Always Know Who Walks Through Your Doors: Remember Eddie Constantine 2011
By Danny Acosta (January 2011, special to ProMMAnow.com)
How often do we open the doors to our worst fears? Is it worse to open them or not know what to do once we have? I opened the door to my worst fear on January 25, 2010, when I found my mentor, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach and friend Eddie Constantine decided to check out early. Exactly one year later, I’m finally gathering what to do once we have.
The fact is as painful and personal as this is for me to share, I’ll probably write one of these every year until I die Eddie impacted my life that much in a year that each one that passes after he left us will still be tied to him in an incredibly large way. I bust my ass to bring fans mixed martial arts content they will enjoy and one of my biggest fans was Eddie, which was, and is still is, incredibly humbling.
So much of what I know about MMA or learn about MMA relates to conversations I had with Eddie. And life too. We watched Renzo Gracie: Legacy and Mario Sperry: Day of Zen together: pivotal moments I will always remember as an MMA fan and friend of Eddie. Over a million people watched my videos on YouTube—some of which are featured on AOL—this year and I will never forget that Eddie encouraged me to involve myself on and behind the camera when I resisted. I still remind myself from time to time to open my video interviews for FIGHT! Magazine with “What it is? What it is?,” Eddie’s tagline.
Despite having to write this, I had a good day, and I know that’s what my friend would have wanted—and certainly would have ensured if he was still physically here. My wrecked car (I was recently in an accident but I’m fine) was being towed as I woke up this morning. Not the best way to start the day although shortly after I was asked to be on television as a fight analyst. As I looked down at my phone which delivered the news, I immediately thought it was a practical joke “Fast” Eddie was playing on me. Tow my car to give me bad news just to make the good news that much better. Eddie’s presence was felt today like every other day: bright and reassuring.
Eddie really lived like a martial artist. One of the most important lessons I learned from him is never to big time anybody. Eddie loved to listen to everybody and talk to everybody—in that order. He thrived on networking, hustling—connecting. Renzo Gracie, who awarded Eddie his purple belt, was incredibly saddened and gracious when I informed him of Eddie’s passing. While I was listening to the living legend, I couldn’t help but think how dead on Eddie’s impression of his instructor was. Even in the most serious moments, Eddie can make things fun and that was especially true when he taught me Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for free.
Everyone deserves a friend like Eddie. Eddie cherished the picture of Renzo presenting him his purple belt the same way I cherish the pictures I have with Eddie. Unfortunately, Eddie couldn’t defeat his demons. He was still a fighter though. I truly know that. And that’s why I know he’s finding or found peace now, probably by talking shop with Ryan Bennett, Evan Tanner, Helio Gracie, Charles “Mask” Lewis and countless others.
People will never know Eddie like they know those names. For a select few in MMA though, the name is just as synonymous with our beloved sport. A year after Eddie’s death, I am starting to realize that once we’ve passed through the doors of our worst fears, there is only love, passion and progress—everything we had when we started, and everything we will be eternally provided by those we have loved and lost.
Godspeed and party on.
Honoring Eddie's memory by giving back through martial arts is still the dream and an imminent reality.
Peace, love and understanding.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)