Tim Means is a fighter.
The 28-year-old has been shot, addicted to drugs and also served time in prison. He survived all of those ordeals, though, and is now 2-0 in the UFC. Ahead of his Dec. 8 bout against Abel Trujillo at UFC on Fox 5, Means joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show and discussed his past with host Jack Encarnacao.
On getting shot: “I went out partying one night with some buddies, got drunk and winded up at a local business here. One thing led to another, walked outside a little while later and a guy winded up shooting six of us.
On what started the incident: “In all honesty, we supposedly cut in line and the guys had recognized me from a local fight organization. ... They didn’t want to fight then. We shook hands and left it alone. He winded up calling his cousin up. About an hour later, we walked outside and the dude just started shooting at us, no questions said, no nothing. He just started firing into a bunch of us.”
On where he was hit: “My femoral artery in my left thigh. I have about an eight- or nine-inch scar on my left thigh from where they had to cut me open, go in and tie my femoral artery. They said I was bleeding to death. I had a good buddy named Brian Shaw who wrapped a belt around my leg, and supposedly that saved my life. I was bleeding pretty good, so thanks to Brian Shaw for saving me that night. I thought I was going to die.”
On fighting two weeks later: “I had gauze all shoved in my wound. We didn’t really have commissions then. Mixed martial arts was pretty new, so I tried to tough it out and it did not work out for me. ... I didn’t take the injury very well because I had never been injured like that. I came back a couple of weeks later. I tried to fight Spencer Fisher and I tried to fight Luke Caudillo just a couple of weeks after being shot and I ripped stitches in my leg and had to get taken to the hospital and have surgery again. ... From that point on, I really started hitting the party scene and life pretty hard. It got me sent to prison after that.”
On when his problems with drugs started: “Right after I got shot in 2004. I had prescriptions for morphine and Vicodin, and from there once the prescriptions ran out, it went into cocaine and meth.”
On meth: “I didn’t know anything about it. I just snorted a line, started smoking it and I knew it kept me high and made me feel real good. I thought I was Superman for a while until I started looking back and I’m two years in and I’m like, whoa, wait a minute. Everything just feels like a big blur.”
On hitting rock bottom: “I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wasn’t taking baths and I wasn’t eating. All I could think about was getting high or when I could get my next fix. It doesn’t get lower than that.”
On getting sent to prison on drug-related charges: “I got out on probation, went back to see the judge again, drug-related again. Judge Jones was a family friend of ours. I kept lying to him, and he’s not a dumb guy. He looked right through me. I didn’t need to get a felony. I wanted to just have a misdemeanor, but [I had] enough time on those misdemeanors to send me to New Mexico state prison. I got to go get my prison number, but I don’t have any felonies, so that’s a good thing, I guess.”
On how getting shot and going to prison helped turn his life around: “I was getting pretty cocky. I was building a name for myself here on the local circuit in mixed martial arts. People had already been putting me on a pedestal, so I wasn’t having to live up to that fighter because I was already that fighter. People were already making me this big image here. I wasn’t having to put the training in. I wasn’t going into the gym to filter my anger. I was getting into street fights. I think the shooting and the drug addiction was a blessing in disguise because from there, I got sent to the department of corrections. There, I was able to correct myself. I was able to go to school in there. I was able to program and work. I went to prison, but in a lot of ways, it saved my life. I’d be deeper in drugs right now or I’d be dead. Without being shot and going through that route, I don’t think I’d be here right now.”
On his upcoming fight against Trujillo: “If I lose this fight, then I’ll get set back. That’s dangerous in my mind. There’s no time for setbacks. I’ve accepted losses, and unfortunately they’re not nearly as fun as winning, but it’s very important to get that bonus and pay my bills. That’s what I have to provide at the moment. Thank goodness for the UFC and for mixed martial arts because that’s where I get to vent that anger into and that’s where I look for me to survive right now is that extra money on my plate.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:02:32).