Travis "The Terror" Clark is a tough guy. No doubt about it. You have to be to be a cage fighter.
However, he'll be the first to admit that he's also a "mama's boy."
Scheduled to fight Friday, June 22, on a Bellator card at Mountaineer Park in Chester, W.Va., "The Terror" pulled out of that fight with Kevin Zalac due to personal reasons.
"My mother is really sick," Clark said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning in between visits to Mount Carmel Hospital in Columbus. "For several months now, I've been dealing with several hardships in my life, including my mother being stricken with one serious health problem after another.
"It was very hard for me to make this decision," he added. "I was looking forward to getting in the cage again. I was training really hard. My body was in shape and my cardio was ready, but my mind wasn't there.
"My family has been there thick and thin for me in everything that I've ever done so I thought it was best for me to back out of the fight and step up to be the man I am supposed to be."
Clark said the timing of his decision was important.
"I didn't want to wait until the last minute and then something happen to my mother and I wouldn't be able to fight," he stressed. "This guy (Zalac) is a good friend of mine, and he was finally going to get his chance on the big stage. I wanted to make sure that he had enough time to find another opponent because he is a good guy and a tough guy."
The fight would have been Clark's first since he suffered his initial professional loss last month in Morgantown.
"I'm not retiring or anything like that," he noted. "I am taking this time to be with my family and support my mother during her time of need. I'm at the point in my career now where I must be focused 100 percent on my training, and I couldn't do that.
"When I do get back in the cage, I am going to go on a run," he continued. "I will be reeking of intensity and my heart will be totally into it."
I've got to know Travis quite well over the past couple of years. I commend him for his commitment to his family, especially his mother.
If you have never endured something like Travis is going through, you don't know what is all involved.
But, I do know one thing. Whenever Travis does get back in the cage, I wouldn't want to be his first opponent.
Best wishes to your mother, Travis. I hope everything ends well.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org