Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Guida Details Origin Of MMA Career: “It All Started In A Strip Club”

UFC lightweight veteran Clay Guida has recalled his first foray into mixed martial arts, a story that includes a strip club and a first-round submission loss.

Guida, who was the inaugural Strikeforce lightweight champion, has been a mainstay in MMA’s premier promotion since his Octagon debut in 2006. Since his UFC signing, “The Carpenter” has made the walk 32 times.

Despite turning 40 last December, Guida is still going strong and believes he’s as motivated and active as ever. He’ll look to prove that at UFC Vegas 52 this weekend, where he’ll take on a man 15 years his junior in Claudio Puelles in the co-main event.

Like most who began their careers early in the sport’s development, Guida had his fair share of unsanctioned bouts and fights in bizarre locations. During a recent interview with UFC play-by-play announcer Brendan Fitzgerald, the Illinois native recalled his very first taste of MMA.

When the sentence “It all started in a strip club” is said, you know an interesting story is set to follow…

“Some could say (I started in) MMA by accident. It all started in a gentlemen’s club, it all started in a strip club in the middle of central Illinois back in 2003,” said Guida. “So my brother was making his pro debut. A couple weeks before that I was living on a fishing boat. I was working out in Alaska… I’m getting letters from my mom and dad. My ma’s like, ‘Listen, your brother’s doing this NHB stuff,’ back in the day when it was called ‘no-holds barred.’

“I get back off the boat, I’m back in Illinois, and my brother is making his professional debut… Me and my buddies drove down to Ottawa, Illinois, cornfields everywhere, and all of a sudden—and it’s July, super hot out, all of a sudden we’re cruising by cornfields and we see this place,” continued Guida. “We roll up, we see a marquee out in the middle of this cornfield and this big pole barn that says in flashing lights, ‘The Silver Slipper Salon.’ You can only imagine what that was… We didn’t know what we were getting into, we didn’t know it was a gentlemen’s club.”

From there, Guida detailed the scenario that led to his debut. Bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘short-notice fight’, the former collegiate wrestler swapped his beer for gloves and stepped forward as a same-day replacement.

“We see the boxing ring, they didn’t have a cage over there. The show was not sanctioned at all,” noted Guida. “We see the ring card girls, or working girls, whatever… In-between one of the fights, this guy gets on a megaphone, and he goes, ‘Yeah, we need an exhibition fill-in fight for a guy that just backed out. Anywhere from 155 to 175 pounds. You wanna get in a fight? Come on up to the head table and gives us your information.’

“I finished my beer, handed it to my buddy, I give my ticket to my other buddy, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m doing that…’ I went up to the front desk, started filling out (the form), they’re like, ‘Who are you, young man?’ I’m like, ‘Ah, I’m Jason Guida’s little brother, he’s the main event, blah, blah, blah, I’m fighting tonight.'”

Considering his inexperience, beer-drinking, and strip club visit en route to the fight, Guida’s debut went just as you’d have expected.

Guida’s Rude MMA Awakening…

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The Ultimate Warrior

After convincing his brother to allow him to compete, which came after some hilarious encouragement from his father, who wanted to see his son get his “ass kicked,” Guida entered the ring against a striker who boasted far more experience.

Quickly realizing the bout was a far cry from his wrestling wheelhouse, Guida was head-kicked and submitted before the fight could reach a second frame.

“I went out there and I literally looked like The Ultimate Warrior. That’s where it began man. The bell rang and this dude’s a striker. He was like 8-1 and had way more experience… We start going at it… I kick him right in the leg, like, ‘Yeah, this fighting stuff is easy.’ He moves around and pulled a Diego Sanchez man, he kicks me right in the mouth. I grabbed my mouth and my teeth and lip went numb.

“I shoot a blast double-leg on him, take him down, we’re rolling around scrambling, and he sweeps me. In wrestling… you go to your belly… (my brother and coaches) are yelling, ‘Go to your back!’ … This guy’s on my back, next thing you know, he puts in a rear-naked choke, taps me out.”

It’s perhaps safe to say that nobody in attendance that day would have predicted what was to come for Guida, who has since held championship gold in MMA and cemented a place inside the UFC Hall of Fame.

And if Guida is to be believed, his story is far from complete.

What’s your best memory from the ongoing career of Clay Guida?

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