If you ask around, many mixed martial arts fighters will tell you the same thing – that some of the most brutal, crazy and memorable fights they ever saw took place behind closed doors in the gym.
Oftentimes those stories aren’t spoken about publicly, but in this article we’ve unearthed 10 of the craziest MMA gym fight stories ever told, showing what happens behind the scenes when some of the sports biggest stars lock horns in training, with no referee or cage-side doctor to call upon if things get out of hand.
Check out the 10 craziest MMA gym fight stories right here.
Tim Sylvia vs. Sherman Pendergarst
During his heavyweight MMA career, the late Sherman Pendergarst would fight for the likes of the UFC and Bellator, but his battles in the cage were surely child’s play compared to his first-ever training session at the Miletich Fighting Systems gym.
When Pendergarst showed up at the gym, it turned out that ex-UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia was his first sparring partner, and ‘The Maine-iac’ didn’t take it easy on the new recruit, proceeding to drop him multiple times with power punches.
That led to Miletich telling the fighter that he was done for the day, but Pendergarst insisted on continuing until the end of the training session.
That proved to be a big mistake as his next sparring partner Justin Eilers proceeded to knock him out, leaving him curled up in a ball on the mat.
Too tough for his own good, Pendergarst didn’t wave the white flag and instead dusted himself off and moved on to his third opponent, Mike Ciesnolevicz, who promptly KO’d him with a head kick.
”You wonder how many years we took off these poor guys’ lives just in a 45-minute sparring session, being knocked out that many times, dropped that many times,” Sylvia wondered aloud as he recalled the tale for Vice.com. “You come back in two days later and do it all over again.”