UFC welterweight Mike Pyle grew up in a different era.
Mixed martial arts was nowhere near mainstream, and MMA training resources were non-existent. Online training programs didn’t exist and if you truly wanted to make a name for yourself in mixed martial arts, it was all on your shoulders.
Pyle stepped up to that challenge as a youngster. The now-35-year-old Tennessee native is completely self-taught. Magazine articles, videotapes, you name it, Pyle studied it.
“I was in the backyard of my parents’ house training in a shed and watching fights on a little 14-inch screen television and trying out moves I read about in magazines,” Pyle wrote in his recent ESPN blog. “I am a completely self-taught fighter and have learned everything I know from the ground up. I didn’t have nobody to teach me or show me the way back then.”
Despite no formal MMA training, Pyle broke into the UFC ranks and is making a late push for the Welterweight title while boasting a 21-7-1 professional record.
“I had no hype or expectancy,” he wrote. “I did it all for myself. “
Pyle is now returning the favor to those aspiring fighters looking for ways to elevate their game. Quicksand teaches 10 online MMA training courses at TapouT’s Virtual Training Center, including five courses in clinch and grappling and five courses in submissions.
The entire program features nearly 400 HD MMA training and nutritional videos with content updated on a weekly basis. Over 30 fighters and trainers teach at TapouT VTC including big names like Matt Mitrione, Pat Barry, Anthony Rumble Johnson, Greg Jackson and more.
“It will expose techniques you’ve never even seen,” Pyle said in a recent interview with TapouT VTC. “It features a lot of pros and is very thorough and well-produced.”
If Pyle had those tools at his disposal when he was training in that shed in his parents’ backyard, imagine how different things would have been.
“I wish I would have had something like this,” Pyle said of TapouT VTC. “I’m self-taught. I was taught by videotapes and magazine articles, when they had the step-by-step articles.”
Pyle’s upcoming opponent at Saturday’s UFC 133 couldn’t have had a more different path. Freshly turned 22-year-old Rory MacDonald is the epitome of hype. He’s 11-1 and expected to be the next big thing in the UFC welterweight division.
MacDonald made his professional debut at age 16 and has been a heralded prospect coming up through the ranks. Pyle, on the other hand, didn’t make his professional MMA debut until age 23.
But none of that matters to Pyle, as he’s clearly proud of the way he made a name for himself when the resources weren’t there for him.
“I have worked my way up the hard way and have never looked for a handout,” Pyle said. “If it wasn’t for my own self-belief and determination, this dream would have been crushed many years ago. I didn’t have many people looking to hand me a leg-up, that’s for sure.”
But now Pyle – and tens of other top pros – is giving TapouT VTC members the MMA training that he never had.