Not too long ago, an acquaintance asked me how I became a mixed martial arts (MMA) writer.
My answer? By accident.
It was 2006 and I was at home, enjoying the real estate boom and selling houses without much effort. In between contracts, I would keep myself busy by writing about pro wrestling part-time for PW Insider (PWI) in their fan post section.
It wasn't a paying gig, but it was a place to vent.
Then one of the editors sent out a mass Email, asking if anyone knew anything about MMA. They wanted to hitch their wagon to the horses of popularity and I was pretty well versed in PRIDE Fighting Championship. Again, it was a "boom," so I didn't have to work that hard at home, giving me lots of time to waste on myself.
As a result, I would crank out PRIDE posts -- sprinkled in with some UFC stuff -- from time to time.
Because the MMA programming schedule was a fraction of what it is today, I continued to push out the pro wrestling pieces and wanted to do a feature on Paul Bearer, manager of WWE's "Undertaker" and "Kane," among others, because his website is a treasure trove of old-school memories and amazingly candid photos.
Like this one.
The front page of his photo gallery has the usual disclaimer, which is basically "Hey, this shit belongs to Percy Pringle, so don't use it unless we say it's okay." Well, I wanted to use it, so I contacted the webmaster and asked if I could pillage his site and brag about "Story Time with Percy."
He Emailed back: "Uh ... I better check with Bill."
The next day, he informed me that I could indeed help myself to anything I saw, because (and I'm paraphrasing), "Bill said this stuff was meant to be shared." Man, I was fucking amped. I couldn't wait to get in there and start assembling a collage of pics and anecdotes.
Except I never did.
At 11:56 p.m. that very same night, I got an Email from some bloke named "Tom" (not the MySpace guy) who just started a UFC blog and was looking for contributors -- except he couldn't pay me and I was forbidden from writing about pro wrestling. It was hardly a sweet deal and to be frank, I'm not sure why the hell I even took it.
That was almost seven years ago and I've been working with Tom every day since (for better and for worse).
In hindsight, it was the "write" move (har har), because he was able to start paying me just as the housing market collapsed, which meant you had to actually be good at selling houses to make money. I wasn't. I'm not good at selling anything, but I can form complete sentences and (usually) connect with my readers.
I never thought about that Percy Pringle piece I left behind, until he died earlier this week.
Remembering how excited I was to get the go-ahead to share his rich history of pro wrestling, I regret not writing it before leaving PWI. Maybe if that site (pre-spyware) wasn't like a game of digital whack-a-mole, where you had to try to shut down as many pop-up windows as possible in a span of 30 seconds -- just to get to the home page -- perhaps I would have.
But I didn't, and I'm sad because of it.
Maybe now is the chance to make up for it. I know a majority of hardcore marks have probably already been there, but a lot of casual fans may have missed it. Be sure to check out his stories here and his photo gallery here. Hell, while you're there, check out the whole kit and kaboodle.
It's easy to see why Bill Moody was one of the most beloved men in the business.