If you have ever listened to Clinch Gear Radio, you will often hear Stephen Quadros and me talking about “celebrity fights”. Those are fights that feature guys who are popular, but may not always be the best fighters. I am a big believer in exciting guys equal pay per view buys. Quadros is old school and loves guys like Jon Fitch, even if the casual fans find guys like Fitch boring. It’s one of my favorite debates because we both refuse to budge on our point, and are convinced we are right.
One thing we do agree on is our appreciation of guys who come to fight every night. A lot of these guys don’t get the hype, you will not see their faces on the cover of magazines sadly they are rarely featured on talks shows….even ours. That will change this week when Chris “Lights Out” Lytle joins us.
Lytle retired from the game at age 36 Sunday night after defeating Dan Hardy by submission in the third round of their excellent fight. Lytle ends his career with a record of 31-18. In 49 career fights, he never fought for the title. He was however in the “Fight of the Night” 6 times. He only scored three knockouts in those 31 wins, but one of those won “KO of the Night”. In fact, Lytle holds the record for most post-fight bonuses with 10. More than Liddell, Hughes, GSP and all the others stands Lytle, the firefighter from Indianapolis. Looking at his career, it’s impossible not to cheer for a guy like Lytle.
Let’s go back to January 2000. When all of us were celebrating our survival of Y2K, Lytle was in Japan losing by decision to Keiichiro Yamamiya. That loss dropped Lytle’s record to 3-3-3! Three wins, three losses and three draws? I don’t know about you, but I’m probably thinking about focusing on my life at the fire station instead of fighting again. Not Lytle, he kept going. We now move to November of 2000. Lytle loses a fight to Ben Earwood. The loss leaves Lytle with a record of 5-6-3. What possible motivation would you have to stay in the fight game with that record? One week after the Earwood fight, Lytle would fight twice in the same night. Lytle won both fights, including a first round submission win over Beaver Beaver. I have to admit, when I read that fight on Wikipedia, I thought it had to be a joke, but nope it’s also listed as a win on Sherdog and I trust those guys as much as anyone.
Later in his career Lytle would face Nick Diaz, Robbie Lawler, Matt Hughes and Josh Koshcheck. While he may have lost those fights, he was never embarrassed. Lytle is a throwback in the truest sense of the word and like so many before him, I am sorry that I became a fan late in his career.
Maybe Lytle doesn’t have the mass appeal of a Roy “Big Country” Nelson or Jason “Mayhem” Miller and maybe he isn’t a perfect technician like Jon Fitch, but its guys like Lytle that put this sport on their back and brought it to where it is today. Congrats on the win and your retirement Chris, I can’t wait to ask about your memories of the Beaver Beaver fight on Wednesday.