Payson Man Schedules First Sanctioned Mixed-Martial-Arts Fight; And He's Got Only One Leg
For 99.9 percent of the population, getting in the ring with some of the toughest fighters in the world is nothing short of a death wish.
For 25-year-old Matt Betzold, it's a dream come true -- even though he's only got one leg.
When Betzold was 6 years old, he was poisoned by a family friend, leading to the amputation of half of one of his legs.
"We had a family friend staying with us when I was six. He and my dad had a problem, so he poisoned me as sort of a revenge thing," Betzold tells New Times. "He put mushroom spores in my candy; I was in a coma for six weeks, and got a blood clot in my leg, so they had to remove it."
That family "friend" might want to watch his back, because the kid he poisoned almost 20 years ago is now a stud cage fighter who will be making his first officially sanctioned fight next month.
How does someone with one leg cage-fight? Awesomely, that's how.
Betzold's record is 96-26 in grappling fights, and won his only underground MMA fight.
Last month, Betzold was sanctioned to fight in the Mixed Martial Arts style by the state of Arizona. Quite a feat (or in this case, foot) for anyone, let alone someone with one leg.
"I never thought I'd get sanctioned in Arizona," Betzold says. "I was doing grappling fights, and winning, and thought if I keep winning there might be a chance."
Betzold has been fighting for five years, and often trains until eight or nine at night.
Betzold's style is unique. He can stand, but starts every fight from his knees.
"I'm gonna end the fight on the ground, I might as well start it there too," he says.
On October 3, Betzold has his first official MMA fight as part of "Rage in the Cage" at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, so go check him out.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.