Former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks has been through a terrible amount of things in life and on his road to MMA stardom. His disadvantaged upbringing, homelessness, faulty personal relationships, etc - he's had many trials. Yet on Monday's edition of the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Brooks revealed some very surprising information regarding his situation a few years ago where everything took a very somber turn.
(Exchange begins around 18:55 in video above)
"Yeah man, I mean, I understand and... this is a story, and I've never told anybody and I'm not, I don't tell this story because I think somebody... I want somebody to be able to find something in my story maybe to help them through some of their hard times and uh... There is a time where I gave up, I definitely gave up one time... I tried to walk into traffic. I tried to walk into, um, one of these busy, uh, intersections in Schaumburg, Illinois, down the road from my gym. I tried to walk into the street and tried to uh... end my life. And uh... That was a... that was a scary time for me, because I've always been a very hard working guy, I've never any thoughts like that, you know? I've never really thought about giving up, but things just got so hard you know?
"And, you know, I got kicked out of my gym because I was sneaking into the gym and wasn't telling anybody and sleeping there and the owner kicked me out, I was just like 'man, this is... this is all I've got. This is the only thing I know how to do, is um... compete, and endure and just be relentless in everything I do'. So when you're built like that, what else do you do? I tried to go to school, that didn't work out, tried to work a 9 to 5, didn't work out, just wasn't for me, and competing and doing this is what felt right to me and there's just a couple of times where I thought it wasn't gonna happen, so, uh... So I was just like 'shit, why am I wasting space here? Why am I taking up air? And I flipped the switch in my head and said 'yep, this is the right decision, try to end my own life on my own terms'"
We don't hear stories like this very often, and while we have some idea of what a few of the fighters go through while trying to find success in combat sports, rarely do we see this kind of openness when reflecting on such a fragile moment in life, or such a complicated and delicate subject. Brooks was able to overcome this adversity, however. He eventually became Bellator champion, defended his belt and has now reached his objective of finally making it to the UFC.
Brooks will be the co-main event of the Ultimate Fighter season 23 Finale in Las Vegas, NV on July 8th, taking on lightweight veteran Ross Pearson. He also recently had a beautiful baby daughter and plans to get married just over a week after his next bout. Plenty to take solace in here, because by his own admission, he's living better than ever.