37-year-old Chris Lytle said he made up his mind "a few months ago" when he spent some quality time with his children while rehabbing injuries.
"I've been fighting since '98, fighting forever, a lot of it is just that I'm not doing my responsibilities like I need to at home," Lytle said. "I feel like I'm not being the type of dad I want to. I got four kids and lots of times I feel just an immense sense of guilt for not being there in times when I should."
"I have a great time fighting, and I love fighting — I want to do it all the time — but I think that sometimes it's time for me to not think about what I want and start thinking about what's best for other people."
"This is going to be my last memory right here. I feel like I want to win this fight more than probably I have wanted to win any. I want the people to want more, like, 'Why is he gone? I want him to come back.' That would be my dream for it to end like that.
"Earlier this month, Lytle, announced that he was considering a run at the Indiana State Senate or State House "That really is going to depend on what kind of time that is going to take [away from his family]. If I think I can do it while my kids are at school and be a part of their lives more so than I am now, then I think that I definitely will [run for office]."
Lytle was never knocked out or submitting while earning a record of 30-18-5 MMA record and a 9-10 UFC record. He's the owner of eight post-fight awards for either Fight of the Night (5), Submission of the Night (2) and Knockout of the Night (1). He also holds a 13-1-1 pro boxing record.
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A short interview with Fight! magazine last year captures some of Lytle's unique appeal.
Neal Taflinger: What’s your job right now at the fire station?
Chris Lytle: I’m an engine company guy, which means that if there’s a fire, I get the hose and try to put the fire out immediately. You have engineers who do the driving, you have officers that manage the scene, you’ve got guys on the ladder who look for victims and do escape and egress—I’m the guy that tries to put the fire out.
NT: You’ve managed to stay pretty injury free throughout 12 years of fighting and working as a firefighter, what’s your secret to staying healthy?
CL: I take more growth hormones than anybody. No, I just think I’ve been fortunate. I’m not injury prone. I train all the time, so I don’t get out of shape. I eat pretty well. I’m pretty clean living. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink very often. When I do, I probably overdo it, but I don’t do it very often.
NT: How do you react when people call you a BJJ black belt?
CL: People ask me all the time who I’m a black belt under. I’m not. I don’t even own a gi. I told the UFC, but they keep sayin’ it. What can I do? I told ‘em.
NT: You’ve been saying some outrageous things in interviews … like that your ground game sucks.
CL: I think sarcasm is a lost art. I’ll say things, maybe it’s my demeanor, but people think I’m serious. Someone asked about gogoplatas, and I said, ‘I’ve never done it, but the UFC is where I like to try new moves.’ They wrote it down like, ‘Oh, interesting.’ Dude, I’m joking. I’ve tried everything you’re going to see me do in there.
NT: You win a lot of bonus money, do you do anything fun with it, or does it all go in a rainy-day fund?
CL: If you ask my kids, I don’t do anything fun. If you ask me, paying off the house is fun. I like to take nice vacations and do stuff with my kids. I’ve got four kids. They do a lot of stuff, and it takes a lot of money… all the sports, activities. I bought my Jeep in 2002, and then I saved money from my paychecks the next year and a couple of fights and bought a minivan. Cash. I won’t have a car payment, ever.
NT: What’s your kids’ favorite cartoon?
CL: Sponge Bob, but right now they’ve got the reruns of Tom & Jerry, and I’m like, ‘Look, it’s a mouse and a cat and they hit each other with pans and stuff.’ Cartoons don’t do that anymore, it’s all, ‘Let’s drink lemonade and hold hands.’ I don’t like it. They need to bring Woody Woodpecker back, though. I don’t know what they have against that guy.
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