(Pierson now (left) and in 2002 (right). The TPS would have been smart to put him undercover to infiltrate the Toronto sex trade.)
When UFC newcomer Sean Pierson stepped into the Octagon for his Fight of the Night worthy performance against Matt Riddle at UFC 124, I couldn’t help but wonder why he wasn’t sporting the familiar fur hat and glam rock glasses that had become synonymous with the "Pimp Daddy" persona he built while fighting in the UCC and TKO promotions here in Canada.
It turns out, Pierson has been trying to distance himself from his former image at the suggestion of his new employer, the Toronto Police Service.
Now it appears that Pierson dropping the nickname and persona wasn’t enough to appease the TPS brass.
According to a story in today’s Toronto Star, the department has decided to rescind an offer of employment they made him in October to begin work next Tuesday as an officer in training.
The department’s explanation for dropping Pierson is that the "Pimp Daddy" persona is not an image befitting of a police officer.
“In this case, it wasn’t what he was doing. It’s that you have a name that I think most people would agree is not appropriate for a police officer, " TPS spokesman Mark Pugash explains.
They added the disclaimer that the revocation of the offer of employment was "pending an investigation," but considering that they have been investigating and doing background checks on Pierson for the past year while he interviewed for the position with the department, that’s just a bureaucratic way of saying "indefinitely."
It’s lucky for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura that the states of California and Minnesota weren’t as diligent in their background checks or the former "homicidal barbarian" and "cross-dressing professional wrestler" may never have been appointed governors.
Pierson, who is married with children and has been with his wife for the better part of the last decade says the tongue-in-cheek name was bestowed upon him early in his MMA career by a promoter and he just went with along with it as a gimmick, but says in reality he is as far removed from the persona as he could possibly be.
“I’m the furthest thing from [a pimp].I tried to distance myself from that name the best that I could,” Pierson explains, noting that the slang nickname was jokingly used at the time in the same context as terms like "hustler" and "playa" and was meant to mean that he was a stud in the cage. “That picture [above] is seven or eight years old. That’s all over the Internet. To me it’s the way I used to dress for my fights. . . . I didn’t even think about it. I was a 23-year-old kid just out to have a good time. I didn’t mean any disrespect to anybody by doing that.”
(Video courtesy YouTube/ShootoFighter79)
According to Pudash, the department addressed the issue with Pierson a year ago, but yet they still hired him.
"We raised [our concerns about his] ‘Pimp Daddy’ [nickname] with him more than a year ago [in the early recruitment stages],” Pugash said. “Those concerns have not been addressed satisfactorily.”
So how else could he have "satisfactorily" addressed the issue other than dropping the monicker?
Nowhere during the UFC 124 broadcast of his fight was there reference made to Pierson being a manager of prostitutes.
I guess he should have tried to shut down the Internet and attempted to brainwash the scores of Canadians who had witnessed him in action to make them forget "Pimp Daddy" ever existed like the government did with the G20 debacle.
Pugash didn’t mention if the decision to let him go had anything to do with the added exposure that came with him being a last-minute addition to the UFC 124 card, but did say that the department felt that the time commitment required to train as a pro fighter could potentially interfere with his policing duties.
“It’s the concern that it requires a level of commitment that takes away from his ability to be a proper police officer,” said Pugash, noting Pierson would face similar scrutiny if he wanted to be an accountant or an electrician as a secondary job to being an officer.
Pierson, who notified the TPS that an investigation isn’t necessary as he has decided to chase his UFC dream for the time being and is hoping to be added to the planned UFC 131 card in Toronto in March says he holds no ill will towards the force and that he plans on re-applying in a few years when his MMA career is over.
Here’s a statement the fighter formerly known as "Pimp Daddy" made in reference to the situation on the UG on Wednesday:
I appreciate the support, the truth is that timing is the true problem. I was about to start a career at TPS, I also received an opportunity of a life time to compete in the UFC which came up last minute and and out of no where. Starting 2 careers at the same time would be very difficult considering the importance of the careers at hand. I have chosen to continuing competing in the UFC, I wasn’t forced one way or the other but rather realized the commitment for both would be too great. I also understand my opportunity to compete on a high level is not very large due to my age. Its not the safe choice but one that I am happy to make right now.
With that being said, I fully Respect and Appreciate the Toronto Police Force and can only pray and hope that maybe one day in the future when my MMA career is fully over I can serve my community in such a manner.