Bellator MMA: Homeless, alone and dodging gun hearth – the unbelievable rise of Sidney Outlaw

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Sidney Outlaw grimaces during a break in fighting
Sidney Outlaw fights on Friday at Bellator 283
Venue: Emerald Queen On line casino and Lodge, Washington, USA Date: Friday, 22 July
Protection: Watch on BBC iPlayer from 23:55 BST with response on BBC Sport web site & app. Highlights on BBC Three from 23:35 on Saturday, 23 July.

Sidney Outlaw was strolling to a close-by park in New Jersey to sleep tough for the evening when 4 pictures rang out.

The MMA fighter after which part-time bouncer began working together with his knees excessive, fearful the shooter would hit him within the leg.

“Solely factor in my head was, ‘man I hope they do not shoot my leg as a result of I would not be capable to battle’,” he remembers.

A automobile had been circling the road Outlaw was strolling on. He hadn’t seen. It was the top of one other lengthy day, he was on his “schedule” as he places it.

Outlaw would prepare within the day after which work till a minimum of 2am every night – he needed to be again within the health club for sparring at 9am. He had been homeless on and off from when he was 19 till he was 27, when he signed with Bellator.

His life in that interval was filled with hazard and stress. The Philadelphia-born light-weight was often robbed and for probably the most half fully by himself.

“It was horrible,” he says. “It was so much, on a regular basis.

“I used to be nearly dumbfounded… not precisely scared. I believed I might get out of it. It took eternally and if I had to return in time I in all probability would not do it over. I might have gone house any day of the week however I used to be past cussed. Not even cussed, pushed?”

He had taken a last-minute battle that weekend, as he typically did. However the earlier week he had thrown out a drunk man, performing up attempting to impress a lady.

“Folks say issues on a regular basis however when an actual individual says one thing, you’re feeling it. I do know gangsters. That man was not mendacity,” Outlaw says.

‘I did not know the following time I might eat’

Sidney Outlaw gets his hand raised by the referee
Outlaw says signing with Bellator in 2019 modified his life

Being weak was Outlaw’s each day life. He did not inform his household that he was homeless, he refused to go house. Working safety wasn’t simple.

“An evening with no battle was the perfect,” he says.

“However they fed us and that is the place I received loads of my meals. It made me heavy however I ate it as a result of I did not know the following time I might eat. They bring about me hen fingers or French fries, I would eat. I am hungry. I needed to eat.”

Outlaw, now 30, made his novice debut when he was nonetheless an adolescent in highschool. He found MMA after his mom moved him out to the suburbs of Philadelphia, away from the troubled space he grew up in.

“I truly believed my mum was evil,” he says, explaining she would by no means enable him or his siblings to roam free, not even to the park throughout the road.

“As I received older I realised we weren’t allowed to go to the park as a result of it was horrible, that park was like a cemetery. It was a rec centre and our bodies have been at all times discovered there. My mum was disciplined, it was at all times again in the home.

“In the home we had scorching meals, some video games – we had no concept if she was struggling or not.

“However my mother is the actual gangster. Labored two jobs, barely slept.”

‘I used to be nothing particular’

Sidney Outlaw smiles for the camera
Outlaw will quickly battle for the Bellator world title

MMA grew to become Outlaw’s obsession. When he was 18 he determined he needed to maneuver to New Jersey, the place the likes of UFC star Frankie Edgar and Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez skilled.

The scenario rapidly deteriorated and Outlaw discovered himself homeless as a younger child with large desires.

He made no cash combating, however did typically get a lodge room and a meal voucher. He fought in UFC president Dana White’s Contender Collection in 2017, making $5,000 to point out and $5,000 to win. “I used to be wealthy after that,” he says.

It will nonetheless be one other two years till Bellator signed him to a multiple-fight deal. He had 13 wins and three losses on his file on the time and had fought for 9 totally different promotions.

“I used to be on my own. YouTube was my greatest coach,” he continues. “However I had confidence as a result of I knew win, lose or draw I needed to hold going. I needed to be an excellent fighter.”

Outlaw was scheduled to battle for the light-weight title this Friday at Bellator 283 earlier than champion Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire was pressured to tug out due to an harm.

Now Outlaw fights Tofiq Musayev, a former champion in Japanese promotion Rizin. He is aware of little or no concerning the Azerbaijan fighter, aside from that he’s a striker.

However for Outlaw his life is unrecognisable. He’s planning to get his tooth mounted and is taking a look at homes. He has a canine he loves. He’ll battle for a Bellator world title as soon as Pitbull is healed. He attributes his rise to his mom’s affect, his religion in God and in himself.

“I used to be nothing particular,” he insists. “I used to be a fats, ashy black child from Philadelphia. Belief me, if I can do that, simply think about what you could possibly do when you dedicated to it.

“I am a man that has no downside dying on his defend,” he provides. “A man who will do something or give something for what I like.”

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