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NYT Profiles Gay Ex-Con Ultimate Fighter Shad Smith


The New York Times magazine profiles ultimate fighter Shad Smith, who says he learned his craft as a response to how he felt the people around him might perceive him:

"...most of Smith’s childhood fights took place outside the ring, on the streets and at his instigation. He used to wear his hair in a mohawk as a tribute to the professional tag-team wrestlers the Road Warriors and prowl the neighborhood looking for fights. 'I was just mad-dogging everyone' — staring them down — 'until somebody said something, and then I’d put my hands up and start fighting.' He said he had 46 counts of assault and battery as a juvenile. 'And that’s 46 counts posted on me. Can you imagine how many there actually were?' I asked Smith why he spent so much of his youth looking for trouble. I expected some sort of clichéd, though possibly true, explanation — a difficult childhood or a Napoleon complex. What I didn’t expect him to say was, 'You know, bro, the sexual-preference thing.' Smith is gay, and I know of no other professional fighter who is openly so. 'I was always scared that my mom and dad would find out and wouldn’t like me, and my brothers wouldn’t like me,' he said. 'I was petrified, because I didn’t want anyone to find out. And I would try to be the toughest person around. That way, no one would suspect, no one would ever say it, no one would think it.'"

Gladiator [nyt]
(photos by Andres Serrano)

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  1. And Let the perverted comments from the Towleroad readers begin....

    Posted by: Jake | Mar 24, 2008 12:58:37 PM

  2. No gay-basher in his right mind would ever, but they'll pick on some poor interior decorator.

    Hope he didn't become an Ayrian nation member in the California prisons.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 24, 2008 1:00:21 PM

  3. This dude is kick ass cool.

    Posted by: JavierJ | Mar 24, 2008 1:00:50 PM

  4. What perverted comments, Jake? He's a big boy, and tough as hell-- he can handle it. Lord, some of you ancient Greek type homos just kill me. Y'll got some ancient Sparta "Male Purity" fantasy goin'.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 24, 2008 1:15:56 PM

  5. ...he could beat my meat anytime.

    Posted by: ken | Mar 24, 2008 1:22:21 PM

  6. my darlings, i love my husband and am true to him but with his consent i would freely give my body to this beautiful man Shad for one night only of incredible, unforgettable homo passion which would leave him on his knees in tears begging me for more...

    Posted by: the queen | Mar 24, 2008 1:35:59 PM

  7. How often are the biggest bullies (assuming we can characterize this man's former self as such) the ones with something, e.g., same-sex attraction, to hide?

    Posted by: GM | Mar 24, 2008 1:36:21 PM

  8. GM,

    I didn't think about that. I hope he wasn't beating up us (not you, but me) poor queens when he was a young thug. I didn't think about that.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 24, 2008 1:40:11 PM

  9. It proves that GLBT people come in all shapes and sizes and different backgrounds.

    We ALL could learn a lesson or two from him.

    Posted by: Allen | Mar 24, 2008 1:51:32 PM

  10. I've seen him fight on film and he is very good on the ground, great wrestler.

    Posted by: Lee | Mar 24, 2008 1:54:46 PM

  11. What an interesting article...though some of the descriptions turned my stomach!

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 24, 2008 2:13:47 PM

  12. Overcompensating a tad? I think there is more to his fighting than he says, perhaps anger management issues and he was slapped around as a kid.

    I believe that studies have shown that many male bullies have homoerotic tendencies even if they don't identify as gay. However, their excitement may stem from the thrill of beating people up rather than from a normative sexuality. In other words, they might be homosadists rather than homosexuals.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 24, 2008 2:18:35 PM

  13. Two words: HUSBAND MATERIAL.

    Posted by: abracadaver | Mar 24, 2008 2:32:55 PM

  14. It was a great article. Let's hope he stays out of prison and leads a cleaner life. He's really hot! That cauliflower ear is a bit strange, though.

    Posted by: Jack M | Mar 24, 2008 2:34:30 PM

  15. Taking bets that in bed he is a total bottom.


    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Mar 24, 2008 3:03:07 PM

  16. I concur, Jimyboyo. As I said, husband material!

    Posted by: abracadaver | Mar 24, 2008 3:14:11 PM

  17. It's possible, JIMMY. But if he is, you better hit that thing just right. If you don't know what you're doing your life could be in danger...or atleast your jaw. Only a hightly skilled "top" should apply.

    Oh, maybe these are the "perverted comments" Jake was predicting. Oh, so what!

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 24, 2008 3:14:26 PM

  18. LOL Abra

    ROFLMAO Derrick :-)

    A power bottom, no doubt

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Mar 24, 2008 5:10:03 PM

  19. It didn't sound like he was targeting anyone in particular, but picking fights with whoever would fight him. I imagine him fighting other youth in the same position... but who knows. I do agree that it reflects abuse at home; you don't just assume that your parents will reject you, or just come up with a bunch of rage and violence out of nowhere.

    Posted by: oakling | Mar 24, 2008 5:53:30 PM

  20. It's a very interesting article which shows just how diverse the gay community is.

    I find whole world of ultimate fighting to be disturbing though. I have no doubt that promoters would put fights to the death on pay per view if they could. Just because something has a huge following, of people who get off on extreme violence, and just because it makes some people (usually NOT the fighters themselves) a lot of money, it doesn't make it a good thing.

    Posted by: Zeke | Mar 24, 2008 6:38:04 PM

  21. I'm saddened that someone is so hurt on the inside that they have to lash out and hurt others. And, while sanctioned, legal, or quasi-legal, this kind of physical violence is repugnant.

    Posted by: Brandon | Mar 24, 2008 6:50:14 PM

  22. It's nice to see somebody standing up for themselves, not being a victim. Hopefully, he will continue focusing on constructive endeavours and keep his fightin in the ring.

    Posted by: TMJ | Mar 24, 2008 9:44:02 PM

  23. hell, I'll take this guy over the weeping T.R. Knight any day!! finally a gay guy whose first instinct isn't to tear up! Bravo

    Posted by: JustNotTR | Mar 25, 2008 6:15:26 PM

  24. I adore Shad Smith. He's a truly accomplished MMA and a formidable opponent. Shad and his bf Jesse are very sweet people. I think it's great that Shad is out in the open and totally ok with it.

    Posted by: larjenn | Aug 27, 2008 9:37:45 AM

  25. i meet shad around the same time this whole rape thing started, actually the same weekend, and i can honestly say that i know he didnt rape him, the guy seen this fine ass man and was fully aware of what was going on . he stayed the whole weekend at my house and nothing to the lines of rape was ever crossed he was very concerning and trustworthy, i would trust this man with my life, i have recently lost touch with shad but miss him alot and if you read this shad hit me up (541)591-1303

    Posted by: LiL SmItH | Jan 25, 2009 5:36:57 PM

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