Justin Gaethje has experienced tragedies in his life that have prepared him for obstacles inside and outside the cage.
Gaethje (20-2) spoke to MMAmania.com and other media members ahead of UFC Fight Night 158, which takes place tomorrow night (Sat., Sept. 14, 2019) inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. He reflected on a fatal accident he witnessed less than two weeks before his fight with James Vick back in Aug. 2018.
“That was a tragic story,” he said. “Thirteen days before I fought James Vick I was going to practice and there was a [car] wreck. There was a car in front of me stopped. Thank God I moved to the side because I wasn’t going to stop. The big truck behind me hit him.
“The driver of the big truck, it crushed his chest and he was dead on impact,” Gaethje continued. “I pulled him out and gave him CPR. I had to do a bunch of interviews and I had to go fight James Vick. That was super tragic.”
This is not the first time Gaethje has had to cope with death, though.
“My best friend killed himself when I was in junior high school. I was the last one to see him,” he shared. “Things like that can prepare you for obstacles in life. You can’t let things tear you down. This becomes a mudslide. You can’t stop the negativity. I just really like to surround myself with positive people and positive thoughts. I listen to reggae because they never boast, it never talks s—t about anybody. It never talks about money. All they do is talk about having a positive attitude and a relationship with God. That’s a very simple life.”
Gaethje also touched on his role as a teacher to other fighters in the gym.
“I think I've always possessed that skill,” he said. “I went to school and got a Human Services degree. It was for social work. Social work is listening. You don’t talk, you don’t advise, you listen.”
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