Reformed Meth Addict Looks to Stay Undefeated against Bang Ludwig
Two years ago, Lyle Beerbohm was sitting in a prison cell, serving an 18 month sentence. A crystal meth addict, he had stolen from his loved ones and committed multiple felonies during a dreadful, downward spiral.
On June 19, the reborn 30-year-old native of Spokane, Washington will attempt to continue his miraculous and inspiring transformation into an undefeated athlete in the world’s fastest growing sport – mixed martial arts (MMA).
“This is the biggest fight of my life,” said Beerbohm (9-0), who will face his most difficult test to date in the cage when he squares off with seasoned knockout artist, Duane “Bang” Ludwig (18-8) in a lightweight (155 pound) matchup during the Strikeforce Challengers MMA event at Kent, Washington’s brand new ShoWare Center on Friday, June 19. “Once I beat him, I’ll be a superstar – where I need to be. I have full confidence that I will win this fight.”
Beerbohm enjoyed a stint in high school wrestling and claims to have been unbeaten over the course of numerous street fights as well as three scuffles in Walla Walla state prison, but it was only after he tuned into The Ultimate Fighter, Spike TV’s smash-hit MMA reality series, that he decided he would make combat his livelihood and his path to redemption.
“When I was sitting in prison and watching The Ultimate Fighter show,” he said, “I was like ‘Are you serious? Those guys are on TV, making money?’ I knew I could take those guys so, right then and there, I made up my mind and haven’t looked back since.”
So determined was Beerbohm to get the ball rolling immediately after his release that he ordered his father to stop driving after they passed by a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy on the ride home from prison. Beerbohm quickly introduced himself to the school owner and explained his intentions.
Just eight days after his first lesson, Beerbohm stepped in the cage where he won his first amateur bout. After amassing a 12-0 record under amateur status in only nine months, he decided the time was right to turn professional. He has since finished all but one of his nine victims.
“I traded one addiction for another,” said Beerbohm, who has also earned the nickname “Fancy Pants” due to his flashy looking fight shorts that his mother designed for him. “I had put all my time and focus into that drug, unfortunately, so I needed something else to put my time and effort into and that’s why I’ve done what I have so far in MMA.”
Beerbohm no longer has a trainer – only training partners at the Spokane based Sik Jitsu club whom he claims have been the key to helping him learn on the job. He has visited a number of prominent training
centers including submission expert Dennis Hallman’s Seattle-based Victory Athletics and former Olympic wrestler Matt Lindland’s Team Quest, but prefers doing things his own way.
“(The other camps) are pretty good, but we’ve got the best thing in Spokane,” said Beerbohm. “When I was at other camps, I wasn’t in charge. In Spokane, I’m in charge. The guys do what I want to do and that’s the way I want it.”
Beerbohm’s next opponent boasts far more formal training than him. A native of Denver, Colorado Ludwig, also 30 years of age, immersed himself in the world of Muay Thai kickboxing as a teenager and has gone on to become a star in the sport of MMA. He also holds the record for the quickest knockout in UFC history (Ludwig stopped Jonathan Goulet in 11 seconds on January 16, 2006). That doesn’t intimidate Beerbohm one bit, though.
“His stand up (skills) is pretty good, but my style is breaking people. The way I pace myself, people can’t handle it,” stated Beerbohm. “I’ll break him by the third round. If he gets to the 3rd round, he’s not going to get out of the third round.”
“When you see me get in the cage with Ludwig, I will be a different fighter and a step above where I was from my last appearance. I’m a brand new fighter and can’t wait to show the world.”
Tickets for the Strikeforce Challengers event, priced from $32, are on sale at the ShoWare Center Box Office (253-856-6999 or 877-840-0457), online at ShoWareCenter.com, and at www.strikeforce.com.
The live SHOWTIME® telecast of the event will begin at 11 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the west coast) and will include up to five bouts.
Middleweight (185 pound) powerhouses “Smokin” Joey Villasenor (26-6) and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos (16-12) will face off in the card’s main event.
Decorated United States Army Ranger Tim Kennedy (9-2) will square off with seasoned veteran Nick “The Goat” Thompson (38-10-1) in a middleweight contest.
Rising stars Cory “The One” Devela (9-2) and Luke Rockhold (4-1) will face off with each other in yet another middleweight battle.
Jorge Gurgel (12-5) will battle Conor “Hurricane” Heun (8-2) in a lightweight (155 pound) battle and welterweight (170 pound) submission ace Dennis “Superman” Hallman (40-12-2) will lock horns with Cedric Marks (26-18).
In women’s action, undefeated power puncher Sarah Kaufman (9-0) will meet Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (11-5).
ShoWare Center doors will open for the Strikeforce Challengers event at 5:30 p.m. PT on June 19 and the first preliminary bout will begin at 6 p.m. PT.
Strikeforce’s affair at the Tacoma Dome on February 28, 2008 marked the largest live gate in the history of any boxing, MMA, or kickboxing event in Washington State.
Strikeforce Challengers is a proving ground for up-and-coming MMA fighters. It provides today’s top prospects with the opportunity to step-up their level of competition and demonstrate their ability in a nationally televised event.