It was March 2019 when mixed martial arts (MMA) Heavyweight prospect, Aaron Bush, was sitting inside his car with a loaded gun ready to pull the trigger to end his 26-year-old life. He weighed 350 pounds and gained 80 more from his once athletic Heavyweight frame. He was depressed, unmotivated, and flat-out hated himself.
“I went nuts. I had a full-on Tyson Fury-like episode where I gained a bunch of weight and had to lose it. I almost killed myself,” Bush told MMA Mania. “When you’re a fat slob like that, and you’re not the baddest dude walking ... that kind of messes with your head a little bit, you feel like a b—ch. I didn’t like that. So like, it just kind of spiraled, everything compounded on everything, you know, and got to the point where I was like, I can’t do this anymore. And man, I was in my car, loaded gun ready to pull the trigger.”
Thankfully, a random phone call from a friend was all that was needed to save Bush.
“It was my homie David that saved my life,” Bush said. “He shot me a call and was like, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘I’m about to kill myself.’ He’s like, ‘You know what, buddy, don’t do that. Maybe you should just come on over here.’”
It was that phone call that made Bush put the gun down and continue to live. Shortly after that dark night, Bush promised to give himself a chance again.
“I kind of made a deal with myself that like, alright, if you do everything right, and you get in really good shape, and you fight again, and you still want to kill yourself, then it’s probably just what you should do,” Bush said. “I know, that’s a weird, weird, morbid way to think about it. But I was so far gone that it is what made sense at the time. But it worked, and I’m here talking with you today.”
All of this misery stemmed from a loss to a former contestant on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Chandler Cole, in the main event of Valor Fights 51. Bush was undefeated and a highly touted Heavyweight prospect, suffering defeat via first-round stoppage.
“After I lost to Chandler Cole, especially the way I lost to Chandler Cole, because if you watched that fight, all the way up until I lost that fight, I was, in my opinion, busting his ass up,” Bush said. “So then, when I lose to somebody I thought I was better than and still think I’m better than, that was pretty disheartening.
“I kind of threw a temper tantrum, to be honest with you,” he continued. “It was just like mental weakness, and I threw a tantrum. I was like; ‘I’m never gonna do this again, this sport is stupid.’ After that fight, I gained a bunch of weight. And then, you know, the further I got away from fighting, the less happy I became.”
The 80 pounds that he gained was from gas station food and fast food every day.
“I‘ve always had an issue with food, to be honest with you,” Bush said. “Like, my whole family does. So when I decided I was done fighting. I just ate and ate and ate, and I wasn’t working out at all. I probably gained 70 to 80 pounds from August to December. So I put on weight substantially very quickly. And I’m talking about not good foods, either. I’m talking gas station honeybuns, large sodas, and fries. I was eating fast food two to three times a day. Like it was nothing for me to eat Taco Bell two to three times a day during that point. So, I gained all that weight. Obviously, I’m an athlete. I’ve been an athlete my whole life. So to look at myself like that, all I had to say was, ‘You fat slob, I hate you.’”
Three months after almost committing suicide, Bush got back in shape and found his passion again. He returned to action nearly two years later. A return could have come sooner, but the 2020 pandemic shut down the MMA regional scene. Nevertheless, after a four-year hiatus, the 30-year-old picked up another first-round victory in his comeback, submitting Kelvin Fitial with a rear-naked choke at B2 Fighting Series 157.
Bush was supposed to return to action five months later against top-prospect, Austin Green, in the main event of B2 Fighting Series 175 for the vacant Heavyweight championship, but he tore his groin.
After sustaining such an unfortunate injury and losing out on a title fight, his dark thoughts and suicidal tendencies did not return.
“You know, coming out of all that stuff, I feel like I just woke up from a weird dream. I look back on that time in my life and wonder, did that happen? It’s hard to even recall the memories from that period,” Bush said. “I feel like I woke up, and I can’t even imagine feeling like that again. Like, I can not even imagine going back to that place ever again. A lot of it has to do with, like, you know, just appreciating what I have. And not worrying so much about the things I don’t have and worrying about what I can control. I can appreciate coaching my kids. My son wants to win a state championship in wrestling. He won the NUWAY Nationals up in Lansing, Michigan. So like, I got a lot of enjoyment out of helping him and coaching a team of six-year-olds to keep the techniques and everything fresh in my mind. It definitely helped me stay positive and in high spirits about fighting again.”
Bush returns to action in the biggest fight of his career at LFA 160 on June 16, 2023, from inside Owensboro Sportscenter in Kentucky. He feels like with a win, he will get a call for a big promotion, something he feels is inevitable with a clear mind and a new passion.
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