When We Were Bouncers: Paul Varelans
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 became actors, fighters, comedians, pro wrestlers, stuntmen and other standouts in their chosen fields.
Recently he profiled UFC veteran Paul “Polar Bear” Varelans, who retired from MMA back in the late 90s.
WHEN I GOT INTO THE UFC, I figured I was finished working in nightclubs. But then states started banning it , which came at a really bad time for me. Fighting in the UFC was something I was really passionate about, but just when I felt like I was hitting my stride, the whole thing got yanked out. So without a job in the Octagon I had to find a way to make money, and I was forced to go back.
I went to work at a strip joint in Sunnyvale, California called The Kit Kat Club. The owner of that place was the cheapest guy in the world — nobody got in for free. NOBODY got in for free. NO. BODY. I’d say it again, but you get the picture. For example, around that time a local band called Smashmouth was huge, and they used to come around and want to get in for free but the owner wouldn’t even allow us to do it for them! In cases like that I didn’t like being the bad guy, but I liked my $200 in tips every night so I had to do what the boss wanted.
Within my first week of coming back, we had a group of about sixteen guys try to bum-rush the entrance to the club. Since there were only three or four of us working, I got the call to come up from the back, and when I got out there I just started grabbing dudes and chucking them. At one point a guy tried a double-leg takedown, but of course I just stood there because I was too big for him to get me off my feet.
All of a sudden I felt his teeth digging into my thigh — and that was a big mistake – now we’ve moved from, “We’re just gonna wrestle and have a good time” to “Do you have hepatitis, HIV, or something else that I have to worry about?” So I immediately went from proactive mode to reactive mode.
I leaned over, wrapped my arms around his waist, and threw the guy straight up into the air. At that point, everybody actually stopped fighting, and they just stood there watching this guy go up, and up, and up. He flew so high that I actually had time to think, “Oh s—, maybe I overdid it”. Then he came down, and that’s when I found out why they call us “bouncers”, because with the right acceleration and the right landing points, the human body really does bounce quite nicely!
The guy hit the ground HARD and immediately started to bleed out — he was seriously a mess. So we soon had an ambulance on the scene, and then the Sunnyvale Police Department came screeching up and started screaming at me to get on the ground. I’m face-down on the ground and they’re slapping the cuffs on me and taking pictures of the crime scene, and I’m thinking, “I’m fucked”.
But then the captain of the watch drove up and got out of his car, and I guess he was a UFC fan because he looked at me and yelled what were at that moment the two greatest words in the world: “POLAR BEAR!”
He looked at his guys and said, “Uncuff him! What happened?” and I said, “The guy tried to bite me!”
“Oh, so he assaulted you, right?”
“Yeah, he assaulted me!”
“Well then, you were defending yourself!”
And just like that it went from “I’m going to prison” to “I’m doing photo ops with the captain and the arresting officers”! One of the cops even got some hot water and started pouring it on the pavement to wash all the evidence away!