Gary Goodridge: The fighter who stayed too long

by Ben Fowlkes | source:

Ask his friends and they’ll tell you. The changes to Gary Goodridge’s personality happened the same way the brain damage did: gradually, over the course of several years. It wasn’t like he took one big blow to the head and woke up the next day with a mind that could no longer trace the thread of a conversation or remember what he’d had for dinner the night before. It was the little stuff. His speech got a little harder to understand. He didn’t tell as many jokes. He forgot things.

But everybody forgets things. Everybody gets older. So what? Even the people who’d known him since childhood couldn’t say for sure that there was something wrong with Goodridge at first. It was hard to notice, until it wasn’t.

"When talking to him on the phone, his speech was becoming slurred," said Mike Mobbs, who’s counted Goodridge as his best friend since the two were nine years old, growing up in Barrie, Ontario together. "It got to the point where, when having phone conversations with him, I found myself constantly saying, ‘What did you say? Pardon?’ That, to me, was the tip-off."

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tags: Gary Goodridge (detail)  


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Recent Comments »

TheRaider site profile image  

3/14/12 10:07 PM by TheRaider

Nicely said.

ufcman187 site profile image  

3/14/12 9:59 PM by ufcman187

My heart goes out to Big Daddy and his family. I put this up there with Michael J Fox and Muhammad Ali. Legend, pioneer, and fun to watch . Man I hate this

UGCTT_FryedTakayama site profile image  

3/14/12 7:02 PM by UGCTT_FryedTakayama


Jack_Bauer site profile image  

3/14/12 6:58 PM by Jack_Bauer

Big Daddy is the shit. If anyone deserves a good life, it's him. Best of luck Gary.....

KrisDonahoo site profile image  

3/14/12 12:59 PM by KrisDonahoo

TTT for an awesome article (great job Ben) about a true fighter and pioneer in the sport. Thanks for everything you've done and continue to do Gary.


3/14/12 12:38 PM by Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge

Thanks for the support, glad you got a shirt my friend. Not my wife must've been my gf at the time but either way thanks again

David@accu site profile image  

3/14/12 8:41 AM by David@accu

 Met gary late last year at a local mma event. I had spoken with him for a few minutes and it was obvious even before he made a sound. It was sad. You could see this guy struggle to respond to things. He seemed more confused when he didn't know something I was asking but he should have. It was a brief discussion as the next fight was coming up. Gary. His wife?, and some other guy had setup a table ad were signing shirts and pictures.I had no intentions of buying anything until I talked to Gary and was just floored at how bad he was. I knew at the cost of some of my entertainment that he was now sufering. I felt almost guilty even though I know Gary did it to himself. I bought some shirts and he signed them. Then tried to figure out the math of the change. He turned to his wife and you could see he forgot either what he was going to say as he just had this blank stare. His wife had been paying attention so she started to get it but i just said keep it and walked away.  Still have the signed shirt. The other I gave to my teammate

Kevin bacon site profile image  

3/14/12 8:40 AM by Kevin bacon

wow what a great article.I really hope things work out for the best for you and your family Gary, you have done so much for the sport we love

notsometourist site profile image  

3/14/12 8:19 AM by notsometourist

That was a truly moving article that brought tears to my eyes. I remember so many of Gary's fights and recall them fondly. He always gave it everything he had and was a star because of it. As his fans, it makes me feel bad because it was us who always wanted to see him again, "just one more time". It feels like we asked too much. I know Gary posts on here, time to time and I know he may not see this, but if he does, I just want you to know something Gary: We all love you, and we appreciate everything you have done for us in your career. You were and are an integral part of this sport's growth. Please be proud of that. That you are once again taking the reigns and speaking candidly regarding your situation will no doubt also help future athletes and doctors in these situations. Again, I say that we love you. Please never forget that.

MeGusta site profile image  

3/14/12 5:18 AM by MeGusta

Great read and all the best to Gary. I think this will be an even bigger issue once some more of the legends retire. The main problem seems to be fighters not wanting to walk away. It must be hard being one of the best in the world and then stepping down to live a quiet life. I hope the mma world learns from this and in the future we see fighters being educated on this issue in greater detail and making the decision to hang up the gloves.