For David Rickels, a career in fighting started in his hometown of Derby, Kansas, where he was something of a suburban Kimbo Slice, hosting boxing scraps in his backyard. The fights gained enough renown or perhaps infamy there that he once got arrested for providing the venue, and the fights soon after stopped.
As it turns out, that was a good thing, because it led Rickels to kickboxing, and eventually mixed martial arts, where he's currently unbeaten at 10-0 after a 22-second knockout of Jordan Smith in the first round of the Bellator welterweight tournament.
Unlike Kimbo, Rickels didn't gain any underground fame for his backyard fighting exploits, and no video of him exists on the internet, but he still recognizes the time as a springboard to his current success.
"I’ve always been into the whole fighting thing," he told MMA Fighting. "We did it for fun. We used to just brawl in the backyard and see who was the toughest that day. It was the thing to do back in the day. Then I eventually started training for real. I had wrestled for a couple years but I really wasn’t into it that much. I was more into the party scene at the time, unfortunately. But I ended up joining a gym, working hard, and now I’m here."