When We Were Bouncers: Aaron Riley

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Actor/stuntman/fighter Paul “The Mauler” Lazenby has an awesome new Facebook page – When We Were Bouncers. Every Monday he presents a crazy new story from former security personnel who went on to become actors, fighters, comedians, pro wrestlers, stuntmen and other standouts in their chosen fields.

He recently sat down with Aaron Riley, who has one of the longest, toughest, and most exciting careers in the sport’s history.

IN AN UNUSUAL WAY, security work started early for me because I started to fight [professionally] super young. I started kickboxing when I was 14 and MMA when I was 16, plus I was on my high school wrestling team. So all the time, people I went to high school with would want me to back them up like I was their ace in the hole. They’d routinely ring my doorbell while they were on their way to fight somebody, asking me to come along to back them up.

Later on, after I moved to Kirkland, Washington and began training at AMC Kickboxing, a buddy of mine who was moving out of town gave me his [bouncing] job at a place in Seattle called The Irish Immigrant. The place was aptly named because when I started, I think I was the only American working there — almost everyone else was an actual transplant from Ireland. Those guys were always ready to throw down at the drop of a hat because that was just a normal night at the bar for them

Unsurprisingly, we had our share of situations there, and I quickly became good at seeing the signs and not being at the epicenter when things happened.

One time, our whole crew got into it with some locals who were being rowdy, and the bar’s owner Pat came out from behind the bar and got involved. We got this group of guys pushed out into the alley beside the bar, and it was five or six of them against roughly the same number of us, coming together in a “mini-Braveheart” kind of clash. (laughs) As usual, I made sure not to get caught in the middle of it — the Irish guys really liked to fight anyway so I left them to throw all the punches, kicks and knees. I just stayed on the outer edge of the skirmish and played “goalie” — whenever somebody got pushed out of the action, I’d run around and knock ‘em back into play. (laughs) If I remember correctly, it didn’t go well for the locals that night!

A WHILE LATER ANOTHER AMERICAN guy got hired on, a guy named Bernard, and one night he was talking to this guy who was being drunk and dumb and kicking the sign outside the bar. I wasn’t too concerned because it looked like Bernard had things fairly under control. But the guy eventually kicked the sign one time too many, and all of a sudden Bernard snatched this guy up, slapped on a rear naked and lifted the guy right off the ground! Really chokin’ him hard, trying to put him to sleep.

After the guy finally passed out, the weirdest thing happened. Bernard let him go and the guy slumped to the ground, but then immediately popped right back up and took off running. He reached the street outside the club just as a taxi drove by, and without even hesitating this guy jumped up onto the hood of the car! The taxi driver started freaking out and swerving all over the road, with the drunk guy clinging on and yelling, “YOU SAW THAT! HE ASSAULTED ME! YOU SAW IT!” It was like a movie with the guy laying across the windshield and screaming, and of course the cab driver couldn’t see anything so ended up swerving up onto the curb and taking out a trash can!

That was Seattle, man — it was just this weird, off-the-wall kind of place where even the fights weren’t normal, and almost always involved something crazy happening.

Check out www.facebook.com/FamousBouncers for more bouncer stories from stars in a wide variety of pursuits. For UG Blog excerpts for MMA Fighters, check out:
When We Were Bouncers: Tom Erikson
When We Were Bouncers: Paul Cheng
When We Were Bouncers: Shayna Baszler
When We Were Bouncers: Gary Myers
When We Were Bouncers: Jonathan Goulet
When We Were Bouncers: Gene LeBell
When We Were Bouncers: John Lober
When We Were Bouncers: Paul Varelans
When We Were Bouncers: Pat Miletich (someone gets attacked with a pitchfork)
When We Were Bouncers: Renzo Gracie (he bounced in a brothel at 14)