Staples to the Cage: The Story of Rick Glenn’s MMA Debut

Rick Glenn UFC
Rick Glenn Credit: Dave Mandel/

The path to a mixed martial arts career is different for every up and comer. Some find a love for the arts through Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers, others get signed up for karate class as an outlet for their anger issues.

Then there’s those like Rick Glenn.

Glenn grew up with fighting, and that’s not to say that he grew up with martial arts. From a young age, Glenn had been throwing down in street fights as if it was second nature to him.

“I’ve been scrapping for years – just growing up as a rougher neighborhood kid, you know, we’re fighting on a daily basis,” he recalled. “Whether it was my brother or some other kids just trying to punk you out, I’ve had well over fifty childhood, street-type fights.”

While Glenn described most of those fights as “not serious” there were some that fell out of that category. Thinking back on them, the ones that turned out to be a bit more than what he bargained for led him, and his family, to reevaluate what he was doing.

And that’s where Glenn’s path veered a little bit closer to the clichés. He started working out at a local boxing gym at 14. Images of old boxing movies flashed in his mind as a beautiful end goal for what he could do once he turned 18 and could legally take an amateur fight. However, even though he and his family were waiting for that day when the law would yield it self to his desires, the debut wouldn’t wait any longer

“My first [amateur fight] is kind of funny. My first one I took on just a couple hours’ notice. I left my job at Staples, where I was working in the furniture department,” Glenn said, pointing out that a friendly promoter he knew from his gym had called him during his shift. “My wife, girlfriend at the time, Jenny, I called her up and she brought my gear and took me to the show from there.”

At just 17-years old, Glenn was riding in his girlfriend’s car on the way to his first fight with no coach, no fans, nobody to even corner him. However, none of that was a deterrent as he was sure he’d find some friendly faces in the dark corners of the local show.

“I didn’t even have time to call anyone and tell them. I just went there. I knew there’s going to be people that would corner me or that I could trust and just throw me some water or something,” he said, luckily pointing out that his uncle just happened to be in attendance and supportive of his last minute decision. “In between rounds, we didn’t even have water. My uncle looked over to a friend he knows and says ‘hey give me your water’. So he tossed it over the cage and I got a swig of water.”

Of course the cherry on top of this all is the image of arriving at the arena. Stepping out of the passenger side of Jenny’s car, Rick was still decked out in full Staples swag. He even entered the arena still wearing it.

“I still had my shirt tucked in, my Staple uniform, and I go into the restroom and used the bigger handicap stall. I changed real quick and they said ‘you’re up soon’. So I did a couple of hamstring stretches and went in there,” Glenn said.

That night ultimately went well for Glenn. After dishing out some damage in the second round, the opposing corner called it off before their fighter could come out for the third round. An excited Glenn celebrated in the cage with his uncle, just hours after having left Staples.

Of course, one’s first amateur fight doesn’t allow them to quit their day job. Luckily, Rick returned to Staples later that week looking no worse for the wear. In the future though, he pointed out he would occasionally come in with a black eye or a large bruise somewhere, prompting questions out of his co-workers.

“I try to be a nice person and I’m very friendly. [My coworkers] were like “how can you go in there and beat the shit out of someone and then come in here and be so nice?” he laughed. “It’s a different thing – time and a place.”

The next time and place for Rick Glenn was expected to be this weekend at the Apex in Vegas. After nearly two years away, Glenn was booked to step into 29th professional fight against Carlton Minus. However, Glenn was unfortunately forced to pull out of the card Wednesday.

You can hear the entire audio of our interview with Rick Glenn here.