SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Brian Ebersole of Australia celebrates his win over Chris Lytle of the USA during their welterweight bout during their middleweight bout as part of UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Lytle is a storied UFC veteran who has tied Anderson Silva's record for the most Fight Night bonuses given out in promotional history. Lytle was coming in off a four fight win streak and was talking about ending his UFC career with a title run.
But that's all over now. Brian Ebersole, a 30 year old veteran of 63 pro MMA fights dating back to 2000, DID beat Chris Lytle and it's his turn to enjoy the spotlight.
Mike Chiappetta detailed Ebersole's unlikely road to the UFC:
When Ebersole got the call to fight Lytle, he briefly thought someone was pranking him. He'd fought over 60 fights in his pro career, winning 46 of them. He'd fought in Strikeforce, the IFL, King of the Cage, and a list of alphabet soup organizations so long, you could put any random three letters together and there's a decent chance he's fought for a group with that name.
An Indiana native, Ebersole eventually moved to Australia because it was simply easier for him to make a living there after preposterously being suspended by the California state athletic commission for the same cartwheel kick he used to open up his fight with Lytle. In the roughly four years since, Ebersole's established himself as one of Oz's best known fighters.
Since 2006, he'd fought 13 times in Australia, winning 11, and he'd won seven in a row. Sometimes, life puts you in the right place at the right time, and though his location had worked against him in the past, this time he was the perfect guy in the perfect place, getting the call for the injured Condit.
Ben Fowlkes gets a great story from Ebersole that details the fateful brawl that ended his collegiate wrestling career at Eastern Illinois University in September, 2000:.
Ebersole, a third-year college student on a wrestling squad that features future UFC legend Matt Hughes as one of its assistant coaches, has built something of a reputation for himself as a guy who can fight a little bit when he wants to.
He's just spent the summer bouncing from one small-time Midwestern MMA event to the next, going wherever they need a warm body willing to jump in the cage for gas money and the chance to find out what he's made of. By the time school starts up again he's had four MMA bouts and the freshmen in his dorm have taken to calling him 'Champ,' both to his face and to others.
As in, 'What, you think you want to fight Champ? Are you trying to get beat up?'
You see where this is going.
Soon after, he was visited in his dorm room by a police officer and led away in handcuffs. He spent two days in jail, was barred from returning to school for seven weeks, and lost his spot on the wrestling team. Nine months later, the charges were dropped.
Fowlkes details the brawl with three college hockey players that ended Ebersole's collegiate career and set him on the road to a life in MMA. Read the whole thing.
As bummed as I am to see Chris Lytle's hopes for a title run dashed, it's very inspiring to read Ebersole's story and was even more inspiring to see him pull off the upset at UFC 127.