(Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
If you’ve ever sat around and wondered whether your favorite MMA fighters would be total bad-asses in prison, or whether the lack of rules and weight classes would relegate them to being someone’s one true love, congratulations, you’re a total weirdo with too much time on your hands.
But if you’d like to hear about how prison fights and MMA bouts are different from someone who has experienced both, you should really check out MMA Fanhouse’s fascinating interview with undefeated Strikeforce fighter/former meth addict and convicted felon Lyle Beerbohm. He’s fighting Duane “Bang” Ludwig at Friday’s Strikeforce Challengers event after having discovered MMA while in prison:
“[O]ne day I was sitting in prison watching The Ultimate Fighter reality show on TV. And I was like, "Are you kidding me? These guys are on TV making money for fighting? That’s what I want to do when I get out."
So I wrote my dad a letter and told him, "I want to be a cage fighter when I get out," and he was like, "Oh, no. Lyle must have gotten meth in prison." He thought that was such a crazy idea. But when I got out he picked me up from prison and he thought I looked pretty good, and I told him we had to stop at an MMA gym — right there on that drive home from prison. So we stopped at a gym, I told the trainer I wanted to be a cage fighter, and he gave me a chance with it and I did really well.
Eight days later I had my first amateur MMA fight and I won, and then in the next nine months I did 12 amateur fights and went 12-0. At that time I turned pro, and now I’m 9-0 as a pro, 12-0 as an amateur and I finished 20 of my 21 fights. And now I’m fighting Duane Ludwig on Friday.”
That’s right, this dude couldn’t even wait until he got home from prison before beginning his MMA career. Those of you who have watched enough “Intervention” might be thinking that this is a classic addictive personality at work, and he’s simply switched his focus from drugs to MMA. That’s probably true, but so what? At least it’ll keep him out of jail, which is apparently not a fun place to throwdown:
Were there a lot of fights in prison?
Yeah. Of course, it’s a lot different — when you fight in prison, you’re fighting pretty much to live. It’s life or death. When you get in a fight in prison, it’s an experience that I wouldn’t want to put anybody through. A fight in prison is a very, very scary thing. You never know what’s going to happen, if the guy’s going to come back and shank you, if you’re going to get jumped. I got in a few fights in prison and I won all my fights, and then everybody knew not to mess with me, and I just hung by myself.
Well, I know who I’m rooting for this Friday night. The guy who people knew not to mess with in prison.