Fight Path: With notable trainer, 5-foot-tall Tyler Freeland ready for Tachi debut

By Kyle Nagel

The “M word” doesn’t go over well with Tyler Freeland. Especially when there are potential weapons nearby.

“I used to work at the Ranch Club, a bar back home,” Freeland said during a recent appearance on Radio ( “These Army guys came in and thought they were big and tough.”

Freeland was there with his girlfriend, a friend and the friend’s girlfriend. The 5-foot-tall fighter who is preparing to make his professional mixed-martial-arts debut was drinking and having a good time. The visitors had continued comments.

“They kept antagonizing me,” Freeland said. “One pushed me and said, ‘Hey, midget.'”

Not good.

“There was a pool stick next to me,” he said. “I’m hot-headed, so I took this pool stick, and I busted it over the guy’s head. [Freeland’s friend] was beating the other guy, and when the guy I hit got up, he had a big gash on his face.”

Such is the stereotype Freeland has been battling since he started wrestling in junior high school in Boise, Idaho. But the bar story – like others he shared – underline that he doesn’t like that certain word, and he has the chops to back up his annoyance.

Now, after 21 amateur fights (and a 15-6 record), Freeland is set to make his pro debut in a 145-pound fight against fellow Las Vegas resident Diego Melendez (0-0) at Friday’s Tachi Palace Fights 8 event, which streams for free on It’s a rematch of an earlier fight “Hulk Hands” lost by triangle-choke submission, a weakness for him because of his height.

But with a move to Las Vegas and a stronger dedication to training – twice a day as his full-time job – Freeland is trying to make a successful jump to the professional world while shutting up anyone who uses the “M word.”

If his training schedule is any indication, Freeland can handle the punishment. His favorite part? Sparring.

“I love getting hit,” he said.


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