Sports is a world built on cliches. Everyone is ‘giving it 110%,’ ‘proving their doubters wrong,’ ‘hustling 24/7,’ and on and on. But more than stock phrases, it’s also a world where past narratives are repeated over and over. Prospects rise, former stars stumble, underdogs mount improbable comebacks, and champions dominate.
One of the more tragic, and longest running narratives in sports, however, is that of the successful athlete who finds themselves as a newly minted millionaire—only to blow their sudden wealth on the trappings of a high class lifestyle. Unfortunately, that sounds something like the spot former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley may be in.
In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, the ‘Chosen One’ revealed that he’s had to make some serious lifestyle adjustments since losing the belt to Kamaru Usman back in March of last year.
“I blew through a lot of fucking money, man,” Woodley told ESPN. “A lot. A lot of money. And I was—jewelry and VIP and all these experiences, all these things that came with the championship life. You really – when you come from where I come from – you never imagine making that type of money; you never imagine being in that type of position. You work hard for it – and I didn’t get there by accident (because I was busting my ass) – but nobody taught me finance.
“Everybody taught me 1+1 is 2. That’s math. That ain’t finance. That ain’t wealth, that ain’t investing, that ain’t saving, that ain’t tax. That’s basically: you made money and, fucking, you spend it. Because when I was growing up, we spent it when it came in. My mom’s check was already cut up, it was done before she even got it. She had to pick which utility bills was not gonna be on that, that month. And it was something that I didn’t recognize, as a kid, that it wasn’t normal. I thought everybody had to do that.
“So, when you started making money? I bought, like, seven cars and, fucking, two houses—and all these trips. And nobody ever lifted a fucking hand when we was at a restaurant; 10-15 people went to dinner. And I was going to VIP clubs and all this shit, like, every other week. And I just imagined making that amount of money for a very long time. And they very quickly said, ‘Poof!’ Damn! I’m on it like, ‘You gonna tell me, March 3rd, that this is different? It’s not the same?’ And it’s just a lesson learned.”
“I blew through a lot of f—ing money… I bought like seven cars and two houses.”@TWooodley opens up about his lifestyle as champion and facing reality after losing the title (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/17s1ujuke5
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 27, 2020
Woodley has yet to return to action since losing his title to Usman at UFC 235. A planned rematch against fellow former-champ Robbie Lawler fell by the wayside last June due to a lingering hand injury—one Woodley has since had surgically repaired. Now, though, the Ferguson, Missouri-born fighter is set for a return to action in the main event of UFC London, on March 21st, against Leon Edwards. Edwards enters the bout on an eight-fight winning streak, most recently defeating former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
The fight should offer a great opportunity for Woodley to reinsert himself into the welterweight title picture. And, more than that, a chance to get back to making money in the Octagon again.
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