Professional athletes wield more influence than some of them realize. They’re heroes to impressionable youth, but aren’t always role models.
Former UFC welterweight contender Chris “Lights Out” Lytle retired from mixed martial arts competition in 2011. In the five years since hanging up his gloves, Lytle has written a children’s book about bullying. He also started the Chris Lytle Foundation to raise awareness about autism, bullying, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and to provide information and counsel to victims. He travels to schools across the country speaking to students.
The 42-year-old walked away from MMA five years ago, but took up a new fight. He wishes other athletes with higher profiles would use their influence to make a difference, as well.
“It bothers me when I see so many of these young athletes who have such a huge ability to affect things or people. They’re very influential and they don’t use it in the right way. They’re more concerned about going to clubs, or doing whatever. They’re getting arrested for this and that. I’m thinking, man, how many kids are going to now think that it’s alright to go smoke weed, or get in a fight, or beat up this girl. I just want to see more people take that responsibility to heart and actually do some positive things,” Lylte told MMAWeekly.com.
The Indiana native, fireman, husband, and father of four is determined to make a difference, and has. He’s leading by example.