Gary Goodridge Diagnosed with CTE/Pugilistic Dementia; Says No Regrets About His Fighting Life

February 13, 2012
22 Comments

Gary Goodridge K1 Hawaii
Former UFC, Pride and K-1 star Gary Goodridge has a new battle on his hands, but just like his fights in the cage or ring, he won’t go down without swinging.

Goodridge recently visited a top neuro-physician in Canada where he was diagnosed with early onset CTE/pugilistic dementia.

CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) by definition is brain damage caused by repeated head trauma, resulting in degeneration of brain tissue. It’s commonly found in boxers, football players, ice hockey players and other athletes who have suffered repeated traumatic shock to the head.

When Goodridge first got the news from his doctors, it shocked him like it would any other athlete, and it wasn’t easy to swallow.

“You get the news you just have to deal with it, live with it,” Goodridge told MMAWeekly.com on Monday. “There’s no treatment that goes along with it. There’s pills to make it slow down the process, but it’s inevitable.”

Goodridge, who just released his autobiography titled ‘Gatekeeper: The Fighting Life of Big Daddy Gary Goodridge‘, says that he would like to get the word out about the dangers of repeated concussions to other athletes.

He most specifically points to his kickboxing career that took off in 1999 and lasted until early the end of 2010.

“I would like to share with people, but I think most of my damage came from K-1. MMA really wasn’t an issue because there’s hardly any shots to the head,” said Goodridge. “90-percent of my injuries came from K-1, where there’s nothing but head trauma, head injuries over and over again.”

While some would feel bad for Goodridge going through the debilitating disease where there is no cure, he doesn’t want anyone’s pity because if he had his choice he’d do it all again.

Goodridge isn’t a man who lives with regret. Even on Monday when he was playing the new UFC Undisputed 3 with his daughter, watching her compete with his character on the game, he loves every minute of life he has and never looks back on anything with regret.

“I have no regrets,” said Goodridge. “I love the way I live my life, I mean I would like to make little changes, but no, I have no regrets. I loved the way my life was, I lived a good life, and I’m happy with what I did.”

Don’t expect Goodridge to slow down however. With his new book in release, Goodridge is also keeping very busy teaching seminars all over the world.

In April, Goodridge will travel to Australia to do a seminar and he’s always looking to share his secrets of kickboxing, ground and pound and everything he learned for the last two decades with the next crop of young fighters out there.

Gary Goodridge truly led a fighting life and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

For more information on his seminars or to speak to Gary Goodridge follow him on Twitter @BigDaddyFight


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  • Mario

    Sucks to hear..

    I remember watching an interview MMAweekly did with him a few months back, and it seemed like you guys edited a large chunk of what he was saying.

    He didn’t seem well then :(

    • Lesnardo

      I think more fighters will follow.

      Sakuraba, Nog, Wanderlei, just to name a few.

  • y-endo

    I’m Gary’s fan in japan and shocked to know the news. I like his aggressive fighting style and we japanese fans will never forget Gary’s exciting bouts.

    I pray for his health&recovery from the illness, may god bless him !

    • Lesnardo

      “I’m Gary’s fan in japan”

      Fan in Japan does mean anything since Japanese tend to love every fighter. Even Heath Herring got cheered over there.

      “I like his aggressive fighting style”

      You mean the one-sided beatings he took?

      “and we japanese fans will never forget Gary’s exciting bouts.”

      The freak-shows you mean.

      • elguapo

        Seriously? Is there any need to grief a guy for those comments? If he’s Japanese then assume English isn’t his first language, and the point he was making came across fine to me.

  • Lesnardo

    The predict the following statements from Dana White:

    First of all, Gary Goodrige was a K-1 guy. He even said himself that all the damages are from K-1 and not MMA. (fyi, this is hearsay).

    Second of all, Gary Goodrige was in Pride before we acquired Pride. Those crazy former Pride guys used to allow soccer kicks and knees to downed opponents. We don’t do that here. (but…they do allow elbows).

    Third of all, we simply won’t let fighters crumble away like how those other sleezy organizations did with Gary Goodrige. I force fighters to get checked before the fight and after the fight. And if the results come out badly, we don’t let them fight. Why? Because we care about the fighters. We really do…believe me. (“We care about fighters” EPIC!!).

    • Ememay

      That sounds like the right thing to say, and none of it is false.

      • Lesnardo

        “none of it is false”

        LOL! Oh I just love you guys on this board.

        • Ememay

          I am not one of “the guys on this board”. I’ll chime in on the occassional debate, but I haven’t left nearly as may posts as you have today. I’m getting dumber just addressing you.

          1 and 2 are true, 3 is arguable. UFC is the big, evil, faceless corporation. Of course their in it for money and appearances. Get over it.

  • Mma fanatic

    That’s a lot of **** talkin! Japanese respect every fighter because they realize that it takes aheart of a lion just to compete in Mma! Every fighter who enters the ring/cage is a winner! Care to say anything nice ?

    • Ememay

      Agreed. Lesnardo may have been watching MMA longer than most, but he’s another TapOut wearing meathead.

      • Lesnardo

        Far from it.

        I was being facetious because none of you guys see the big picture here.

        Gary will be the first of many fighters to come who will have such problems.

        Just to let you know Gary didn’t make anything in his MMA career.

        There is something wrong with that. Fighter protection should be first. By that I mean protecting fighters from getting financially exploited by promoters and making sure that they have enough money to live comfortably after their career comes to an end.

        I am not just talking about Gary. I am talking about guys like Mark Coleman who spent 15+ years in the sport and now broke.

        The UFC yall fanboys love to worship is to blame for most of the things that are happening.

        • Ememay

          The guy just got diagnosed with dementia. I know this the internet, but “facetious” probably isn’t the tone to use.

          You make some great points here. The NFL is guilty of the same, and it’s awful. What can we do about it? If you want to start a non-profit, I’ll support it.

          I met Don Frye at an airport. Good to know he just walked away from the sport altogether, though he’ll never get paid his due.

          • Lesnardo

            I apologize. I feel bad for the dude. I feel bad for every fighter that has to retire in their late 30’s or 40’s without making much money from the sport.

            I didn’t feel bad at all when Cro Cop retired. He had a lot of money and can live comfortably, although not extravagently.

            I didn’t feel bad all when Randy or Chuck retired. Those guys made money off of the UFC. One of them has a cash-cow gym and the other has a life-time job with the UFC.

            I do feel bad for guys like Frye, Coleman, Vovchynchn, and Gary. They really put in the work but will be out in the streets.

        • TKD

          Lesnardo, here is a thought:

          If you don’t like the UFC- stop watching it. I am guessing you’d rather sit and watch it, and then complain about it, right?

          • Lesnardo

            Yes.

            Am I complaining of the quality of fights on the UFC? No! I am complaining about the UFC as a monopoly.

            I could care less what Dana White does. I do care about the fighters and I am a fan of the sport.

  • Bob

    That sucks. All the best to Gary.

    Months back I said that Nick Diaz may well be showing signs of CTE/Pugilistic Dementia and everyone thought I was crazy!

    I have followed Nick Diaz’s career for a lot of years and there is a big difference in his interveiws from the early years till now.

  • kendallclements

    Bob, that observation may turn out to be prophetic. In all honesty, I have never considered that he may have had one too many punches to the head.
    I like many people, just have always thought that he is a pot smoking retard who sounds like he has little to no education.
    The thought of pugilistic dementia is a possibility. Although your theory would have a tough time being proved correct when one looks and listens to his brother. What are the odds they both have the condition?

    • Lesnardo

      Agreed. There is a big difference between his early and more recent interviews because Nick Diaz is more than ever playing that “Cholo that don’t give a damn with Attitude” role.

      • fsunoles09

        has it ever occured to you that you aint always right? or how bout the possibility diaz really doesnt give a ****, not everybody likes fame.ill pray for goodridge, pretty messed up stuff but it happens

  • bryanadams

    Anyone who’s seen a few Gary Goodridge fights shouldn’t be surprised by this news. Watch the Gilbert yvel head kick, u didnt need a doctorate to know there’s brain damage in Gary’s future. It’s just too bad nobody in his camp or his family had the balls or brains to stop him or teach him how to really fight.

    p.s.- Chris Leben should save this article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.nottingham1 Steve Nottingham

    From What I have read. This can really only be diagnosed Post Mortem. So how was the test conducted? Anytime you have head trauma you have a certain amount of brain damage. For fighters its is just sheer number of blows to the head that make it so much worse. I boxed for 3 years or more. Plus the more than average amount of shots I took I am concerned that I have damage. But if you do you can only live with it..