Let's face it, being a professional cage-fighter -- or even the kind of person who becomes one -- pretty much guarantees you've got some interesting stories. From straightforward fight-career bios by Chuck and Randy to war stories (literally) from Brian Stann and lunatic survival guides from Forrest, fighters' books can teach you a lot.
There will be plenty of tomes on display at
the UFC Fan Expo in Boston August 27 and 28 -- have Forrest sign your tome at the BSN booth or his own station; track down Brian Stann for an autograph, then swing by the US Marines display to see a smidge of what he went through. Below, a few manly masterpieces to get your library started.
Be Ready When the Sh*t Goes Down: Forrest Griffin's Survival Guide to the Apocalypse by Forrest Griffin and Erich Krauss - Yes, just a year after his first masterpiece went live, Forrest Griffin penned another book to unveil even more of his uncommon self-help knowledge. Griffin's second opus is filled with an almost illegal amount of testosterone and, of course, comedy. Imagine John Rambo orated his "worst case scenario" manifesto to "Fight Club" writer Chuck Palahniuk and then was rewritten by a guy who wanted to make fighting men in cages his day job. This book is a how-to guide for manning up and hunkering down to wait out an apocalypse brought on by a nuclear blast, an asteroid attack, a Viking god war, and more, each life-ending scenario described in loving detail.
Good choice if you like: World War Z, David Sedaris
Heart for the Fight: A Marine Hero's Journey from the Battlefields of Iraq to Mixed Martial Arts Champion by Brian Stann and John R. Bruning - During the tenure of the WEC's light-heavyweight Championship belt, there were seven different men who had held the title and only one of them has also received a Silver Star for valor: Brian Stann. Most fight fans know of Stann for his impressive 5 fight first round KO win streak in WEC. In Stann's autobiography fans will learn the harrowing details of his two tours of in Iraq and the court case that nearly sidelined his career -- the same one that led him into the world of MMA. At just 30 years old, "All American" Stann is a former WEC Champion, current UFC fighter, a marine and a national hero.
Good choice if you like: Military journalism, America
Iceman: My Fighting Life by Chuck Liddell and Chad Millman - Arguably the greatest knockout artist in UFC history, Chuck Liddell tells his life story from growing up in the poor section of Santa Barbara, California to his early days of training and fighting through his vaunted UFC light-heavyweight Championship title run. The book also details Liddell's life outside of the cage like being a father, friendship with Dana White, rivalry with Tito Ortiz and, most importantly, why "The Iceman" has a mohawk.
Good choice if you like: Sin City (the movie), that cool old guy at the bar with all the best stories
This Is Gonna Hurt: The Life of a Mixed Martial Arts Champion by Tito Ortiz - If you have watched the UFC once in the past decade then even you know who Tito Ortiz is. Brash, unapologetic, controversial and strangely charismatic, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" gives a glimpse behind his bold exterior in this personal account of his, at times, infamous fighting career. Ortiz's tale is an inspirational one, being born into a drug fueled environment and early brushes with the law, but, eventually, is saved by wrestling and his competitive desire to win inside the UFC cage. Ortiz shows a different side of himself in this book - a less bleach blonde, ground and pounding, middle finger flipping side.
Good choice if you like: California, Slash's autobiography
Becoming the Natural: My Life In and Out of the Cage by Randy Couture - With age comes wisdom and Randy Couture is very old and, thankfully, very wise. In Couture's autobiography, he explains what originally drew him to wrestling and how that would lead him to his eventual Mixed Martial Arts career starting at the late age of 33 and in that same year would win his first of 6 UFC Championship belts. Age is just a number to Couture as he would reinvent himself at 40 to win the UFC light-heavyweight title and later move back to heavyweight to claim that belt at the ripe age of 43. Respect your elders.
Good choice if you like: John Wayne, New Year's resolutions
Made in America: The Most Dominant Champion in UFC History by Matt Hughes and Michael Malice - Matt Hughes' life story is a slice of Americana apple pie with a lot more elbows from the side-mount position. From his humble beginnings on the family farm in Hillsboro, Illinois to his UFC Hall of Fame career, Hughes discusses everything a fan could want to know about this iconic UFC fighter. Hughes leaves no doors unopened when talking of his youth, famed wrestling pedigree, training with Pat Miletich, winning and defending the UFC Welterweight Championship, coaching on The Ultimate Fighter, and, even more personal topics, like religion, family and his wife's implants.
Good choice if you like: Vision quest, your fraternity
Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat by Forrest Griffin and Erich Krauss - In what can only be described as a twisted amalgamation of life lessons, fighting techniques and graphic accounts of conquest and failure from, UFC fan favorite, Forrest Griffin. This is easily the funniest book with a cage-fighter's face on the cover (or maybe his other book), Griffin mixes together a potpourri of anecdotes detailing his fighting career as well as tactics for, hopefully, fantastical scenarios like defending yourself from a sword attack. The book is dripping with sarcasm and self-depricating humor, but never forget Griffin is a former UFC light-heavyweight Champion, so he may actually know what he is talking about.
Good choice if you like: Graphic novels, Ritalin
Little Evil: One Ultimate Fighter's Rise to the Top by Jens Pulver and Erich Krauss - Easily one of the most respected and beloved fighters in UFC history is former lightweight Champion Jens Pulver. There are 20 other wins on Pulver's record, but none is more incredible than his decision victory over the unstoppable B.J. Penn for the UFC's lightweight title. In what many saw as a fight he could not win, Lil' Evil did what he'd done his whole life -- battle seemingly insurmountable odds. This book is an emotionally gripping journey of a modern-day Sisyphus struggling against abuse, alcoholism, personal tragedy and, lastly, overcoming those problems to be a better person and a UFC Champion.
Good choice if you like: WEC fights, Lifetime movies (in secret)