Once Tyler Beckley hung up his college football jersey, he found himself in need of another athletic outlet.
The former University of Findlay fullback/linebacker turned to Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, and any other form of organized hand-to-hand combat to feed his need for organized controlled aggression.
“I needed something else to do competitively after college, and I kind of found myself in jiu-jitsu and MMA,” said Beckley, whose athletic career initially emerged while as a standout football and track athlete at Mohawk.
It didn't take long for him to find the two disciplines of self-defense to his liking. It also wasn't long for him to see that he could succeed in these new sports endeavors, which place a heavy focus on wrestling holds, tackles, and maneuvers.
Standing 5-foot-11, weighing a solid 214 pounds, Beckley seems built for combat. More importantly, he has thrived as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor and it's taken him across the world.
He competed earlier this year in international tournaments in Canada and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He held his own in tournaments that involved hundreds of competitors from around the world.
Beckley was the overall winner at the Montreal Open World Trial Qualifier where he went 7-1 in the tournament. After finishing third in his weight class — losing a match after being called for an illegal move — he advanced to the all-around competition that involved the top three competitors from each of the weight divisions.
He didn't lose a match in the all-around bouts to earn the victory and a qualification to compete a few weeks later in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu world championships in Abu Dhabi.
“I didn't compete as well as I wanted to,” he said.
Yet, the trip across the globe will be remembered with fond thoughts.
“Other than the fact that I didn't win, the experience was great,” he said. “The plane ride was long, but the people were great.”
Beckley said the areas he traveled didn't look too much different from the United States. However, the dry heat and daily temperatures in the 90-degree range, as well as the noticeable opulence moving about on the streets, made it clear he wasn't home. Ferraris, Mazzeratis, Mercedes, and BMWs, to name a few, seem to be a way of life in a city that has been recognized as the richest on the planet.
“I saw a whole lot of luxury cars there that I'll never see in Findlay and Toledo, Ohio,” he said.
Beckley, 30, intends to continue with his fighting career, but doesn't plan on ending his day job as a certified personal trainer and instructor at Anytime Fitness in Findlay.
After about four years of learning the sport and fighting in amateur events, Beckley became a professional fighter. He moved up to the pro rank, and his first experience competing for a world title has him more motivated than ever before.
“It would be great if I can win a world championship,” said Beckley, who is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt. “I'm going to keep doing it for as long as I can.”
For the former Findlay fullback/linebacker, the one-on-one combat sports keep his competitive juices flowing.