“Fighting Back – The Story of Houston Stout”
It was 4:02 pm Sunday Sept. 15, unbeknownst to me Houston Stout was in the labor and delivery room just moments away from welcoming his little girl into the world. It was that moment I sent him a message asking for an interview for this very article. He took the time to send me a quick message explaining where he was and we put the interview on hold.
The irony of my request in that very moment is only fitting to a man that has endured in his 28 years of life a dramatic existence and story very worthy of daytime drama.
His earliest memories begin at the age of 4 when his mom, whom he did not really know well, rushed into a family member’s home trying to save him and his three older sisters from his father that had taken all four kids into hiding. “I bit her and then ran and hid, that is about the only memory I have of my mom,” Stout said. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have run into her arms.” Stouts mother made it away with his three sisters, but the father ran with Stout. This marked the beginning of a life in hiding, a life on the run, and a childhood marred with physical abuse from his father – a man accused of molesting his three sisters.
Stout and his father moved around a lot, living mostly in mobile homes at run down campgrounds. “I never went to school, not a single day of my life,” said Stout. “My dad never put me in school because we’d have to show identification and since he was in hiding he wouldn’t allow me to go.”
The one positive thing Stout said he learned from his father was his love of boxing. “My dad and my grandpa were both Army boxers,” said Stout. “My dad bought me my first pair of boxing gloves when I was 6 and he taught me how to box.”
It was Stout’s courage to fight that helped him escape his father at the age of 16. “I finally ran away from home,” he said. “I had some emotional problems when I first left my dad since I was just tossed into the real world with no guidance or understanding and all I wanted was a family I had never known.” He married at the age of 19 and had 2 sons, now 7 and 8 years-old. The marriage later ended in divorce.
To cope with life, Stout turned to boxing and mixed martial arts. “Anytime there was a problem with life, my dad would run, so it kind of instilled in me the undesirable trait of running from my problems and I wanted something to help me stand in front of a problem and beat it,” said Stout.
And beat it, he did. Stout has come a long way from his life on the run, treading new ground alongside Bartlesville’s YMCA. “I am proud to say I am the first guy to have a YMCA sponsored mixed martial arts class ever,” said Stout. “When I wanted to begin the class, YMCA employees searched the database and couldn’t find that it had ever been done.”
Stout’s most crowning achievement in his MMA career is actually a fight he lost. “For my very first cage fight I drove from Oklahoma to Cincinnati to fight because at the time we didn’t have amateur fights in Oklahoma,” he said. “My opponent wasn’t there, and the only guy available was the next weight class higher and I fought him and I just remember it was the craziest experience and it wasn’t fear but was a weird feeling that came over me. It was like in slow motion, like the sound I heard when they latched the door and then the fight started and this dude came flying across the cage like he wanted to kill me. He threw a hard punch on me and I picked him up and was carrying him around the ring and he wrapped on a guillotine choke. It was within the first 15 seconds of this fight and he wound up choking me for a little over 2 minutes and I’d go limp and relax and he’d get tired and I’d take a breath and I nearly lost consciousness. I first realized I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear things, then the crowd noises began to fade. I remember thinking get out now, it was a do or die moment and somehow my body listened and I popped my head out at that moment. I was so loopy from the choke and when I finally popped my head out, I just sat there.” Stout lost that fight just moments later by an armbar submission. But in Stout’s mind, he knew he was winning his life back.
Stout went on to become at professional MMA fighter and I wish I could say that’s the end of the story and it’s all glitter and glam, but it’s never been that easy for Stout. He started his pro career undefeated and won his first professional belt on his second fight but it went downhill from there. “I fought a guy that was ranked 81st in the world and blew out my shoulder in the second round and fought him one armed for two more rounds but ultimately lost that fight, said Stout. Stout went through rehab and entered the ring once more. “The very next fight a guy almost put out my eyeball,” he said. The result of that fight was 14 months of rehab and four surgeries on his eye. Stout is healthy now and ready to fight back. “I’d like to someday get into the UFC, it’s not easy and would be a long shot,” he said.
His long term goal is to eventually teach the sport he loves so well. “Ultimately, no matter how my fighting goes I want to open a self-supporting MMA school somewhere,” said Stout.
Stout was victorious in his last Rage in the Cage OKC fight on Oct. 5th where he took down Tulsa’s Jeremy Mier.
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