If you’re searching for lists of questionable moments in mixed martial history, the name Mike Kyle will appear on many of those lists. Lately Kyle has been making strides to erase or at the very least improve that image. He’ll get his next chance to distance himself from the “old Mike Kyle” when he faces Andrei Arlovski on Saturday in the main event on the World Series of Fighting 5 fight card.
Kyle’s laundry list of indiscretions is fairly lengthy, he bit Wes Sims in the chest at UFC 47, he kneed Justin Eilers below the belt on multiple occasions at UFC 49, he poked Krzysztof Soszynski in the eye during a Strikeforce bout, he did the same to Tsuyoshi Kosaka during a Pancrase fight, and most egregiously, he soccer kicked Brian Olsen in the head during their WEC 20 matchup. He also delivered several strikes to the unconscious Olsen after the bell.
The Olsen incident drew an indefinite suspension for Kyle and he would remain out of action for nearly two years.
Kyle would find a home with Strikeforce, fighting eight times with the promotion between 2008 and 2013. He also found a home with American Kickboxing Academy, which seems to have kept Kyle on pretty much the straight and narrow as of late. With two of the top fighters in the game today, Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier watching his every move, it’s hard to imagine Kyle stepping out of line again.
Kyle briefly retired after losing to Gegard Mousasi during the final Strikeforce fight card, telling Ariel Helwani, “It’s not in me anymore. That was my last one.” That retirement was short lived. Kyle returned in May, knocking out Travis Wiuff in 21-seconds on a CFA fight card.
Kyle (20-9-1-2) will look to continue his tale of redemption when faces Arlovski in a heavyweight clash on September 14. He has his work cut out for him, but if he can get the victory over Arlovski on the NBC Sports stage he may see some doors of his past firmly closed behind him.