While UFC featherweight Eddie Yagin (16-5-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) recently cashed a "Fight of the Night" bonus check for $65,000, the 33-year-old Hawaiian has seen his share of hard times.
Shot in the hip at age 17, incarcerated at age 19 and growing up idolizing Tony Montana, Yagin had plenty of reasons to be down on himself. But none was more painful than what he experienced before he was even old enough to drive.
"When I was 15, I had a son, and he passed away from SIDS," Yagin told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I was so young in my life, and I had nobody there except for me and my girlfriend."
Today, Yagin sports a tattoo on his back bearing the initials of his departed child, Tristen Cortez. It's not something he often discusses, but it's a memory never far from his mind. At the time, it seemed like the end of his world and just one more example of why things were never going to go Yagin's way. With no one around to help steer him in the right direction, Yagin was clearly on the fast track to rock bottom.
"I was born in Hawaii, and when I was young, my parents moved out to Oxnard, Calif.," Yagin said. "From there, they moved us to Washington for a couple of years and then back to Hawaii when I was in seventh grade. When we moved back to Hawaii, my accent wasn't intact, so I spoke a lot different than the usual Hawaiians. I got hated on big-time.