Kyle Maynard is a congential amputee who fought in one MMA fight in 2009. He’s now the subject of a feature length documentary called “A Fighting Chance.”
Excerpt from the “A Fighting Chance” documentary in the full entry.
He spoke to Michael David Smith about his MMA career and the film:
Michael David Smith: This documentary does a pretty thorough job of explaining why you wanted to fight, but I’m sure you still get the question all the time. So why did you want to fight in MMA?
Kyle Maynard: Just to experience it. I’m not looking to be a professional fighter and I’m not sure if I’m going to do it again, but I think life is meant to be lived through experiences. Some people think it’s about collecting things or collecting money, but to me it’s about doing stuff. I’m such a huge fan of MMA that I wanted to have that experience.
You obviously have a great passion for the sport, but the documentary goes into a lot of detail about the people who said that no matter how badly you wanted to do it, you had no business fighting, that you’d get hurt, that you couldn’t pass a typical pre-fight physical. Did any of those people have a point?
Yes, I can see that viewpoint, if I look at it completely objectively, I can totally see the skepticism. My problem was that the athletic commission in Georgia said I could fight, and then when the heat was put on them they came back and wouldn’t let me do it. So that left me without much choice but to go fight in Alabama, where there was no commission to stop it. Some people called it a freakshow and didn’t want me to do it, but I just can’t let other people’s opinions control what I do.
And then there were really nasty things posted online, and I began to feel sorry for some of those people who said what they said. People said they wanted someone to come take a chainsaw to them so they wouldn’t have arms and legs and they could fight, too. People said they wanted to beat me up so badly that I’d never want to compete again. And I’m guessing most of the people who would say those things would never have the courage to step into a cage and fight. Ultimately, the experience, to me, was so worth having, and it ended up being one of the most amazing experiences of my life. …
But you did fight and you made it through the fight healthy. Do you want to fight again?
I wouldn’t rule it out, but I’m out of shape right now because I’ve been focused on my motivational speaking, traveling around the world doing that. But I love doing jiu jitsu and my instructor, Paul Creighton is a great guy and I think the most underrated MMA coach in the country and only isn’t better known because he’s so humble. He was a fighter — he fought B.J. Penn in the UFC — and he’s just a phenomenal, phenomenal guy.
I’ll always do jiu jitsu. That has been my biggest passion athletically. I absolutely love it, even more than MMA and even more than wrestling. And I view it as a lifetime sport. I know people at the gym in their 60s who are still training.
I have to say Maynard is an interesting and determined individual who hasn’t let his disabilities stop him from experiencing a rich and full life.
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