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Chris Oth | Knuckle Junkies

From Bulls to Bullies

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

What you may find frightful, Chris Seip finds to be just another day in the life.

Seip has heard the steel door latch ring shut both inside the chute of a rodeo and inside the cage in mixed martial arts. The ring echoes even in his dreams. It's a sound he wishes he'd found years ago.

Seip has come face-to-face with the danger in both sports. He knows it so well he wears it like cheap, knock-off cologne.

Bull riding is the most recognized and popular of all the rodeo events. It is also the most dangerous. An often quoted saying about bull riding is "it's not if you get hurt, it's when."

"I have been on top of a 2,000-pound animal that has sick intentions," Seip said. "I have felt it all, first being stepped on, then horned, and picked up and thrown."

The 29-year-old Seip has turned his back on one world filled with risk and uncertainty and has jumped full time into another that is just as woolly and unpredictable.

But these are just a few aspects of Seip's life that makes him proud to find himself in his present position. Just a few moments on the phone with Seip and it's easy to tell he loves his family, which includes three sons and another child on the way. A military brat growing up, Seip moved from city to city, town to town every three years, following his father's position with the military. He now calls Troy, Illinois his home, works full-time as a beer distributor, and trains with Watson Martial Arts when he's not spending time with his family.

He's now turned his focus away from bull riding to MMA, a sport it's easy to tell he's passionate about but at the same time he also could walk away from without remorse or regret if the venues ever dried up. But as popular as MMA has become over the last several years there's little chance of that happening. And as the sport has evolved, so has Seip's passion.

Seip will step into the cage on Friday at Inner Circle's Proven Grounds 8. In a welterweight bout, he will face Anthony Kuhn. Seip was originally slated to take on Jose Murillo, but a change in plans in the waning moments left Seip scrambling.

"I had trained for four months for one guy," Seip said. "Now he's not going to be there."

Regardless of his opponent, Seip is ready to step into the cage at the South Broadway Athletic Club.

"That place is always packed," Seip said. "There is never an empty seat."

Seip (2-2) may never have made it to MMA were it not for a chance meeting with a UFC legend. While working his job, Seip stumbled onto the legend, Matt Hughes. The two talked MMA and Seip mentioned his hobby off bull riding. Hughes offered the invitation for Seip to come to his gym, the H.I.T. squad and from there, everything seemed to fit.

"That is how I hooked up with Kyle," Seip said. "I did a few more rodeos but that was pretty much it."

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