Closing the book on 2009 was a bittersweet experience for Mike “The Joker” Guymon. In those 365 days the 35-year-old turned his life around 180 degrees, climbing out of the depths of despair to reach the pinnacle of his ten-year mixed martial arts career by signing with the UFC.
The rocky road Guymon took to realize his longtime dream of fighting in the Octagon could have just as easily ended as a nightmare if it weren’t for the support of his friends and family who stood in his corner as he fought the fight of his life on September 7.
Following an argument with his wife Nicole, having come to the determination that his deteriorating marriage – much like his financially struggling gym and stalled fight career – was destined to eventually implode, Guymon decided it was time to throw in the towel and reached for a gun with the intention of ending his own life. Realizing in the nick of time what he was planning to do as she intuitively looked in on Guymon in their bedroom as he chambered around, Nicole wrestled the firearm away from her husband and tried to talk him out of making any further rash decisions.
Bent on finishing what he started, Guymon quickly sped off in his truck, unsure how he would now be able to complete the task without a gun or a plan. As he pulled out of their driveway, Nicole quickly dialed the number of longtime family friend and media director for the Orange County, California Sheriff’s Department, Jim Amormino, frantically pleading for him to help.
Within minutes, Amormino had issued an all-points bulletin to every police department in the surrounding counties, imploring them to find Guymon, stressing the condition that they allow him to mediate when he was located.
In the meantime, Amormino had gotten through to Guymon on his cell phone. He had just been pulled over by police and he explained to Jim that he was going to attempt to coax the deputies who now had several guns trained on his vehicle, to shoot him. Assuring him that his life was not as dismal as it seemed from his vantage point and that he wanted to meet with him to talk about things, Amormino convinced the troubled fighter to remain in his vehicle until he could get to the scene – a gas station parking lot not far from Guymon’s home in Lake Forest.
Within minutes, Amormino arrived. With him he brought a beacon of hope that quickly and efficiently dissipated the dark fog that had temporarily been clouding Guymon’s judgment.
How the scene played out is best retold in Guymon’s own words.
“Jim wanted to be the one to talk to me. He knew I would listen to him because he is a good friend. Sure enough, he walked right through the police line – which he got in a lot of trouble for and took a lot of flack for doing. I remember sitting in my truck wanting to leave the earth and hoping one of the police officers would end it for me and here comes Jim – this little old guy high-stepping it through the police lines, ignoring all of the guns pointing at me. He started telling them to put the guns away and that I was his buddy and I wouldn’t hurt any of them because I love them and the police department,” Guymon recalls. “They were yelling at him ‘Jim, get out of there,’ and he ignored them. He walked right up to the truck and told me to come out and he would help me get the help I needed. He assured me that nobody was going to hurt me and that they were all my friends and that he was going to take care of me. I knew he was telling the truth. I walked out and gave Jim a huge hug and I remember he told me ‘We got you covered, buddy’. He and Nicole were instrumental in how things ended up that day. I wouldn’t be here to tell the story if it weren’t for them.”
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