Melvin Guillard never saw the end coming until the morning he awoke and it was already lurching through his front door. Sometimes, that’s just how it goes. Close your eyes and you’re a 10-year UFC lifer, open them eight hours later and you’re unemployed. Cord-cutting without the grace of a goodbye; no severance package, going-away party or tearful embrace over a decade of service. Just 23 fights worth of memories and a dizzying sense of how things are about to change.
And things certainly did change.
Few expected Guillard, the cocksure TUF 2 relic with the bleach-blonde fade and heat-seeker of a right hand, a lightweight who’d headlined handfuls of events and latched himself atop the bonus list, to be handed his UFC walking papers after a single loss to Michael Johnson in early 2014 — least of all Guillard himself. Guillard went on to become World Series of Fighting’s resident malcontent, a short-lived bust who twice missed weight and openly feuded with promotion executives, tumbling slowly into irrelevance while losing the life he fashioned over a decade.
“When I got released, man, I was battling with my own mind,” Guillard admits now. “I was depressed. I didn’t even know if I wanted to fight anymore. I told my wife I didn’t want to fight anymore.”
Guillard’s WSOF approach was more than a little misguided. That much was obvious then, and even more so now that the he-said, she-said is all over. His was a terrifying thought though: to wake up at 31 years old, in mid-free fall, any semblance of identity cast out into the cold while the game marched on by with a double-finger salute.
“Not being in the UFC anymore, and dealing with out-of-the-ring issues financially, it just put me in a real bad spot,” Guillard says. “When you’re married you’ve got to do certain things a certain way, and not fighting in the UFC, not making that same money, my lifestyle had to change.
“I took a security job working as a floor guy at a gentleman’s club out here. I hadn’t had a regular job in over 20 years. You know, everything I’ve been doing in the last 20 years has been just MMA. So that was hard to adjust to, I went from being my own boss to having to take a lot of crap from people, especially strippers and the management at this particular strip club I worked at, man. And it was just horrible.” Continue reading
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