Chris Lytle is a fighter that gives back. | Photo:
After seeing the world as a mixed martial artist, Chris Lytle
realized that his hometown of Indianapolis is a pretty good place
Now he’s trying to help out underprivileged youth in the city by
improving a gym where they can learn MMA skills. The Police
Athletic League has a club where the kids can work out for free,
but Lytle said it desperately needs an upgrade.
“The gym they work out in and I go to help out with, it’s
terrible,” Lytle explained recently on the Sherdog Radio Network’s
“Beatdown” show. “If it’s raining out, there’s water pouring in
everywhere. The mats, I wouldn’t even roll on them. It’s
disgusting. Very little gear.”
Pat McPherson, one of Lytle’s trainers, has submitted an
application for $50,000 of funding for the club through Pepsi’s
Refresh Project. Nearly 400 applicants are vying for votes online
and through texting. The top 10 vote-getting ideas receive funding.
At the time of this article, the Indianapolis PAL MMA idea had
climbed all the way to No. 12.
“It gives inner-city kids who have no way of paying the money for
different mixed martial arts [the opportunity to train],” Lytle
said of the PAL club. “I know [training is] pretty expensive. These
kids get to train for free and basically have good mentors, police
officers and different fighters that they look up to in a way.”
As a firefighter in the city, Lytle has been moved to give back to
“One of the worst things about [firefighting] is the things you get
exposed to,” Lytle said. “What I mean by that is, sometimes I’ll go
on a run and you’ll be in a house or an apartment or what not, and
you’re just looking around and there might be three kids there. I’m
just shaking my head thinking, ‘This kid doesn’t stand a chance in
the world.’ There might be ridiculous filth in there. There might
be a TV and a mattress on the floor, and that’s it. Your heart goes
out to these people.”
Lytle has reasonable goals in mind for what a quality club in the
city could do. Mainly, he wants the kids to be surrounded by
positive role models.
“You can teach them that hard work pays off,” he said. “Maybe that
will be a lesson that will stick with them for the rest of their
life. I’m not trying to make a bunch of UFC champions here. I’m
trying to make people better.”
the club. Listen to the full
interview (beginning at 1:13:13).