Jake Rossen took a break from his standard “You suck, please stop” articles to write a more thoughtful “You’re killing yourself physically and mentally, please stop” article.
Earlier in the year, Josh Neer was arrested for drunken driving and eluding police. Last summer, Quinton Jackson endangered himself and others by driving erratically. Jon Koppenhaver assaulted a man outside a nightclub in 2007, choking him unconscious. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic declared he wished to hang himself after his most recent loss. Mike Guymon’s wife took a gun from him; his intention had been to kill himself. Justin Levens succeeded, taking his wife’s life before his own. Jeremy Williams shot himself in his car. Evan Tanner walked into the desert and was never seen alive again.
Like a lot of sports that marry serious physical trauma with modest wages, mixed martial arts is finding itself with a mortality rate, but not in the way its critics expected.
I’m pretty sure we can all think of a few other guys who are pretty fucked up. As Chris Leben once said, “Fighters are like strippers, they ain’t paying their way through college. You know we all got a bunch of problems and skeletons in the closet.”
Of course there’s the Junie Browning situation that just happened, and while the UFC cut Junie for being a suicidal mess, they brought on another fighter the next day who had recently tried to kill himself: Mike “Joker” Guymon.
“On the outside, everything looked great,” said Guymon, who runs the Joker’s Wild Fighting Academy in Lake Forest. “I was always smiling, but I was hiding behind my smile. We had tons of business but I had all the stress of the business. I was dealing with everybody else’s problems on a daily basis and had no outlet for my own problems. There was the stress of paying bills. My wife was out of work. The night before, we were filling out divorce papers.”
But he credits his wife, with whom he has reunited, along with Jim Amormino of the Orange County sheriff’s department, who he credits with keeping him alive through a harrowing situation.
The morning after divorce papers were signed, the couple engaged in an argument and Guymon grabbed a gun. Nicole Guymon was able to get the gun from him and he left the house. Guymon got in his SUV, and planned on shooting himself with another gun.
His wife called Amormino, who alerted the department of the potential situation.
“I was trying to find a cop to finish me,” he said.
Officers arrived on the scene and took three hours to talk Guymon out of the situation. Amormino was on the phone with Guymon as deputies surrounded the car with tasers. He told Amormino that he wasn’t coming out and was going to force them to shoot him, but Amormino went up to the car and diffused the situation. Guymon was taken in for 72 hours of psychiatric care, but was not charged with a crime.
There are a few differences here between Junie and ‘Joker’. Since Guymon’s breakdown two months ago, the 35 year old has gone and defended his King of the Cage belt against a young, hot prospect, bringing his record to 11-2-1. He’s also got connections since he happens to be one of the original members of Tapout – sounds kinda like he got the Pete Best treatment right before the show on Versus started. Still, if you’re not gonna cash out on millions from a hugely successful clothing brand, I suppose a UFC contract ain’t a bad consolation prize … if you’re really bad at math.