Jason Reinhardt: ‘This Is My Only Way Out’

By Frank Curreri

At an advanced age when most fighters have either retired, or are being urged to retire by those around them, 41-year-old Jason Reinhardt finds himself on the cusp of finally “making it” in the UFC.

Much of the fuel for Reinhardt’s fire can be traced to this: job hatred. Disdain for his vocation has been parked in the recesses of the Illinois native’s mind as he prepares to step into the Octagon on Feb. 26 against Chinese sensation Tiequan Zhang (17-1).

Don’t be confused — Reinhardt’s deep-seated resentment is not directed at professional fighting, where he has amassed a spectacular 20-1 record. It’s his other job, the one Reinhardt has reluctantly mastered and refined over the past 22 years, the trade his father began teaching him at age 19. It’s a tedious gig that causes him to walk door-to-door delivering a rehearsed pitch to perfect strangers.

“Hi, I’m Jason Reinhardt. I’m in the area talking to people about life insurance and I wanted to share some information with you about ….”

Waking up every day and soliciting others is not for the meek of heart or easily discouraged.

“I’d knock on about 120 doors a day,” Reinhardt said. “Maybe 1 in 20 would say ‘yes.’”

1 in 20, dismal as it sounds, actually qualified him as a success. Reinhardt, married with an 11-year-old daughter, said he has made north of $100,000 a year selling life and funeral insurance policies to people at their dinner tables. But boredom trumped finance, and Reinhardt sees a breakout performance against Zhang as the freedom he’s been awaiting for two decades.

“I hate it. I don’t want to sell life insurance door-to-door any more so I have to win this fight,” he said. “This is my only way out, it’s do or die with this fight. I’m going to fight until the end in that cage. This is my only shot.”

 

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