After beginning his mixed martial arts career with a stellar record of 16 wins to no losses, Lyle Beerbohm suffered his first defeat at the hands of Pat Healy at Strikeforce Challengers 14 this past February in Cedar Park, Texas.
Beerbohm, a lightweight out of Spokane, Washington, will go from losing to the embattled Healy straight into an April 9 main card match-up against submission specialist Shinya Aoki.
The 32 year-old veteran has lived one hell of a life, in which he's battled drug addiction and spent time in the big house, culminating in an upcoming documentary about his life.
In the latest edition of "Fans Interview Fighters," we caught up with "Fancy Pants" about all that and more, including where he sees his career going, how the UFC buyout of Strikeforce will affect him and his upcoming fight against the previously mentioned Aoki.
Check it out:
Healy and Aoki :
Scarnon (Fan) - Coming off your first loss against Pat Healy, where do you feel he took that fight in the eyes of the judges and what was the main gameplan going into the fight?
Lyle Beerbohm: I think I did enough to win the fight. He got me in 2 submission attempts but my style is I put myself in submission attempts so I can get on top. That's just my game plan so I controlled 12 minutes of a 15 minute fight and the judges gave it to him but that's my fault for letting it go to the judges. When I get a rematch ... I want the rematch but that's the past. My gameplan was just to go in there and push the pace just like I always do. I get in people's face and I push the pace. I put them against the cage and I wear them down and wear them out...that's pretty much what I did.
G–Rated (Fan) - What are your thoughts on your next fight with Aoki? How do you see it playing against someone so good on the ground?
Lyle Beerbohm: I think it's a good match up. He is a submission guy and I got pretty good submission defense. He is probably one of the best submission guys in the lightweight division. He's really good but I think it's a good match-up for me, I really do. He usually fights in Japan and in the ring and he has to come over here and fight me in my home in the U.S.A. and he has to fight me in the cage...I think it's a good match up. I'm really looking forward to it. I brought a black belt in, his name is Mitch and he's really been helping me and I got some good guys helping me for this training camp. I'm ready to go. Come the 9th I don't know how the fight's gonna go, I don't know whats going to happen, but I know at the end of the fight ... I know they're gonna raise my hand, that's all I know.
Ulf Murphy (Fan) - Shinya Aoki has been known to complete his joint lock submissions to the point of physical damage to his opponent. What are your thoughts on not tapping when in an obvious fight ending submission hold and your thoughts on forcing a submission to the point of physical injury?
Lyle Beerbohm: I don't know alot about Aoki doing that but if a guy doesn't tap then break it off. If I'm not gonna tap then he can go ahead and take my arm back to Japan. I don't blame him for breaking anything that's a part of the game. Sometimes you can get out of it instead of tapping early and sometimes you can wiggle and get out of it, you just never know. If it happens, it happens. I don't know if he does it on purpose. Maybe he did it on purpose with that one guy over in Japan when he broke his arm but I think they had beef outside the cage and all that.
On his drug addiction and prison time :
Thorazine (Fan) - I read you wrestled at a young age and at the pinnacle of your senior wrestling season you were undefeated and beat the eventual state champion but then became ineligible before the state meet. How did that psychologically impact you? Did the drug addiction begin afterward?
Lyle Beerbohm: I was definitely disappointed and since I did not have the GPA they did not let me wrestle and I dropped out of high school right then and there. And I started running with a bad crowd. I needed to make money, I started selling drugs, one thing led to another... I started doing drugs and that was a big pinnacle that started me down the wrong road. I really, truly believe that.
Scarnon (Fan) - My brother had a long standing addiction to meth for up to eight years. it wasn’t until his life was threatened and he is now in jail that he hit his "rock bottom". He is now on the other side of an addiction. Can you recall the moment you hit "rock bottom" and needed to pull out of it? Was the change family, societal, or personally influenced?
Lyle Beerbohm: I was doing anything I could do on the streets - I sold my soul to get that drug. I hit rock bottom pretty hard but then I got sent to prison. While I was in prison I watched the Ultimate Fighter show. I was like, 'hey these guys are on tv fighting and making money.' And that's when I knew that's what I was going to do. And so I traded my meth addiction for my MMA addiction. Prison got me clean, it got my head back on my shoulders, it got me able to think, it got that drug out of my system. If I did not got to prison - 90-percent chance I would be dead right now. I truly believe that.
Thorazine (Fan) - Not to bring back bad memories but it is an amazing part of your life and survival, it was written that you came out on top in 3 fights in the "Pen," how did those fights start and what was your reputation afterward? Did you use your wrestling?
Lyle Beerbohm: In prison it's pretty scary. You don't know what's going on, you don't who you are dealing with, you don't know whose side you are on, you don't know anything like that so ... I was in a bathroom in a stall and all of a sudden there was a bunch of commotion behind me and I saw this 270-pound, 6'4" big black guy- and there was this little white guy. He was beating the shit outta him. One thing you don't do and that's break up fights in prison. I didn't know that. Especially between races. You know, white and blacks and Mexicans and...you just don't do that. I just got in, I didnt know no better. The black guy was stomping him so I went up to him and tapped him on the shoulder like 'this guy has had enough.' And that guy turned on me in a split second and I thought to myself, 'what the fuck did I just do?' He came at me and that was one of the scariest times I had in prison. I did what I did. I put him on his back and I did not let him up. Experiences like that, you live and learn. Another fight was about a mattress. And you don't want to be weak in prison. If you are weak then stuff happens to you. A guy wanted my mattress and I wasn't going to give it up. Let's just say I kept my mattress, lets put it that way.
On MMA fans and his business relationship with Strikeforce :
Onemansyn (Fan) - Being that your addiction is pretty common knowledge among MMA fans, how do you believe the reaction has been to you as an MMA fighter, ie: do you get support from fans because you’ve turned around your life or do you feel judged by some fans because of your past? Do you think its effected the amount of fans you get?
Lyle Beerbohm: I think I get more fans just the simple fact is because I am straight up, down to earth...you know a lot of guys have had problems and...I am just a normal guy. Well, not really normal (laughing on the phone) but...guys like to hear a comeback story and stuff like that. I put my phone number on the internet, some people text me and ask is this really "Fancy Pants?" I'm like, hell yeah. We'll start talking and I have a number of fans that text me and I text them back every once in awhile and it's pretty fun. I think I have a pretty good group of fans going. They truly support me, they really do, even though I lost to Healy. Most of the people still supported me, it was good, it was great. I love the MMA fans and I love my fans. I've got a website going on: lylebeerbohm.com. If you go to it and sign up, it's just being done. I give away free t-shirts and I am going to give away a pair of Strikeforce gloves. I just try to give back.
Ulf Murphy (Fan) - What would you say to the people that believe that your "feel-good story" is better than your fighting skills in terms of marketability? Do you feel you story has influenced in any way how Strikeforce has booked your fights and handled your time with them?
Lyle Beerbohm: I think just the way I fight. I just go in there and say ok I am going to fight Ribiero, I don't give a shit about his ground, we're going to the ground. Or I'm gonna fight Duane Ludwig and kick him in the head. I just go in there and scrap and see how it goes. I was young and dumb and put my foot in my mouth about dealing with Strikeforce cause I got in a fight with them and it was my fault. But now I don't know if they use my story. I think they just use my fighting style. I think with Aoki they are like well, 'Fancy Pants, he likes to go to the ground and he's hard to submit. Aoki, he likes to go to the ground and so lets just see what happens.' I think they just use my fighting style, they don't go off my story a whole lot.
Thorazine (Fan) - You openly posted a solicitation for an attorney on your website to get you out of your Strikeforce contract, it was speculated it was because the Shaolin/Beerbohm fight wasnt aired. About that time of the post Coker said he wanted the Ribeiro/Beerbohm winner to fight Josh Thompson. Could you elaborate about the open solicitation and your frustration at that point?
Lyle Beerbohm: I wanted a little bit more money, I needed more money really bad to take care of my family. I wanted more money, it wasn't happening so I said some bad things. It was my fault...yeah, the winner was supposed to fight Josh. I was banged up, it was a month later...I was banged up after my fight with Ribiero. I had the twisted arm and I couldn't train the way I needed to train to fight Josh and so I wasn't able to fight Josh.
On the UFC purchasing Strikeforce and his MMA future :
Jay (Fan) - Do you think you will have to leave your current camp now that you will hopefully be fighting in the UFC, or will things stay "business as usual?"
Lyle Beerbohm: I like my camp. My camp's good because if I need a guy, I bring him in. My family, my friends are all here so if I need somebody...if I need a couple guys I'll bring them in. I'll pay them and bring them in and house them and feed them. I'd rather do that then go somewhere. I got my little boy, my fiancee who's pregnant, I got my daughter and I don't wanna lose them.
Drew (Fan) How does the Zuffa acquisition of Strikeforce change MMA for the fighters? Do you agree with the thought that fighters have lost leverage when it comes time to negotiate? Some are saying that having the world’s best fighters all under one roof could increase the possibility of a union forming, would this be good or bad for the sport?
Lyle Beerbohm: I think it's good, the UFC is the pinnacle of MMA. UFC, they got the big shows, they do everything right. Strikeforce combining efforts with them, it's only good for the fighters in my opinion. UFC gives bonuses and they pay more. I'm not sure (about the concept of leverage). I don't know much about the unions. I'm not 100-percent (about) what's going on with that. Strikeforce has a ton of great fighters and UFC has a ton of great fighters. They both have great fighters. With them combining efforts and what not, it's just only good. Now we'll see who's the best out of each weight class and you get the two best divisions, Strikeforce and UFC together. Nothing better than that.
Thorazine (Fan) - There are some bigger 155-pounders than yourself and now that the UFC and Strikeforce have merged, do you see yourself at 145-pounds? If you could fight anyone in the 155-pound or 145-pound UFC division, other than the current champions, who would you like to fight?
Lyle Beerbohm: Strikeforce doesn't have a 145-pound class, that's what class I would like to fight at. I'm not quite sure as to what's gonna happen there. I know UFC has a 145-pound class but I'm happy with Strikeforce. I'm just a little bit smaller than the 155'ers. I would like to fight Pat Healy for sure.
On his upcoming documentary :
IrishKev (Fan) - What is the time line of your documentary that is coming out this summer? Does it follow you from one particular fight up to the Pat Healy bout or is the film more concentrated on your life in general and not a just fights in general? Do you feel this documentary has something that will cross over to all audiences, or is it mainly geared towards mma fans?
Lyle Beerbohm: All I know if you want to check it out it's at nosubmissionfilm.com and that's just a documentary about my trials and tribulations. I tell stories in that. I tell you true stories when I was high on meth, I needed money and I would go do things that I can't even think about now. I mean... I don't even have the balls to do 'em now and I can't even believe I did it. It's amazing what I used to do and I tell true stories. It's going to be a great documentary. And that's maybe coming out at the end of the summer. Natalie Wallace is the producer for the nosubmissionfilm.com. And I'm also in the "Fight Life" James Zeng documentary and so that will be good.
It's a little bit about my fights. They weren't able to make the Pat Healy fight. They are going to go to the Aoki fight. It's... I tell stories about my past and now my future and it shows where I used to go to the river and catch crawdads and spear fish...it caught me during the summer doing that. It shows about my life. It shows about my MMA fighting, about everything I do.
I think everybody knows somebody who did substances...somebody that smokes...I think it's gonna be mainstream. Like the parents of a kid that has an addiction problem will be like, 'look at this guy, he had the worst addiction a guy could have had with meth and he overcame it.' I hope it goes mainstream and I hope I can help kids and other people that had addictions and what not.
Shout-outs and contact information :
I want to thank my mom, my dad. My mom for making my Fancy Pants. I want to thank all my brothers and sisters. And I want to thank Iron Master - they've been there since the beginning for me and I want to thank Ironmaster.com. You guys can check me out on Facebook. You can check me out at lylebeerbohm.com. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. And I want to thank my training partners and everybody who helps me train.