Sparring with Don Fry. Funny story.

It so happens that my introduction to Steve Owens came at a time when the International Fight league was still around and Don Fry was the captain of the Tucson, AZ based Scorpions. Steve is a long time Judo practitioner and happened to know my gym partner, Rich Moss, through the local Judo tournaments and the such. Coincidently, Steve happens to be long time friend of Don Fry and assistant coach of the Tucson Scorpions.

I had just been cleared to fight after my brain surgery and was actually in a good spot. The UFC had offered me a fight with Din Thomas, Bodog was offering me a contract (which I eventually took as it was the most financially lucrative) and the IFL was offering me a spot with Don Fry's Scorpions thanks to my introduction to Steve Owens. Fry was also in need of a 185lb fighter for his team, so upon hearing about this I suggested one of the fighters I was training, Seth Baczynski, would be a good pick for the spot. Don agreed to consider Seth if he would be willing to do some sparring with Don and team member Mike Whitehead. We agreed and off to Tucson for training we were. This is where the fun begins.

Seth, my friend Cade, a giant Mexican named Joe (he's 6'5" 250lbs), and myself arrived at the Tucson Scorpions training center and were greeted by Steve and Don. Mike Whitehead was in the back somewhere with a scowl on his face warming up. For those that don't know him, that is generally the face Whitehead chooses to wear. Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary, accept for the fact that Don was wearing purple spandex that went from his waist to his ankles and a pair of wrestling shoes. Nothing else, although he did have enough chest hair to be mistaken for a sweater.

Cade, and myself went over to warm up and do some technique with Ed West, whom I would have been replacing had I decided to join the Scorpions. Seth was wrapping his hands and asked if they were going to be wearing head gear?

"Of course we are wearing head gear. Were going to be hitting each other in the face", Don replied with his grumbling voice.

Suited up they were, and Seth foolishly began to shadow box and warm up.

"Save your energy for the ring, boy", Don told Seth and Seth obliged the man that was now wearing wrestling shoes, purple tights, and head gear. Don's head looked like a smurf with a moustache. His head gear was so tight that it made his already red face turn a shade of purple or maybe blue. To make it better, when ever Don would grumble something, his moustache would move up and down. You couldn't really see his mouth though, so it looked like a purple face with a stache and two eyes.

Cade, Ed and I were keeping an inconspicuous watch on the ring to see what was going on, but we were supposed to be working out too, so we didn't pull chairs up to the ring and take out some popcorn.

The sparring began and Seth was in first with Don. Seth looked like a deer in headlights at first. To say Seth was a little nervous would be an atrocious understatement. He was in the ring, sparring with the Don Fry. Nevertheless, Seth was doing pretty well flicking some jabs at Don which snapped his purple smurf stache face back a few times. Don was no longer interested in "working" and began to throw some good bombs at Seth's head. The two exchanged some good shots and Don finished the round pinning Seth in the corner of the ring going punch for punch.

After the round ended Don asked, "what size gloves are those, 10's?"

Seth replied, "16 oz".

"Don't lie to me boy those are tiny. Steve get me some smaller gloves." Don called out. "Kid's trying to take my head off or something." All the time winking at everyone around as if he's letting you in on

Round 2 began for Seth and he was now in there with Mike Whitehead, who probably out weighed Seth by about 40 pounds. Mike is swinging at Seth like Seth said something bad about his mother and even threw in a double leg takedown for good measure even though this was, to Seth's knowledge, just boxing sparring.

Don screamed at everyone and anyone in the gym, "STOP, STOP!"

"We need a ref! We need a God Damn referee in here!"

I certainly didn't want any part of what was going on in the ring, so I was trying not to make eye contact with the giant angry man running this show.

"You." He said, pointing at me. "Come here you little pencil neck faggot, get your ass in here and referee this shit!"

Well, that was my cue, and in to the ring I went. The round was reset and punching resumed. After a minute or so Seth and Whitehead clinched and I yelled, "Break!", putting my hands on each of their shoulders. I broke them up from clinching as much as I could, but it began to get a little dirty in the clinch.

The round ended and Fry, screamed at me, Come here! When you break us up you get your ass in between us and fu@#ing' break us up! Were trying to hurt each other in there it's a God Damn dog fight in there. You got me?"

After a couple more rounds of them putting Seth through the gauntlet he got to sit a round out and Don and Mike were showing each other how much they care for one another by exchanging right hands to the face, neither caring much for defense.

Seth was back in against Mike and Mike seemed to be tiring a bit. The round begins, and Seth is starting to land some good shots on Mike. Annoyed, Mike starts to go back to wrestling and is tripping Seth in almost every clinch (Seth has pretty good wrestling now, but during the sparring session Seth couldn't score a takedown on a three year old). The dirty clinch work of Whitehead came to a boiling point when he hip tossed Seth over the top rope and out of the ring.

I don't know how Don did it, but he somehow jumped over the top rope of the ring so fast it seemed like he teleported in the middle of the ring. This is even more amazing as both of Don's knees are shot and he doesn't do anything too fast.

"What the hell are you doing?", screamed Don to Mike. "You don't do that shit! You get out of my gym, you get out of Tucson, and you get the hell out of Arizona! You're off my fu$%ing team!"

The training session was officially over at this point and after a few minutes Whitehead began packing his things. Seth was completely exhausted wondering what the hell was going on. Cade and I were exchanging those "Wow this was completely crazy" glances back and forth and Big Joe was hiding out somewhere to not be involved in any of the calamity. All of us where in complete amazement of what had just happened.

A few minutes later Cade, Seth, Big Joe and I were sitting around in an awkward silence and Don came out of the back room.

"I'm sorry" he said in a loud voice. "This was all my fault and I'm sorry. I let this get out of hand. Mike get your ass back over here. You're not off the team."

As we were collecting our things to head back to Phoenix, Don mumbled to Seth, "Ya got heart kid." And gave him a wink for the road.

Check out my website for more ridiculous stories. I have some about Joe Riggs, Drew Fickett and others that will be up soon at

(I added another Riggs story for those that were asking on the UG--a re-write of an old story I posted here)


fickett has crazy stories:) really?

 Greattt read :-)


 Voted up for a great story and great writing. Don Frye rules.


that was a good read. lol, don is a character.

"Check out my website for more ridiculous stories. I have some about Joe Riggs, Drew Fickett and others that will be up soon at "

No need to keep them there.Go ahead and post them here where more people can read them.

Great story and Fry is one of my favorite characters of all time.


 Hahaha that is awesome man (and really fucked up)

Thanks for sharing the good laugh!


 TTT, Great story.

 TTT, Great story.



lol, Don Frye is a bull with big ass balls

that is a true man's man

That was very fun to read, Thank You.

yeah that was a crazy trip. i remember thinking around that time damn all my boys are getting in to the big shows.

seth is crazy tuff.

don is crazy nuts.

whitehead is cranky.

seth is really funny and him and frye were great together. both very quick whitted and have a sharp tongue. don treated him like a loving step son or something.

my favorite quote from frye was (in the deepest voice imaginable) "enuff of that defense shit, take one to give one." meaning let him hit u and then u hit em back. classic frye

btw, this was no sparring session, whitehead was trying to kill seth for some reason. but seth can hold his own w anybody in standup so it made for some very interesting "sparring"