When the news came across the wires Tuesday night that Michael “The Joker” Guymon, a champion Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Irvine, California, was undergoing psychiatric evaluation after an episode with police that was labeled “attempted suicide” by the local paper, lots of his friends, including us, were surprised.
Guymon had been hanging out at Felt just a few days earlier to pick up his new Z35 road bike. You see, in addition to being the defending King of the Cage Welterweight Champ, Guymon is also an avid road cyclist and a fan of the Garmin-Slipstream squad.
Guymon, who says he gets his name “The Joker” because he’s “a big goofball,” has competed in Martial Arts for 15 years and has been a professional since 2000. He started his career in kickboxing, then switched his focus to Jiu Jitsu, and later to wrestling. He has stand-up game plus the wrestling skills essential to becoming a top-notch cage fighter.
And one of the keys to Guymon’s success is his endurance, which he builds by training on a Felt road bike.
“Cycling plays an intricate role in me getting ready for a fight,” Guymon says. “I walk around at almost 200 pounds but I fight at 170. How do I lose that weight in a healthy way without injuring my body? Cycling. I used to run for my fights but my knees hurt. All my joints hurt—my back, my ankles. Now, when I ride I don’t have any impact on my back, knees or ankles.”
Guymon rides a Felt Z35 Team edition. Made with Felt’s HM carbon fiber, it’s lightweight and stiff enough to perform perfectly in what we imagine is a pretty powerful sprint. Guymon trains by going on two-hour rides in the rolling hills near his home in Irvine. He does intervals and loves going fast through the flats.
“I’m also learning to keep my cadence up on the climbs and I’m starting to like uphills a little more,” he says.
The training on the bike is critical to getting down to fighting weight—Guymon recently dropped close to 10 pounds after just a few days of long rides and dieting—but it also helps build strength.
“It really helps out my cardio and my overall muscle strength in my legs,” he says. “So in the later rounds of my fights, I have a lot of pop.”
Guymon says he’s stoked to ride the Z35 and fly the colors of the Garmin-Slipstream squad. “Yeah, I followed the Tour de France this year and saw the Garmin-Slipstream team riding their Felts. They were kicking some butt. I like learning about the tactics—watching the Tour helped teach me about things like how when the wind is coming from the side, you don’t want to be directly on the wheel, but off to the side a little bit.”
Guymon is scheduled to defend his King of the Cage Welterweight Championship Title against Quinn Mulhern on October 1 at San Manuel Casino. Judging by all the support he has received through online comments accompanying Tuesday’s news story, he has lots of people pulling for him to get through a tough situation.
We’re hoping The Joker is able to bounce back and get back to riding and training soon.