Joe Pyfer on the struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts and difficult childhood
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Joe Pyfer didn't have an easy road to the UFC. Pyfer won in his debut, knocking out Alen Amedovski in the first round. However, he injured his hand two years ago. This was difficult for him and he even thought about suicide. “I got built from breaking my arm, honestly,” Pyfer said Monday on The MMA Hour.
“I hit the slumps, man. I hit a depression, like temporary suicide s***, you know, feeling sorry for myself. I allowed what I thought was a failure to really break me as a person and like, ‘Maybe people are right, I’m not meant to do this.’ I don’t know.
I used to ask myself these questions all the time, like, ‘Why me? Why me? Why me?’ The self pity, that’s really what it is, and it was”. His path was very difficult. He faced various problems, but Pyfer never gave up on his goals.
“I’d been in the game for, what, 21 years or whatever it’s been, I started jiu-jitsu at four-and-a-half years old, ran away from home, that whole nine yards with that,” Pyfer said. “And I get a second shot back, I have my friend just try to kill himself in my house two different times — one week before [the fight], three weeks before — and a whole lot of other stuff going on, man.
And it was super hard mentally to keep it together. But what I did learn is, I would never take a flight unless I was mentally prepared — and I was mentally prepared, man. “I chose myself for once, and that’s something I hadn’t done in the past.
I would let everybody else’s s*** get in the way. But I know how bad I wanted this, I know how hard I worked for this”.
Even in his childhood he had problems with his abusive father.
“I’m not going go into detail of that to that extent, but basically I shoved him, ran out of the house, never went back.
And I’ve been discredited from that moment by him ever since then,” Pyfer said of his father. “Laughed at, made fun of, told I was going to be a f****** loser my entire life, man. And it’s very common, there’s a lot of gruesome things that were said.
But you know what? When I ran away from home, I had no means to go and train MMA anymore because my dad never let me get my my state ID to get my license, he would never let me drive. I had zero opportunity living with either my parents.
And so I joined the wrestling team, man — and I graduated high school, I think I met my savior in life, which was my high-school wrestling coach Will Harmon. With all my heart, I can say that I probably would’ve called it quits if I didn’t meet that man and join that wrestling team”.