MINOT AIR FORCE BASE Airmen at Minot Air Force Base had the opportunity recently to meet world champion cage fighter Chris Lytle and renowned comedian and musician Jim Peters, while they toured the base as part of the continuing Global Strike Command American300 Never Quit Series Tour here.
Lytle, a recently retired cage fighter, firefighter, husband and father of four, felt the need to visit with Minot airmen because he wanted to "make sure they know we appreciate what they do".
Lytle unknowingly began his career in fighting by hanging out with the older kids in school, usually getting into fights because his friends were always able to talk him into it. From there, Lytle participated in wrestling and boxing. He graduated with a degree in sports management and went on to work as a personal trainer for two years.
When his gym went out of business, he sought work as a firefighter. He had always dreamed of being one and was determined to make it happen. Eventually he made it into the career field, but it wasn't easy.
"The first time I applied to be a firefighter, I was turned away because of the psychological examination results," said Lytle. "They didn't like the fact that I had a background in fighting and also thought my having many different jobs in a short amount of time was a negative indication of my work ethic. I wanted to give up but decided to try again."
Upon his second attempt, Lytle was accepted. While he loved firefighting, he needed more to provide for his family. He started fighting professionally in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1999 and quickly proved his abilities to the world.
In 2006, Lytle was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 4 on Spike, where he defeated Pete Spratt and Din Thomas in exhibition bouts to proceed to the welterweight finale. On Nov. 11, Matt Serra defeated Lytle by split decision in The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale. Lytle was the more active fighter on his feet, with Serra tying up and using foot stomps until he got takedowns, at which time he became the more active fighter, with Lytle holding guard and seemingly waiting for the referee to stand the fight up. Two judges scored the bout 30-27 for Serra and one judge scored the fight 30-27 for Lytle, but despite the scores the match was very close.
Lytle said he wanted to quit fighting after this loss. He was devastated at the amount of time and effort he put into the competition, only to lose in such a close match. While he toyed with the idea of leaving the fighting world, Lytle would try once again, only with a different attitude.
Lytle stated that he had a new outlook on fighting; he would no longer pursue an overly-technical approach to each fight, but would go into his next fight and "not be afraid to lose."
Lytle discussed his perseverance with airmen to show them that no matter what, as long as you put everything you have into it, you can do and achieve anything. He said airmen here should really take advantage of their location.
"If I were here, I'd do so many different things I wouldn't normally have time for," he said. "I'd take guitar lessons; learn a language anything I've ever wanted to do. You have the time, so take advantage of it."
Peters, the other visitor on the tour, supported a series of events held on base, including a night at J.R. Rockers. The comedian took the stage for an hour speaking of his experiences growing up as a musician. Peters provided humor and entertainment everywhere he visited during his tour.
Speakers on the Air Force Global Strike Command "Never Quit" series in the past have included Olympic and XGames athletes: Sean Colgan, Dan Beery, Mike Schultz, Erin Simmons and Kurt Yaeger, as well as military members such as former Army ranger "Mad Max" Mullen, and William "Spanky" Gibson, the first above knee amputee to redeploy with his prosthetic to the fronts lines in Iraq. The unpaid volunteer speakers are reimbursed only for travel and lodging expenses.
Air Force Global Strike Command recognizes the importance of airmen resiliency, morale and strength. American300 is only one of many command-wide initiatives aimed at improving mission performance in all areas and improving the quality of life for airmen.