MMA vs. The Bulls
Story by Chris Graham
So I’m talking with MMA athlete Dustin Honeycutt backstage about his match – which he lost by submission – and about the broken thumb that he suffered early on that pretty much ate away his chances of coming out on top.
And then Honeycutt, a 21-year-old from Rockingham County, lets me in on his little secret.
MMA is not his only rough-and-ready sport.
“I’m also a professional bullrider,” he says to me, as if it isn’t that big a deal to fight men with lethal fists and feet one day and then ride animals with lethal everything else the next.
It was a natural that Honeycutt, a former standout wrestler at Broadway High School, would gravitate toward the world of mixed martial arts. Perhaps it was just as natural that a Rockingham County boy would end up riding bulls.
After obtaining the needed certification, Honeycutt tried his hand at the amateur circuit out of high school – and earned his professional card after a series of strong showings. He now competes at events across the country.
“Somebody will call me up and say, We have a PBR in Las Vegas, we need you there Friday night, 7 o’clock. Then you got to find a way to get there, pay your entry fee, and then you’re on TV,” Honeycutt said.
Honeycutt is still an amateur in MMA, so bull riding takes precedence when it comes to scheduling. He has been training in MMA for six months at Valley Chute Box in Harrisonburg.
Asked which sport is tougher, Honeycutt didn’t hesitate.
“Cardio-wise, this. Painful-wise, bullriding,” he said.
“I broke my thumb here, but I’ve rode with broken ribs, dislocated shoulders, the whole nine yards,” Honeycutt said.
“You’re going to get hurt in bull riding. It’s just how bad you get hurt. And how long you’re going to be out for.”
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion and The New Dominion.