Punch Drunk Gamer has an interview with Joe Stevenson where they go over the sketchy early years of his career where he fought underage in matches of dubious legal standings on Indian reservations. Now those were the freaking days.
PDG: Back to your career. Your first professional fight was at 16 yrs old and you had a submission victory. Don’t you have to be 18 yrs old to fight professionally?
Joe: Not back then if you were fighting on an Indian Reservation in California. I actually had my mom sign a waiver.
PDG: You started off well until you fought Pulver.
Joe: That will happen when you are 16. Your manager picks a tough fight for you and you don’t know the fighter that well. Back in the day there wasn’t nearly as much media coverage and scouting so you really didn’t know what your opponent’s style and strength’s were. Jens was tough then especially for a 16 yr old. I went into that fight really nervous as I had talked with him at the hotel before hand and I was kind of like WOW. Then during the fight he helped me out with a right hook to the face that broke my orbital bone.
It’s pretty crazy to think that Joe’s been in the game for so long. Oh, to remember the days when guys like Stevenson are the ones being selected for TUF … worthy guys with over 20 fights against quality fighters. I might not think Joe can get past BJ Penn, but I don’t think there are many other guys who’d be able to beat him at LW. In fact, I think he’d be harder for Sean Sherk to beat than BJ.