encounter inside that awaiting ring. However, what the awaiting ring didn’t quite anticipate was coming, was the drive – the will – the heart that this particular fighter, Court McGee was going to bring into it on Sat Oct 23, 2010. The strength of a fighter who views submission as not even an option to consider [submission (def.): the act of submitting to the power of another; the state of being submissive or compliant, living in meekness; to surrender, yield or to give resignation]. It was the moment Court McGee took a stand for himself and only himself and became a True Fighter and inspiration for thousands nationally as he dedicated his win to everyone battling an addiction…

What is a True Fighter?

Well, ask Court since he broke his hand in the second round, suffered from the odds stacked against him from losing the first round to a more experienced, more “qualified” fighter and then stepped into the third round with a set intention and clear direction on what he needed to do to win.

Court “The Crusher” McGee won by courageously displaying his hunger for life and forcibly submitting his opponent to tap out in the third round. Onlookers were shocked as most had underestimated him as the lesser of the two in that ring that night.

Submission (def.) – the condition of having submitted to control by someone or something else.

We are all at choice…. Shit. It’s the one control we still have left.

The art of fighting is how you choose to get busy living!

The beauty in having choice to choose to govern your own navigation system to your own personal GPS of life  – Your direction of “what is” even when we are submitted to throwing our hands and our thyroids in the air and saying “it is what it is”…

“The Crusher” – fighting his own battle against drug addiction that almost claimed his life a few years back mirrored my own fight when he found within himself the wholeness with a broken hand to go on against the failure to himself to submit to the excuses of the fact that he was lacking the support of the crowd, he was lacking a virtual body part, he didn’t have as much experience etc. etc. and took a stand for himself, his life, his battle and said “I’m worth it and I have the direction to prove it to myself.”

Direction is the last bit of energy I barely have at times when its tap out or stand up and fight!

Direction is the peacefulness we as fighters and survivors feel when we embrace and take on the fear of the unknowing.

Direction is the internal knowing and power I possess to control the outcome of this fight, my fight!

Direction is and always has been my only control of throwing that knockout punch, submitting my cancer, my disease to tap out!

Direction is becoming a True Fighter!

So what is a True Fighter?! A True Fighter is Strong, Humble, Spirited, Intelligent, Honest, Authentic, and Seemingly Complicated at times, yet whole, even when missing a body part or two.

The wholeness I found as I lost body parts, more importantly as I lost my thyroid was The Wholeness of Self.

That’s all I really ever had or will have. I don’t need my thyroid to tell me that; if anything, losing my thyroid submitted me to the realization that it’s time to Stand Up or Tap Out. It’s time to start Playing to Win in Life rather than Playing Not to Lose.

I have no room for submission or even the possibility of it in my life. I have accepted, discovered, trained and am beginning to condition myself to embrace life as the new and surgically improved me. I know what I am fighting for now. I Am Worth It!

And there we have it – Court and countless others who have chosen to show up for themselves even when it looks more like someone dragged their tired, misunderstood, feelings of being lonely butts out of bed and tied them up to a sand rail before they choose to Stand Up and Fight, showed me my reflection of me – Ali Riding a Beautiful, Talented and Loving spit ball of fire young woman that it is time to tell cancer to fuck off and start living with or without it. I didn’t come all this way just to sit and bitch about a life I once had because frankly I was never living in the first place. I was living to not lose life itself.

I’m in round two of my boxing career right now. Round two looks so different from the first time in a few ways. One of which is honesty. Honesty with myself. Honesty with acceptance for sometimes it simply “is what it is”. Honestly, its not my job to make people understand the naiveté and misconception of having the “good cancer” – lets hear doctors and individuals say that after they experience it themselves; until then – “it might take balls to fight a fight but it takes a vagina to win one.”

“To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will.” -Sugar Ray Robinson

Ali Riding, 24 years old, overcoming her round one battle with a female “down south” cancer, only to find her voice after having her neck filleted open during her round two with thyroid cancer.

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14 Responses to “What Fight Are You Fighting?”

  1. Richard Riding says:

    You are always a champ in my book!! I am so proud of you, keep up the fight! I love your column you wrote. What a great comparison to the UFC fighter. I would hate to spend anytime in the ring against him or cancer…you both are Champions!
    Love you,

  2. Heather says:

    What a great piece! Gives me something to think about, as I am sure we have all been ready to tap out. Thank you for some great inspiration for all of us.

  3. Aimee says:

    Well Alli…you said all pretty well!!! We are all fighting for something…aren’t we? I know I am…you are very inspiring! Love you tons!

  4. john porter says:

    Thanks you for the great story that inspires us.

    Keep it up.

  5. what an inspiring person well done kid

  6. Amanda says:

    I just love this story. It makes me think, it made me cry a little, and mostly it just warmed my old heart. Good for you. Damn good for you. I love that “direction” part. What an excellent word for all of us thyroid patients. We can’t get anywhere without direction. I will remember that forever.

    It was my honor to read this. Thank you!


  7. Madison Riding says:

    What can I say….WOW!
    I loved every word in it. Ali I just want to let you know that I’m here for you, anytime, anywhere! I’m here for support. I’m going to help you get through this…will get through this TOGETHER! I LOVE you LOOONNNG Time!
    Love ya sis!
    Madison Riding

    • CaptainALi says:

      Mads – Thanks for being my biggest fan and Walter’s biggest Hater even when I drove you crazy, watched you give up fun times with friends to take care of me or you not actually going through with strangling me when I was being a “pain in your butt”! Your the BEST!!! I love you!

  8. Thank you, Ali, for sharing your story with us. You are amazing and I’m so proud of you. I can’t wait to read more. You’re such an inspiration!


  9. Ali,
    Thank you for such a courageous, authentic post. I will be sharing it with others. You are an inspiration and your notion of “Playing to Win in Life rather than Playing Not to Lose” is awesome! Go get ’em, Ali.

  10. CaptainALi says:

    WOW! Thank you everyone!Tto those of you I don’t know yet that took the time to leave and comment and share with me your feelings… Thank You

  11. Lolly says:

    Ali a true fighter with grit and determintion your a champ you’ll beat this and come out on top thank you for sharng this iwas awesome and BTW you’re beautiful.


  12. CaptainALi says:

    @Richard (Dad)… Your Powerful! I am so proud to be able to call you my dad. You always show up in life and I could not have asked for a better example of what a father figure – male figure – all-around good guy should be. You set the bar high and I love you for it.

    You Rock! (I love being able to brag that you left the first comment)

    I am so much apart of who I am today because of this example right here. You even when due to work commitments growing up, you never lost your receptiveness to your children and loved ones. I love you!

  13. Mom says:


    You are so amazingly strong and such an incredible writer. I was intrigued with emotion as I read your article. What a perfect comparison you made with everyone’s fight against cancer and the fight in the ring.

    Everyone has their battle’s some are made public and some are kept quite. With the realization of those battles come many hero’s. You are my hero and my lovely daughter, I could not be more proud than to be your mom. I ofter feel I stand in your shadow, you strengthen me and build me up. You are truly amazing and such a gifted writer and one hell of a fighter!

    Love always,

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