UFC retiree Mike Pyle's advice for young fighters: Be smart, and grow a mullet

13 March 2018

Say it’s an alternate universe, and Mike Pyle, a 22-year-old from Dresden, Tenn., is getting into MMA rather than getting out.

Where would he go to train? What would his style be? How would he fight his way to the top of the sport?

For starters, he’d have a lot more energy to figure it all out.

“I’ll take the 20-year-old testosterone,” Pyle (27-14-1 MMA, 10-9 UFC) said with a wry smile.

On the heels of a UFC 222 loss that ushered in his MMA retirement, the 42-year-old veteran was asked if he’d rather start training today than back in 1999.

Pyle didn’t even have to think about it. The range of training and opportunities available to a young fighter today doesn’t even compare to what he had back in the day.

“There are a lot different ways to approach things now than it was for me,” he told MMAjunkie Radio. “I really wasn’t making any money. Now, you can self-promote yourself by picking up your phone. There are so many better ways to market yourself and make money and make a career out of it, and the paychecks are better.

“So yeah, I would like to be in this era and come up with the toolage of some good coaches. I was self-taught, guys. I taught myself how to fight. I wasn’t even making any money. I was doing it because I loved the competition. I loved to go train and then pit myself against another person who’s trained, as well, and let’s see who wins.”

That’s a familiar story to many of the fighters who started out in the sport’s dark days. Back then, it wasn’t about million-dollar paychecks or Reebok sponsorship tiers. It was a bunch of guys in a sideshow atmosphere trying to find out for real who was the toughest guy around.

Pyle has no regrets about being one of those guys. He had a great run as MMA evolved into one of the most popular sports in the world. Of course, he would’ve liked to go out on a win. On the other hand, he added, “I lost the fight, but I didn’t lose the war.”

“I met a lot of great people,” he said. “I used to sit in your living room at your house and do this show back in the day. Now look how far everyone and everything has come, and I got to be a part of that.”

Now, Pyle’s life will be about enjoying the sport at a distance, training the next generation, and pursuing other activities that don’t involve regular concussions.

For fighters starting out today, he’s got some sage advice.

“Let’s get you into a good gym and get you the right coaches,” he said. “Let’s live that lifestyle of eating clean and constantly being ready to take a fight on short notice.

“Always being ready, because you have a short window in this game. I retired at 42, and not a lot of guys make it that far and at the level of competition I did.”

Oh, and also, if you want to make an impression with the fans, follow Pyle’s tried-and-true fashion tip.

“I would say most definitely grow a mullet,” he said.

For complete coverage of UFC 222, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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