When We Were Bouncers
Here's the description from their Facebook page:
WHEN WE WERE BOUNCERS recounts the best on-the-job stories of famous/established former security personnel in the words of the subjects themselves. From TV and movie stars to UFC champions, from professional comedians to firefighters, from pro wrestlers to organized crime figures, WWWB garners some of the CRAZIEST true-life stories that you'll ever hear! Soon to be a full-length e-book, stay tuned!
Here's this week's edition:
I’m going to have to keep this description of Pat “The Croatian Sensation” Miletich short, because if I enumerate every awesome thing that he has accomplished, this entry will be ten pages long!
A lifelong wrestler, Pat entered the sport of No Holds Barred aka NHB (later to be renamed as Mixed Martial Arts/MMA) in the mid-90s, and through numerous no-weight-limit fights against opponents who often held a major size advantage, quickly cemented his status as one of the absolute baddest dudes throughout the American midwest. And for anyone who knows what a breeding ground of killers that area was (and still is), that is saying a LOT.
His rise continued all the way to the UFC, where he became an international star via five world championship victories between 1998 and 2001 (six if you count a tournament victory at UFC 16).
In recent years I had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing and hanging out with Pat, and I can personally attest to his being one of the nicest, most respectful, most humble guys who you would never, ever, EVER want to •••• with.
Today he works as a highly sought-after commentator for a number of MMA organizations, and remains one of the most successful and respected trainers in the history of his chosen sport.
But before notching all of those victories and accolades, Pat Miletich was just a hard-headed bouncer keeping the peace in the roadhouses and nightclubs of his native Iowa.
Back in the early 90s, I was working with two other bouncers at a club whose name I forget -- it was up on the hill in Davenport [Iowa], on Harrison St. The place was owned by a guy named Little Joe, who also owned a bunch of strip clubs in the area. For some reason, Joe thought it would be a good idea for this particular club that I was working at to have a Hip-Hop Night.
Now, I warned him against it, since there was a lot of gang activity in the area and I figured there’d be a lot of fights and stuff, but he went on ahead with his idea and had his first Hip-Hop night during a massive snowstorm. Sure enough, a bunch of gang-bangers from nearby Rock Island [Illinois] -- which we used to call “Little Chicago” -- rolled in, along with some other bad guys from Davenport. Pretty soon the place was packed, with me and the other two bouncers being the only white guys in the joint.
It didn’t take long before some rival gangs got into it, and of course the three of us had to dive in to try to break it up. But the crowd didn’t take too kindly to some white boys trying to break up their fight, and so they all joined forces against us!
As soon as the brawl kicked off, I had no idea what was happening to the other bouncers because I was totally preoccupied with fending for myself. Right away I got clamped in a side headlock by somebody, which actually ended up working in my favour because the guy’s head was pressed against mine and protected me on that side.
A lot of the guys were wearing their coats inside, so I was able to fight back by grabbing them by their jackets. Every time I got hold of someone, I’d pull him in and put his head on one side of mine with the headlock-guy’s head still pressed against the other. That protected me on both sides, and it kept anybody from getting clean shots on me.
Who I had by the jacket, I’d pull his lapel across his throat and choke him unconscious with it. Then I’d drop him, grab another guy, and repeat the process. I left a trail of four or five bodies as I worked my way toward the door, with the dummy who was headlocking me never realizing that he was helping me out the whole time. When I finally got to the door, I slid backwards out of the headlock and snatched the guy in a standing rear choke, then backed outside while using him as a human shield.
In spite of the giant snowstorm, a bunch of the gang-bangers were already outside, waiting to jump any bouncer who made it out of the club. I kept my head down as they swarmed me, and dragged my guy out to the middle of the street by which point he’d gone completely limp.
I was just letting him slide out of my arms, when someone came up on my blind side and smashed me in the side of the head with a brick! Lucky for me, I instinctively managed to roll with it, and even though it put a pretty good lump on my head it didn’t hurt me too bad.
The guy yelled out “YEAH!!!”, thinking that a shot that solid would put me down, but I just turned around and looked at him and his jaw dropped like he’d seen a damn ghost! (laughs) He didn’t even have time to raise his hands as I rifled a straight right into his face, and he was still collapsing to the pavement when three squad cars came flying up the street.
The cops barely managed to get out of their cruisers before the crowd had them completely surrounded, and then I realized that I was the only bouncer who’d even made it out of the club. It was just me, five cops and three German Shepherds standing in an outward-facing circle, surrounded by swirling snow and a hundred screaming, cussing people trying to attack us from all sides.
Somehow, we managed to hold them off until enough additional cops arrived to get things under control, but to this day I still think about how ugly that scene could have gotten. Thankfully, the other two bouncers ended up being okay, and I went home that night with nothing worse than a big lump on the side of my head.
A while later, I go to a big house party at a buddy’s place in an upscale area of Davenport that we called “The Heights”. Really wealthy families living in big mansions, stuff like that. The house has a big pool out back and we spend the day lounging around it, drinking and swimming and whatever.
In the late afternoon, this one dummy decides he wants to start a fight. Now, even though me and my friends are not officially bouncing at this party, we still consider ourselves responsible for keeping any idiots from spoiling the fun. So one of my buddies beats the guy up pretty good, and the guy turns tail, gets in his car, and leaves. Within minutes, we’ve forgotten about the whole thing, and we continue on for a few more hours until things wind down to just me and four guys drinking beer in the garage.
It’s just starting to get dark when two cars come tearing up the street and screech to a stop in front of the house. I hear a bunch of car doors slamming, and then nine guys holding baseball bats come marching up the driveway! Right away, one of my buddies jumps up and hits the switch to close the garage door, and the rest of us start looking around for stuff to help us even the odds.
There’s a couple of those big wicker Jai-Alai paddles hanging on wall pegs, so two guys immediately grab those. Now that I think of it, that might be a world record for the first time that Jai-Alai equipment was used in a street fight! (laughs) I pick up a pitchfork out of the corner, the other guys arm up with whatever they can find, and then I say, “Okay, open the door!”
The door opens and we walk right out, and the nine guys start backing down the driveway a little. That gives us the high ground because the driveway’s on an angle, and since I’m in the front I start lunging and feinting with the pitchfork at the two guys closest to me. Those dumb bastards are standing so close together that they can’t swing their baseball bats without hitting each other, so I keep jabbing at them until I have the timing and distance right. Then I drop the pitchfork -- because I’m not looking to commit murder here -- launch myself at them, and clothesline them both to the ground.
I land on top and start pounding on them both, but right away I feel one guy get ripped out from underneath me and lifted up. I look up to see my buddy Wally -- who’s an incredibly strong guy, around my size but a lot thicker -- picking this guy up and dumping him right on his head. The guy’s knocked out immediately but Wally starts punting him anyway, while all around us it’s baseball bats and knuckles and Jai-Alai paddles flying around everywhere. CHAOS.
Wally’s still punting his guy when another dork runs up and swings a bat at Wally’s midsection. But Wally just lifts up his arm and flexes his lat muscle, and the bat bounces right off Wally’s lat! Seriously! He takes the damn thing like it’s nothing, and then hits the guy with a right hand and knocks him clean out.
By now I’ve finished my guy and moved on to another. I’ve got him down on the ground and I’m beating the •••• out of him, and suddenly he starts screaming “MY LEGS! MY LEGS!” I’m kind of puzzled by this because I’ve been punching him in the face, but then I look over my shoulder and see that the smallest and craziest of my buddies, a guy named Greg Bates -- we used to call him “Master” Bates -- is stabbing the guy in the legs with the pitchfork. Not just poking the guy, mind you -- STABBING him. I have to reach over and snatch the damn thing out of Greg’s hands to keep him from killing the guy!
A minute later, only one of their guys is still conscious. He’s crawling on his hands and knees in the middle of the street while me, Wally, and a guy named Bob Franks take turns kicking him in the head. Just as he’s finally fading away into Dreamland I notice colored lights moving over his body, and I look up to see squad cars racing up the street toward us.
The cops come skidding up and it’s like a war zone -- bleeding, unconscious bodies all over the place with baseball bats, pitchforks and Jai-Alai paddles scattered everywhere. One of the cops looks around for a minute, and then looks at me and asks what happened. But at that moment all the beer in my stomach combines with the huge adrenaline dump I’m experiencing, and instead of explaining the situation I turn and vomit all over the sidewalk! (laughs)
Thankfully, the police accept our side of the story, and my friends and I all get off scott-free. So the cops call a couple of ambulances to clean up the bodies while me and my buddies call it a night and go home.
Good party. (laughs)