Sun Jan 10 09:30am EST
He's nicknamed the "Joker" because of an ever present smile, but behind Mike Guymon's constant grin was a lot of stress, pain and worst of all, depression. With marital problems and a struggling business, Guymon, a veteran mixed martial artist, decided that he'd had enough. On August 11, 2009, he decided to commit suicide Guymon had a 45-caliber gun and was going to do the deed in his bedroom. After fighting with his wife, he left his California home and was going to try suicide by cop. That's when his good friend, Jim Amormino, stepped in during a standoff with the police to save Guymon. Amazingly, less than six months later, Guymon is set to make his UFC debut in Fairfax, Va. at Ultimate Fight Night 20.
"I went from trying to commit suicide and just being at the darkest spot in life to getting to the brightest spot in my life, getting to my dream," Guymon told Cagewriter. "I took the longest road because I'm a tough, stubborn SOB."
Guymon's day of reckoning began at his home. It started with a fight with his wife Nicole. Behind a closed door he talked about shooting himself. She forced her way into the bedroom and Guymon fled in his truck, eventually pulling into a gas station where he was surrounded by one sniper while the rest of the officers were armed with tasers.
"Jim, I didn't know, called all of them. He didn't pull in [when the standoff first unfolded]. I sat in the truck for [three hours], they surrounded me. I just wanted someone to shoot me. Little old Jim Amormino (spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff's Department) walks through the police line. They're yelling at him, 'Jim stop!' He goes 'nope, nope. That's my buddy in there. He loves all of you guys. He would never hurt anybody. He just needs help.'"
With Amormino standing 30 feet away, Guymon, 35, got out of his SUV and walked over to him, ending the standoff. Many of the police officers on hand knew of Guymon, who owns The Joker's Wild Fighting Academy in Lake Forest, Ca. Some of the officers told Guymon that he was a hero to their kids and that everybody has a bad day.
"I didn't realize I had the support of people like that."
Guymon was placed under psychiatric evaluation for 72 hours and then sought out treatment. He's now taking medication for depression and insomnia.
"I had too much stress going on between work and family, trying to run a gym, clean the gym and sign members up, Then on top of that, train myself for a fight. [And] figuring out how to train other fighters," said Guymon.
Guymon sounds like he's in a much better place now.
"Life's going to deal with you on life's terms. Nothing is going to be easy. Nothing is going to be simple. You just have to learn how to deal with the good and the bad."
Believe it or not, Guymon actually took a fight seven weeks later against Quinn Mulhern. "The Joker" won the King of the Cage welterweight title that night in October and received a call four days later with an offer to sign a four-year contract with the UFC.
Guymon's story isn't all that uncommon in the fight world. Two fighters, Jeremy Williams and Justin Levens, committed suicide in 2007 while several others have had episodes recently with police that revolved around mental breakdowns. Guymon explained that he's been told part of the problem could be head trauma and another issue is the constant weight-cutting that fighters put their mind and body through.
Guymon (11-2-1) makes his UFC debut as part of UFN 20 against 20-year-old Rory MacDonald.
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