BJPENN COM

Exclusive Interviews

Monday, 05/13/2013, 01:10 pm

EXCLUSIVE (Part 2) | Chris Lytle Talks Life Outside the UFC | BJPENN.COM RADIO

By Jake Chastain

| Last Wednesday night BJPenn.com Radio welcomed on a special guest in UFC veteran Chris “Lights-Out” Lytle. Chris, who is a long time fan favorite and an MMA godfather with 54 professional fights on his resume, decided to retire from the sport of mixed martial arts after his epic battle with Dan Hardy back in August of 2011. Lytle won that fight via guillotine choke improving his professional record to 31-18 while also claiming Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night bonuses for that fight. Since then Lytle has been dabbling in politics and has taken a much bigger role in his family life. However, Lytle has still been very active in MMA as a coach, trainer, mentor and a promoter in the small local circuits in Indianapolis. While visiting with our boys Pedro Carrasco and George Mathews at BJPenn.com Radio Lytle discussed his life outside of the UFC, his family, his training & health, and the continuing evolution of MMA across the globe. Here are some of the highlights from that interview:

On life outside of fighting:

“Well I got a couple things going on. I’m helping train some guys, getting people ready for fights. I’m actually putting on fights now. I have a fight getting ready to come on this Friday, actually. Just a local area, Midwest, I got the Midwest Fight Series that I’m helping out with and we have another good card coming up this Friday, like I said. It’ll be the third one we’ve put on. Nothing big right now but I think our last fight had about 1,380 people at it and we’re looking to get about 1,500 this time. We’ll be pretty happy with that. We’re just trying to build up the show and trying to give people from the Midwest an opportunity to fight to where they don’t have to be the guy brought in to lose to the big name guy. So we can try to promote some guys to where they can actually make it to the next level and maybe be in the UFC someday.”

On the Midwest regional circuit he’s helping run and promote:

“So far all three of our fights have been in the Indianapolis area. We’re gonna probably at some point move out to other areas but right now we’re just trying to develop a strong home base right here and get the name out there and let people know that we put on a good fight. You know, I’m a fighter first and foremost so I’m always looking at it as we’re making sure we’re giving fighters good opportunities and trying to take care of everybody.”

On the upcoming season of TUF with men and women competitors:

“That’s gonna be chaotic and crazy. It’s going to be a combination of The Ultimate Fighter with, I don’t know, Big Brother. Maybe, what are some of those other shows where they like, Hotel Love, I don’t know (laughs). Where people like go back and forth and dating this guy, and ‘that’s my boy,’ it’s gonna be chaos man. I think it’ll make for some good TV but, I mean, you never know what’s going to happen. Especially if you get a guy and you get a girl out after the first week, what are they going to do? They got nothing to do but hang out and party. Whew…that’s place is going to get crazy.”

On walking away from MMA before he had reached his full potential:

“That was the hard part. Well, even, a year ago, even, I still feel like I’m getting better. I go to the gym a couple of times a week now a sometimes I can go during the day when my kids are at school or just workout certain times when they have activities, you know, so I swing by the gym a couple times a week and I still feel like I’m actually getting better than I ever was. My knowledge is there and I haven’t slowed down quite as much physically. It’s not my fault, I’m almost 39 but I feel fantastic. I’m taking good care of myself so that makes it difficult, you know. But then again, that’s kind of the good point to me too because I don’t want…whenever I talk to my boxing coach he’s like, ‘man, you cannot wait to you see I have a problem because then it’s too late. Then you’re going to have a lot of bad problems,’ and he always told me ‘we’re not going to drive this car until the wheels fall off.’ And I knew what he meant, we’re not going to run my body into the ground and say, ok we’re done, and then I’m in bad shape for the rest of my life. So, no matter how much it pains me, you know, I still feel like if I put in an eight week camp I could go do a fight right now. I know I could. But once again, if I took eight weeks away from my kids and just said ‘I’ll be back in eight weeks,’ I would feel pretty guilty about that.”

On retirement and his focus on family over MMA:

“I mean, there was always a part of me that didn’t really want to retire. It was never the fact that I felt I needed to retire or I was tired of fighting…it was nothing like that. It was just I got to the point where right before the Ebersole fight I hurt my knee and after that fight I was able to take about a month off and do some rehab that I’ve never really done and I was able to spend some time at home. And I have four kids, so I was able to spend some time at home and just make some…I’m getting older and I’m realizing a lot of things. My kids have gotten a lot older since I’ve actually got to spend a lot of time with them. And I just realized a lot of things.”

“I still wish I could really fight and put the time in but I just don’t feel like I could do that to my family. I can’t leave them right now.”

“I feel like I did the right thing and it was unfortunate I had to quit fighting but I if I have the chance to choose between one of the two, I definitely did the right thing.”

On new landscape of the welterweight division since he’s retired:

“Well, I mean, it’s kind of something that I definitely saw coming for a while and predicted. You’re gonna get some tremendous athletes and some very good people who have just dedicated their lives to this. It’s a different level than it used to be, especially when I stared fighting in the ‘90s and even when I came back to the UFC in 2003, you know, you had people that were good at this or good at that and decent all around but now you’re just getting phenomenal athletes who are great at everything and well conditioned and it’s like any other professional sport so it’s a little bit different, it think it’s definitely added something to it. It’s pretty interesting to see the evolution of the sport since I started in it.”

On work and politics in his future:

“I am still working for the fire department. That’s something I started doing in 2001 and uh, I never wake up and be like, ‘man, I don’t want to go to work.’ It’s always fun going to work and it’s always a good time. It’s always good when you can help somebody or have some exciting runs.”

“As far of my political career, I learned a lot when I ran for State Senate this time. I’ve realized that I’m well known where I live but when it came to the political career in a primary, you know, the only people that vote in a primary are people who are 60,70, 80 years old…those people did not know me (laughs). And the ones who did, all they knew was he’s that fighter guy and, you know, they were doing all kinds of negative ads and stuff saying I beat my kids and all kinds of nonsense. If you’re some 80 year old person who doesn’t know better and you just hear that there is this young guy who might beat his kids you’re not going to vote for him. So, you know, it was a three man race and I ended up getting second but the good news was I went and talked to so many people, a lot of these older people who did vote and they voted for me. They liked what I had to say and they liked my message so, I definitely envision me running for something in the future. I’m not exactly sure when or what but I still don’t feel we have the right type of people who are making the decisions and we need a change or we’re going to have some problems in the future.”

You can follow Chris Lytle on Twitter @LytleForIndiana and to listen to BJPenn.com Radio’s entire interview with Mr. Lytle click here. 

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>