Lyle Beerbohm has arguably the most inspirational story in all of sports today. Before Beerbohm was ever a MMA fighter, he was a crystal meth junkie. Beerbohm had to serve 18 months of prison time in the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Washington. If you ask Beerbohm he will tell you that going to prison was the best thing that happened to him. While in prison, Beerbohm started watching the well known Spike TV show The Ultimate Fighter. After Beerbohm served his time, his dad picked him up and upon reaching his home town of Spokane, Beerbohm made his father stop by a local MMA gym. Beerbohm went inside and told the instructor, "Hi, I just got out of prison. I've never done it before, but I want to be a pro fighter." Since then, Beerbohm has compiled a 23-0 ametuer and pro record with 22 finishes. The nickname "Fancy Pants" comes from Beerbohm helping his mother moving some sewing equipment, he came across some colorful spandex material and liked it. He asked his mother if she would sew him a pair of shorts. His next fight he got a positive reaction from the crowd and he has been wearing the shorts ever since. Beerbohm's next opponent is one of the best grapplers in the world, Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro. I think it is fair to say whomever wins this fight between the two will get the next shot at Strikeforce's Lightweight Title. Beerbohm has over come the adversity and addiction of his past and is on the verge of becoming a world champion.
EVeezy: Talk a little bit about the training camp you have had in preparation for Ribeiro.
Beerbohm: I have brought in Jason Simpson form Dallas, Texas in he is a Jiu-Jitsu guy. I brought in Brian Caraway, he fights in the WEC. And of course my regular training partners, Cody Mckenzie and Mike Hanks. I have a really good training camp going on right now.
EVeezy: Was it difficult finding training partners to bring in preparation for Ribeiro?
Beerbohm: You know Ribeiro is one of the best Jiu-Jitsu guys in the world, so yeah! It was difficult getting the caliber of training partners, but I am doing the best I can.
EVeezy: Talk about the gym you regularly train at.
Beerbohm: I cross train at a couple different gyms in Spokane. I go to out to Boxing school and then I go and train at Sik Jitsu MMA.
EVeezy: Do you feel like as you are acceding up the MMA ladder, it is important to a bigger gym?
Beerbohm: I feel comfortable where I am at right now. I have great training partners, Cody McKenzie is 11-0 with 11 first round finishes. I have got all the guys I need right here. If I ever need a special training camp, like this one then I bring somebody in. Besides that, I have a great base here in Spokane. I will never have to leave.
EVeezy: Do you feel that you are the best fighter at 155?
Beerbohm: Yeah, I do. I feel I can fight and compete with anybody out there. Come May 15th I am going to prove I am one of the best out there. That's for sure.
EVeezy: Talk about what motivates you to get in the gym every single day.
Beerbohm: I enjoy it! (Laughs) I love getting in there and mixing it up everyday. Most people don't like to do what I like to do. For my training camp I spar and I grapple. That's what I do day in and day out. I lot of people can't do the things that I do and that is what sets me apart form everyone else. The amount of sparring I do for my training camp is nuts! To get in shape to fight, you have to fight in the gym. To get in shape to play Basketball you play Basketball. In my opinion, I don't need to be doing the things some people do. And they do that for the simple fact that they don't like to spar, in my opinion.
EVeezy: Can you reveal your gameplan to us?
Beerbohm: You know when I step into the cage I don't really ever have a gameplan. I'm a natural fighter. When it comes down to it, I get in that cage and I go win fights. I am 23-0 with 22 finishes. I don't have a gameplan, I am just going to go out there and push the pace.
EVeezy: So are we going to see a Ribeiro tapping to a Bulldog choke?
Beerbohm: (Laughs) Probably not! I am not going to call that one out like I did with Ludwig. Ribeiro got a supreme ground game so no I don't think so. But you never know, this is MMA you never know what's going to happen.
EVeezy: Have you watched tape on Ribeiro at all?
Beerbohm: Yeah, I am watched a lot of tape on Riberio. I have watched almost all of his grappling matches, a lot of his fights. He does the same thing you know. He gets it to the ground as soon as possible. That's what he does.
EVeezy: Watching the Aoki fight, did you see any holes in his striking game?
Beerbohm: Yeah! In my opinion I have the better stand up. Obviously he wants the fight to go to the ground in the first round. He wasn't pushing the takedown as much as he usually has done in the past. Maybe he thought he could beat Aoki in the stand up? In most of his fights he pushes the takedown. In the Aoki fight he didn't, he kind of sat back and I guess wanted to strike with Aoki. I believe I have better stand up then him.
EVeezy: When I was doing my research on you, every interview seemed to bring up the fact that you were a drug addict and had been to prison. Does that bother you at all that every interview you do revolves around your past?
Beerbohm: Prison saved my life. If i didn't go to prison I would probably be dead. Prison got me cleaned up, it saved me from that meth addiction I had. Prison got me clean and cleared up. I was watching The Ultimate Fighter when I was in prison and I was like are you kidding me!? Those guys are fighting on TV making money! That's what I knew what I was going to do when I got out. 8 days out of prison I had my first cage fight. 3 years later here I stand 23-0 I am fighting Vitor Ribeiro and I am upon the biggest fight of my life.
EVeezy: What makes you so open and honest about your past?
Beerbohm: My past is my past. I do not have anything to hide. When I was addicted to meth, I was two different people. I used to do things that I am really ashamed of and that I would never think about doing again. I was high on drugs and when I wasn't high I needed money for drugs and I did things that I am not happy about. It makes a great story, people know someone who is affected by drugs. Anybody that can do what I have done and got off that, especially shooting up meth like I used to, If they can overcome that it is a positive story and everyone wants to see that. Why not tell the world? Why not tell everybody how I overcame meth to become a great fighter. I think I have a very inspirational story and I want everyone to hear about it.
EVeezy: Do you ever stop and check the MMA fourms?
Beerbohm: I used to a lot, but now I live up in the woods. I don't have a computer up here and you caught me right in the middle of cutting firewood. I don't have a computer and I barely get reception on my phone up here. So I don't get on the fourms as much as I used to. I used to quite a bit, but not so much anymore.
EVeezy: What was it like dealing with the MMA fans on the MMA Underground Fourm during the Hollester Riech debacle?
Beerbohm: Hollester Riech really helped me out, they helped me support my family. When other company's would be a monthly sponsor for me, Hollester Riechwas there giving me money. When I met with Hollester Riechthey they told me, they had a black guy on their website. So I didn't feel that they were racist. I really didn't you know. I felt comfortable with them enough to... you know...
EVeezy: I definitely feel that most of these people on these online communities have never been put in a difficult situation, like the one that you had been put in. In my opinion, they don't understand at all how difficult a situation you were put in.
EVeezy: With Strikeforce and Dream co-promoting, would you be open to fight in Japan?
Beerbohm: Yeah, I am open to fighting anywhere they are paying me the money. I'll go anywhere any time and I will fight anybody.
EVeezy: What is your ultimate goal in MMA?
Beerbohm: When I first started I wanted to become top ten in the world. That was my #1 goal, now I want to be the Strikeforce champion. I want to be champion in every organization I compete in. I want the belt and that is my goal.
EVeezy: You said I interrupted you in the middle of cutting wood. Do you you like it up there in the woods?
Beerbohm: Yeah, I was born and raised up in the country. Pigs, horses, all that good stuff. I used to live in the city for a while and just recently moved back into the country. It's my home element, I love it up here.
EVeezy: Ok, so you like that country living. Are you like Brock Lesner, do you go out shooting deer and cooking your own food out there?
Beerbohm: Yeah, you know wild Turkey's are the second best meat in the world for your body. I eat a lot of wild Turkey and I love it up here. We have a lot of deer and stuff up here. It's a lot of fun. The only thing I have to heat my house is the wood I am cutting up right now. I got a wood stove, I don't have to much stuff that runs on electricity.
EVeezy: Do you feel it is a necessity to market yourself?
Beerbohm: You have to put yourself out there, especially since I am not being put on TV. So nobody knows me, so yeah I do have to figure out something. I have to market myself with the fancy pants and other stuff like that.
EVeezy: Has anybody talked to you about doing something sponsorship wise with your Fancy Pants?
Beerbohm: A little bit, they want me to win a few more fights. They want people to know who I am before they invest in me. So I just need to win some more fights and get my name out there and I am sure something will happen.
EVeezy: I heard that your father is writing a book, talk a little bit about that.
Beerbohm: Yeah my dad is ghost writing a book for me. It is about all the crazy things I have done in my life. All my trials and tribulations, all about my life. Places I have been, people I have met and where I am at right now. So it's going to be a really good book. I've done a lot of crazy stuff so the book is going to be really entertaining. We are still in the process of writing the book and we are currently looking for a publisher. If anyone out there can help out we are looking for a publisher. If you can help out you can hit me up at Lylebeerbohm@yahoo.com. I would really appreciate it.
EVeezy: I heard you are in a documentary too! Talk about that.
Beerbohm: Yeah, the documentry is called Fight Life. It's going to be a really good documentary, it has a lot of really good people in it. It was a lot of fun making the documentary with James Feng. I have just seen the trailer for the movie, I am really excited to see how it came out.
EVeezy: If you beat Vitor Ribeiro on May 15th do you think your next fight will be for the Strikeforce Lightweight Title?
Beerbohm: You know I can't really say. It sure seems like it, but with them not putting me on TV and how are they going to promote somebody they haven't put on TV and whatnot. I don't know what they are doing. So I'll be 14-0 as a professional and 2-0 in Elite XC and 3-0 in Strikeforce, (pauses) I don't know who else they have at Lightweight. I mean they got KJ Noons, but I think I am right up there.
EVeezy: Any sponsors you would like to thank?
Beerbohm: Iornmaster.com, KTFO, and Bad Reputation Colthing. Thanks so much guys.