(Photo courtesy of Sherdog)
By CagePotato contributor Matt Kaplan
2003: 46-year-old Eugene Pettis has separated himself from gang life and is working to keep his family away from the violence that he ultimately could not escape. On November 13, he is stabbed three times in the chest and killed at a friend’s house across the street from his Milwaukee home.
2004-5: Eugene’s murder remains unsolved. His son Anthony turns his back on years of martial arts training and spirals out of control: “I was a lost cause,” he remembers.
2006: Anthony works his way back to martial arts, taking a job as a tae kwon do instructor at his brother’s academy. He is captivated by MMA and rededicates himself to competitive fighting.
2007: Anthony begins training with kickboxing legend Duke Roufus in November and wins his amateur MMA debut in 24 seconds on January 27, his 20th birthday. He wins his pro debut on December 1 in 36 seconds.
2009: Two days into a January vacation in Cancun, Mexico, Roufus calls Anthony (6-0) with the news that he’s been signed to a five-fight deal with the WEC and is scheduled to make his debut at WEC 40 in April. Vacation’s over.
2010: Anthony (9-1) is one of the WEC’s top lightweights. He’s finished Mike Campbell, Alex Karalexis, and Danny Castillo, and a win over Team Takedown’s Shane Roller at WEC 50 on August 18 could bring a title shot. On a hot August afternoon, Anthony Pettis talks to CagePotato.com about fighting, family, and food. Showtime, playa.