By Lt. John Ojo, AA/PIO
Photos By Izzy Montes
California State Prison, Solano

As professional fighter George St-Pierre said, “If you fall down seven times, then you need to get up eight.” That quote has always inspired Craig Hamblin, but it now holds new meaning for him.

Hamblin, now a Correctional Sergeant, began his career with CDCR as a correctional officer working at CSP-Sacramento. In 2010, after rededicating himself to health and fitness, he successfully lost a significant amount of weight and committed himself to a new goal of winning a fight in the Battle of the Badges.

He shared his goal with the Battle of the Badges organization to take a steps toward completion of his goal and was ultimately contacted and asked to participate as a substitute fighter when a pre-scheduled fighter dropped out of the competition.

Hamblin accepted the challenge with less than a month to prepare. He battled in the ring but his lack of training and experience cost him the fight. Hamblin, undeterred, said he felt alive in the ring and wanted to continue fighting.

After transferring to CSP-Solano, Hamblin continued his goal and even traveled to Los Angeles, Fresno and Richmond as well as fighting all over Sacramento chasing his new-found passion. Success doesn’t always come easy.

“Let the dogs bark… the Lion is still the King of the Jungle” was another inspirational quote that kept Hamblin motivated.

Hamblin fought continuously; however, remained without a win in the ring. Some laughed and taunted his losing streak, yet he didn’t allow that to sway his focus.

“I never thought I would lose seven fights,” Hamblin said. “However, I had the support of my wife, who would go to every single fight with me and my three children who I wanted to show that hard work pays off.”

Hamblin admits the losses were tough. He stayed motivated by reading different books and studying successful fighters like John “Bone” Jones.

Hamblin learned that Jones had an extremely rough start (six wins to 26 losses), and became one of the best fighters within the UFC, and is currently undefeated.

You only fail when you quit.

Although Hamblin hadn’t won a fight, he decided to climb back in the ring. This time it would not only be his wife by his side, but also his only son. Hamblin got into shape, and trained consistently in preparation for the day’s events.

On June 30, 2018, the stage was set, and Associate Warden Nathan Justin of CSP-Solano sang the National Anthem. Hamblin was ready for battle.

He’d be facing a worthy opponent, but he was determined. The fight was a heavy weight bout that went round for round, and ended in the judge’s decision. Persistence paid off as this time Hamblin was declared the victor. His family, friends and coworkers cheered while witnessing him complete a goal that seemed unattainable.