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Five MMA Fighters Who Beat Addiction

Addiction can make the toughest S.O.B. as powerless as this guy. While many MMA fighters have had their lives and careers derailed by drugs and alcohol, some were strong enough to find treatment and pull their lives out of the tailspin. Here’s our tribute to five of them…


Drug of choice: methamphetamines
Rock bottom moment: Wandering around the streets looking for a place to sleep after he had burned his bridges with everybody in his life. When he landed in the Washington State Penitentiary for 18 months for drug-related felonies after six years of shooting meth, nobody in his family came to visit him.
Recovery: While in the joint, Beerbohm began watching The Ultimate Fighter and became inspired to fight for a living; he’d already had to physically defend himself in prison a few times. “Fancy Pants” joined an MMA gym the day he got out, and won his first amateur fight eight days later. Beerbohm is currently 16-0 as a pro, and will take on Pat Healy in the main event of Strikeforce Challengers 14 next month.

Court McGee UFC photos morgue
Drug of choice: Alcohol, cocaine, heroin, meth, etc.
Rock bottom moment: McGee began abusing drugs after falling in with the wrong crowd after high school, and was once pronounced dead following a heroin overdose. In 2006, McGee had managed to stay sober for five months. In order to test his willpower, he took a trip to Las Vegas and decided to order just one drink. He woke up four days later in Iowa, not wearing any pants.
Recovery: McGee has been sober since April 16, 2006, two weeks after the Vegas/Iowa incident. He began training in MMA and rebuilding relationships with his family, which helped restore order to his life. “Crusher” came out of nowhere to win TUF 11 last June, and submitted Ryan Jensen in his follow-up fight at UFC 121.


Drug of choice: cocaine
Rock bottom moment: ”Ricco was driving with his girlfriend, high, when he slammed into an 18-wheeler then smashed into a wall. With his license already supended for a DUI, he dragged the body of his girlfriend — who he thought was dead — and put her in the driver’s seat. The cops came and fell for the switcheroo; the girlfriend, however, turned out to be alive.” Rodriguez’s drug problems also resulted in a six-month CSAC suspension in 2006, an arrest for a domestic squabble with the aforementioned girlfriend, and their son being taken away by child protective services. But seriously, that car accident thing takes the cake.
Recovery: Rodriguez’s stint on Celebrity Rehab was the beginning of a successful recovery and gradual career comeback. The former UFC heavyweight champ has won his last ten fights, is whittling down to light-heavyweight, and there are even rumors of him getting back into the UFC.


Drug of choice: heroin and alcohol
Rock bottom moment: Like Court McGee, Brown was clinically dead after a heroin overdose. As he said later, ”[Overdosing] was one of the best things to happen to me. When that happened it woke me up and I was like, ‘Man, I got to do something.’”
Recovery: Brown has been sober (dip doesn’t count) ever since. Watching a Wanderlei Silva fight on TV inspired “The Immortal” to try MMA for himself. He worked odd jobs to support his MMA training, which eventually paid off when he was selected as a TUF 7 castmember. Brown has lost his last three fights in the Octagon, but he’s getting one last chance against Matt Riddle at UFC on Versus 3 in March.


Drug of choice: prescription painkillers
Rock bottom moment: Irvin was suspended from the UFC for nine months after pissing hot for methadone and oxymorphone following his ugly loss to Anderson Silva in July 2008. ”I needed to get caught,” Irvin told the Canadian Press. “I needed to get in trouble for it and wake me up and get off of those things.” Irvin’s parents both struggled with addiction, but the Sandman claims he never touched a drug until he arrived in the UFC.
Recovery: It hasn’t been easy. Irvin has gone 1-3 in the cage since returning from his suspension. But he remains committed to his sobriety. ”If I have an injury bad enough where I have to take a narcotic, then I don’t compete,” Irvin said. “I’ll never put any of those things in my body the rest of my life, again.”

Honorable Mentions:

- Evan Tanner: Successfully went cold turkey off of an alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, he may have traded booze for gambling, and his attempt at a sober life was tragically cut short after less than a year.

- Aaron Brink: Was featured on an episode of Intervention, which showed him using meth and watching porn for up to 12 hours a day. Word is he got clean, although he hasn’t had much success in the cage since then aside from a kind-of-depressing win over Dan Quinn.

- Matt Horwich: Claims to be a recovering drug and alcohol addict — but come on, you can’t tell me that the dude isn’t constantly high.


Cagepotato Comments

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siksik6- January 19, 2011 at 11:04 am
Ricco has got to be the only dude on the planet whos body converts cocaine into saturated fat.
Sniffer-Piffits- January 19, 2011 at 8:49 am
I'm addicted to beating addicts.... How can I possibly quit with out beating myself? Beating myself??? That's a whole other addiction.
abenormal- January 19, 2011 at 8:03 am
Beerbohm VS McGee... Fancy Pants VS No Pants!

atoastymonster- January 19, 2011 at 6:47 am
Myklhoey, you seem pretty fucking retarded. Oh and nobody gives two shits about your addiction.
myklhoey- January 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm
a wise man by the name of c.s.lewis once said, "o he rote the hole narniea books, and many otha,
but he said
"a man with an experence, is neva at the mercy of a man with a argument"
your comment is ummm, how do you say this,FUKIN STUPID,
you eather hav no experence with addiction or no experence with victory, all you have is a argument. was a addict befor i was 11, for the last 8 years i have worked with diffent treatment centers from LA to tx to boston to KC,
and iv seen that thing get beat the fuk down pleanty of times
Mir please break Brocks neck- January 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm
Didnt Ricco have a burrito addiction when he was in that first photograph?
noizy- January 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm
Ricco Rodriguez's switcheroo... nice. You got to admit that's clever. We should all carry a dead body in the trunk in case we crash our cars drunk and.... hmmm, yea that's a little too much trouble. Might as well hail a cab.
rampageisgod- January 18, 2011 at 8:36 pm
You never really beat addiction. That being said, it's great that these fighters turned it around.
KarmaAteMyCat- January 18, 2011 at 7:40 pm
I liked this article.
Sudos KFC- January 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm
dude looking through that old school ricco post made me think of a couple things.

What the FUCK happened to olie and turd burglar? And after the heinous things I have said what could they possibly have said to get banned. lol Holy shit.
DARKHORSE06- January 18, 2011 at 6:29 pm
Overeem is addicted to fish sterilizers and horse meat.
Tai-Pan- January 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm
That first link is fucking hilarious.
fatbellyfrank- January 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm
props to all these guys, sorting your shit out and beating your own demons is the hardest fight most of us have.
Morningwood- January 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm
I held strong for a bit, but couldn't help but LOL at the video in the link. Good thing is when I die I will already have such a long list of bad things I've done. Whom ever the judge is won't even get to me laughing at that.
Shatski- January 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm
Fried Taco nailed it with that "fighters that beat Affliction" comment. I laughed pretty hard at that, but not as hard as I did at the video that first link goes to. I feel like I should feel bad for it, but it's so damn funny.
myklhoey- January 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm
im 32 and had my first drink at 9, it was a bottle of jonney walker. i smoked crack and shot dope before i was 15, did the prison and homless seen.
its a tuff life and not everyone in it wants to be, i giv mad credit to all those dudes and anyone else who over came addiction,
even if its food or gambling, wat eva,
im so happy when i hear of people who had nothin take destiney and twist the hell out of it and come out with a smile in life
Canadian Chronic- January 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm
@chef? word.

@RwR...too fuckin funny
DeepHalf- January 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm
I'm addicted to strippers and lap dances.
pinkyslayer- January 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm
congratulations dude, that is awesome.

ccman- January 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm
It may be.1300 miles but I would require heroin to stop in iowa for any reason.... and I damn well better wake up naked.
agentsmith- January 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm
From Vegas to Iowa... for the GoogleMaps-impaired, that's a blackout leap of no less than 4 states and at least 1300 miles. Hunter Thompson would be proud.
topdog- January 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm
@ RwilsonR BJ has a cure for that.....
RwilsonR- January 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm
Sadly, Jon Fitch's addiction to dry-humping seems incurable. He is even bribed with an extra $65,000-$75,000 per fight to stop, but he just can't help himself.
Fried Taco- January 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm
I thought I saw those Ricco pics used in a Coca-Cola campaign: this is Ricco on Coke, and now this is Ricco on Coke-Zero.
GILL-uh-TEEN- January 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm
@ccman ftw