UFC fighter Darren ‘The Damage’ Elkins of Portage, Indiana, is a softy

It’s not all that funny, but Darren Elkins and I are laughing about the scar tissue on his face.

At this point it is what it is, and the damage will stop soon enough, but for now that’s how he handles the topic. It’s the same way Elkins handles his business in the UFC, one of the most respected fighters in the MMA’s biggest promotion, by doing it like this: Walking into the fray, laughing when he can, taking punishment and giving it out.

That’s who he’s been since he was a boy in the Region, working so hard to become an Indiana state wrestling champion that his high school coach at Portage, now the wrestling coach at Carmel, would look him in the eye and lovingly ask:

What’s wrong with you?

That’s what we’re discussing right now, Darren Elkins and me: what’s wrong with him. We start with the scar tissue, me asking a question that generates laughter from him, a short but infectious bark – more like a yip, like something from a small, feisty dog ​​– that has me giggling too.

But now Darren’s thinking about it.

“Well,” he says, “I’ve had 26 fights in the UFC, and maybe five never really had a stitch. This was one of them.”

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