Lyle Beerbohm is not your prototypical mixed martial artist. He has overcome many obstacles along the way to his current 13-0 professional record, including drug addiction and incarceration. The Spokane native recently took the time out of his busy schedule to open up and talk candidly to PROMMA.INFO about his past, present, and future.
PROMMA.INFO: Lyle, thanks for taking time out to talk with us. How are you?
Lyle Beerbohm: Good, thanks for having me.
PROMMA.INFO: For those that don’t know, could you let us know your background, where you’re from, train at, etc.
Lyle Beerbohm: Sure. I was born and raised in Spokane, Washington and went to Mead High School. I was a high school wrestler and ten years later I got into MMA. I’m working on opening my own gym and currently train at Sikjitsu as we speak. I have my own fight team, “Fancy Pants Fight Team”.
PROMMA.INFO: You are currently undefeated at 13-0, what do you see for yourself in the near future, as far as MMA is concerned?
Lyle Beerbohm: I am trying to work out a contract with Strikeforce, but currently that is up in the air. Hopefully we get that worked out, but I should be fighting soon, somewhere.
PROMMA.INFO: You seemingly breezed through your last couple of opponents, are you looking for a title shot, wherever you end up fighting?
Lyle Beerbohm: Yes, that is my goal. My only goal is to be the champ of one of the two big organizations in the United States. I want to be the champ, whether it’s for Strikeforce or the UFC. I want to fight a five round fight, that would be something else.
PROMMA.INFO: I got to see you fight Duane Ludwig at Strikeforce in June, your bulldog choke submission was impressive.
Lyle Beerbohm: Thanks. That is now my signature move, we call it the “Beer” Naked Choke.
PROMMA.INFO: Although you have more KO’s than submissions, do you still consider yourself more of a submission fighter?
Lyle Beerbohm: You know, wherever my opponent is weakest at, that’s where I bring the fight, so it depends. My submissions are getting really good, my TKO’s, my ground, my hands are getting good. But yeah, I like the ground, that’s for sure.
PROMA.INFO: Weight wise, where will you be at, 155?
Lyle Beerbohm: Out of my 23 fights [10 amateur, 13 pro], I’ve fought the majority at 170, but when it comes down to it, I will be a 155er.
PROMMA.INFO: So cutting weight isn’t too hard for you?
Lyle Beerbohm: On the day of my fight I will be 175, so I gain 20 lbs. back in a day. But it’s not too easy, that’s for sure. I’ve done it [cut weight] so many times I am used to it now. It’s no big deal.
PROMMA.INFO: Can you tell me when and/or how you got into MMA?
Lyle Beerbohm: I got locked up and went to Walla Walla state penitentiary and I was sitting there watching the Ultimate Fighter show. In high school I also watched the first UFC’s, one, two, and three, so I knew of it then. So, right out of high school, I started selling drugs, one thing led to another and I started using drugs and got addicted to meth, started shooting up meth. So in a six year period I racked up eight felony charges and ended up going to Walla Walla state penitentiary. While I was sitting in there, I saw the Ultimate Fighter reality show and thought, really, are you kidding me? These guys are making money and on TV? I thought it was a joke, I really had no idea, but I thought I could take ’em. So, right then and there, I made up my mind. I said, that’s what I want to do when I get out. So, the day I got out, my mom and dad came and got me and before I even went home, I told my mom and dad to stop by this MMA gym, and they did, here in Spokane. So, I went in and grappled with this 230 lb. guy and I fell in love right there. Eight days later I stepped in the cage for the first time and won my first amateur fight. Now, two and a half years later I’m sittin here 23-0 with one of the top five best records in the world and one of the top lightweights in the world.
PROMMA.INFO: How long were you incarcerated?
Lyle Beerbohm: A year and a day.
PROMMA.INFO: And since your release, you’ve been out of trouble and things are going well?
Lyle Beerbohm: Yeah, everythings good, everythings really good. I got my daughter back, my family back, all of my brothers and sisters back. You know, at one point they wanted to hurt me because of what I did to my family. Now I’ve got them all back so everything is going great, that’s for sure.
PROMMA.INFO: With that said, do you consider yourself or want to be considered a role model to other guys in similar situations in prison and/or on drugs?
Lyle Beerbohm: I am in the process of writing a book. It’s not going to be just for MMA people. Everybody knows somebody that has a drug addiction or that has been to prison. Whether it’s your brother, your mom, your dad, or your cousin, everybody knows somebody. So my book is going to reach out to everybody. So yeah, I want to be a role model. At that point in my life, I didnt’t care. I didn’t want to get off meth, or stop doing meth. I stayed away from people that wanted me off, if anybody didn’t want me doing meth, I wasn’t around them. What I’m trying to say is, you can change your life, no matter what, because I was as bad as you can get. I was at rock bottom and I switched my life around. So yeah, I consider myself a role model, definitely.
PROMMA.INFO: Have you always fought/been a fighter. Be it street fights or whatever?
Lyle Beerbohm: I wouldn’t say I picked fights at all, but when it came down to it, I could fight. When something went wrong, definitely. I’ve never lost a fight, be it in prison, on the streets, in the cage, or in a ring, I’ve never lost a fight. That’s one-on-one fights, Ive been jumped before and got the shit beat out of me. But when it comes down to it, yeah, I’m a natural fighter.
PROMMA.INFO: You mentioned earlier that you are a free agent now. Any talks with Arena Rumble, where you fought last?
Lyle Beerbohm: Actually, yes. Arena Rumble, they want me to fight on Nov. 28th. and that’s probably what I’m going to do. Obviously I’m not going to sign any deal with them, but I will fight on their card.
PROMMA.INFO: In MMA, where do you see yourself one year from now?
Lyle Beerbohm: I’ve only been doing this for two and a half years. So you give me one more year, with what I’ve learned already and learning how to train the way I need to train, I really see myself at the top. I see me in a year as one of the guys to beat, at the top.
PROMMA.INFO: As with most fighters, is your ultimate goal to fight in the UFC?
Lyle Beerbohm: You know, I’m trying to give Strikeforce a chance. I’m trying to work out a deal with them currently. I really want to fight for Strikeforce.
PROMMA.INFO: Aside from yourself, do you have a favorite fighter, someone you like to watch?
Lyle Beerbohm: You know, my favorite fighters, when it comes down to it, are my two main training partners. They’re in there day-in day-out with me. If I didn’t have those two guys, Cody McKenzie and Mike Hanks, I wouldn’t be where I am at today. Cody McKenzie is 8-0 is a pro with 8 finishes, and I also have Mike Hanks who is 4-1 as a pro, he just lost a bogus decision at Arena Rumble, a close fight. They’re both really talented kids, coming up in the ranks, and will both be really well known. Both are on Fancy Pants Fight Team.
PROMMA.INFO: Being a part of Fancy Pants Fight Team, do they have to wear fancy pants?
Lyle Beerbohm: (Laughs) No, I don’t think my mom would allow that.
PROMMA.INFO: Everyone wants to know, so I have to ask, where did the fancy pants come from?
Lyle Beerbohm: My mom is 70 years old and she loves to sew and my dad had just built her a new sewing room. We were transferring all of her material to the new sewing room. My mom has material from probably the 40’s. OK, maybe not the 40’s, but she is older. So, I’m moving all this material for her and I come across this old, crazy, probably 80’s spandex. Light green and purple crazy material. So I say, Mom, you’ve gotta make me a pair of fancy pants out of this. She says OK, yeah, and started laughing. A week later, I’m getting ready for my second fight, and she hadn’t made them. She was like, you really want a pair of these? I said yeah, make me a pair. So, she took some measurements and made them. My dad laughed at me and my mom was like oh geez. I saw them and loved em. Nobody thought I would wear them. So, a week later, at my fight, I get into the cage in my warm-ups. I take off my shirt then my warm-ups and the crowd went crazy. The guys were hooting and hollering, the women were whistling. Right from the get go, it was a good idea. So that’s how I got named Fancy Pants.
PROMMA.INFO: Any sponsors or anyone you would like to thank or add?
Lyle Beerbohm: I would like to thank Phil [Lanides], with Fight of Your Life. He helped me get this interview with you and I just want to thank him. I’m always looking for sponsors, always looking for help. You know, fighters, we barely make ends meet. So, if any sponsors would like to help out, they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
PROMMA.INFO: Anything else you want to add?
Lyle Beerbohm: You know, My mom’s getting older, so I’m kind of looking for a clothing sponsor that would be interested in making fancy pants. People have been emailing me and requesting them, so Ive been selling fancy pants. If I had a big company doing it, I know we could sell them.
PRO MMA would like to thank Phil Lanides, from Fight of Your Life, for setting up this interview. We would also like to thank Lyle Beerbohm for the interview and for being so open and honest.
By: Jeff Howard