It is both a compliment and a criticism to be compared to Evan Tanner, but that’s the easiest way to sum up Drew Fickett to those of you who weren’t around to enjoy him during his time in the spotlight. Fickett was extremely talented and seemed poised to make a run at the UFC welterweight title before personal problems stemming from alcoholism got him released (fired) from the promotion.

From there things got pretty dark and Drew spent the majority of 2008 to 2012 shitfaced. He’s since found Yeezus and has been sober for a year now, and while it’s too early to say whether the guy will have an uber-triumphant act three where he fights his way back up to the majors, I’d say just getting out of the bottle and putting his life back in order is a pretty big accomplishment on it’s own.

Here’s Fickett talking about hitting rock bottom and somehow coming back up alive with Pro MMA Now:

“And I truly hit what you would say is rock bottom. I have a fiancé and we’re about to get married. She’s about to get her degree as a doctor in psychology, and she won’t put up with my drinking. And there came a point in our relationship where she finally just left me. And she was kind of like my rock helping me try to get sober and I just kept failing, so I was left to my own devices. So I was in my apartment getting wasted and I have this friend Sergeant Steen who’s this homeless guy and I had him move in with me. Great idea. So we’re partying the whole week together, we’re drinking. He thinks it’s great and then I just keep drinking and it gets to the point I wake up and there’s there’s blood and there’s shit and there’s piss and there’s vomit all over the place. Well, it’s all me. It got so bad that my homeless buddy Sergeant Steen had to leave cause I was too out of control.”

“There were holes all over the wall, there was glass everywhere. Well, I ended up with a cut on my hand from punching some piece of glass or something. The worst physical pain from drinking is going through alcohol withdrawals. And it’s not just feeling hung over. I mean you feel like you’re about to have a seizure any second, you’re seized up on the floor all night clinching your teeth trying not to go into a seizure for like hours and hours. So once that passed I had some friends that really came and helped me out during that time. Once that passed I noticed my hand was getting bigger and I went to the hospital a couple days late. My hand was huge and swollen and they were like talking about amputating my freakin hand and I was like well, that’s not going to make me a very good piano player now is it? Fighting, I think I could probably still choke somebody with one hand. But playing the piano, probably not.”

“So I started freaking out man, and thank God I prayed and Jesus just saved me and saved my hand. He told me hey man you just have to let go and embrace God and get out of this town. So as soon as I got out of the hospital I flew to Florida in Ft. Lauderdale and I checked myself into a really janky rehab, but it was a step in the right direction. I actually fought some Brazilian in a Missouri show with my hand three times the size it should be, just healing up from staph. I don’t know how the doctor cleared me but he did. I can’t remember the guy’s name. But yeah that’s when I came to the point where I said enough is enough and I went to Florida and I got my life straight and I found Jesus Christ and now I’m as great as I could ever be. I can’t even remember the person I was. I can’t even remember or believe these stories I hear of myself are even true. It’s crazy. God is good man.”

Crazy Drew has had so many fights he just remembers it was ‘some Brazilian in Missouri.’ Coming out of that situation, it’s no wonder he lost in under a minute. Now things are starting to turn around – his last fight (and first in 8 months) was a decision loss to Andre Winner where Drew held his own and looked pretty good. He considers that a win in and of itself and who knows what Fickett will be able to accomplish now that he’s cleaned himself up? He was 34-5 with 22 submissions before the alcohol really started to derail him. Could the Night Rider ride again?

(pic by Scott Peterson for MMA Weekly)