Lyle BeerbohmEvery so often we come across someone with a pretty unique story about how they got into mixed martial arts. Lyle Beerbohm is one of people, and no, he didn’t come from the military like some of the other fighters we’ve talked about. He came straight from prison…literally.

Well, up through high school everything was going well, I was a student and I wrestled, and then after high school I just started running with a bad crowd, and pretty soon I was selling drugs. I tried meth for the first time when I was 20 years old, snorted it and smoked it for a few years, and then I started shooting it and I was doing that for about six years. Over that time, I racked up eight felony charges, and that’s how I ended up at Walla Walla State Penitentiary. I was raised by really good parents. I have two brothers and two sisters, and it’s a great family. But meth made me do some bad things. Fortunately, it sent me to prison and saved my life. That got me clean and got me to stop doing drugs.

And then one day I was sitting in prison watching The Ultimate Fighter reality show on TV. And I was like, “Are you kidding me? These guys are on TV making money for fighting? That’s what I want to do when I get out.”

So I wrote my dad a letter and told him, “I want to be a cage fighter when I get out,” and he was like, “Oh, no. Lyle must have gotten meth in prison.” He thought that was such a crazy idea. But when I got out, he picked me up from prison and he thought I looked pretty good, and I told him we had to stop at an MMA gym — right there on that drive home from prison. So we stopped at a gym, I told the trainer I wanted to be a cage fighter, and he gave me a chance with it and I did really well.

Eight days later I had my first amateur MMA fight and I won, and then in the next nine months I did 12 amateur fights and went 12-0. At that time I turned pro, and now I’m 9-0 as a pro, 12-0 as an amateur and I finished 20 of my 21 fights. And now I’m fighting Duane Ludwig on Friday.

Check that out, an example of the system actually working. More often than not we hear about released prisoners going straight back into whatever landed them in jail in the first place. Not Beerbohm, he went straight from prison to getting himself a job…sorta. Anyways, I say good for him. Everyone deserves a second chance, granted they didn’t kill or rape someone, and Lyle’s making the best of his.

Now, he can do what he did in jail—watch TV and fight—without worrying about getting shanked, plus he gets paid to do it. That’s a win in my book.

Image courtesy of Sherdog