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The odds of a smooth, upward trajectory seemed to be smaller than his chance of survival years before. The unavoidable halt to his drifter lifestyle came one morning before he had reached the next ledge he planned to sleep on.

After stumbling through the streets in search of food, Tramell woke up in a Thai convenience store. After waking up completely clueless and walking outside Thai police showed up demanding an ID. With no wallet on him, the only form of identification Tramell had was an expired passport.

His theft of $7 worth of chicken may have saved his life from the Bangkok high rise but it cost him his freedom.

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“I was in a really horrible little city jail there in Bangkok,” Tramell laughed. “They’re just God-awful. I can’t even describe it to you. Sleeping on the ground, covered in insects and there’s poo and piss on the floor. Nobody was really speaking English to me. But they motioned up to me to let me know that I was going somewhere.”

With every court appearance being conducted in Thai, Tramell was simply along for the ride until he was transported somewhere he was very familiar with. A place famous for inmate fighting documentaries, Klong Prem Prison.

The Thai streets and high rises were a paradise compared to his new home. No beds, no cells, an open floor with over 100 prisoners for 16 hours a day managed to introduce Tramell to a new low. He arrived with no shirt, no shoes, no toothbrush, no shower bowl, and with no opportunity to make money in his position, he was staring down the barrel of melting into his own boredom, depression and filth.

Meditation and random court dates made up the next six to seven months of his life. Proceedings were conducted in Thai with the option of a separate translator available. Through the translator Tramell was relieved to learn the stipulations of his punishment. Pay for the chicken you stole or receive 2 ½ years of prison time. He was given ten days to come up with the money.

He came up empty.

Tramell showed up to court on his final court date with no money to offer and had mentally accepted the 2 ½ year sentence. Another guardian angel from Thailand came from the hallway and gave Tramell another lifesaving miracle.

“Apparently, some Thai woman who was there for something completely unrelated, I guess she overheard this,” Tramell said. “She pokes her head in the court proceedings and they’re all speaking something to each other in Thai and I’m getting ready to get 2 ½ years if I can’t pay this money. The judge talks to this woman and says, ‘This woman, she wants to pay for you.’”

A free man now, Tramell never learned the woman’s name or information. To this day he’s never had a chance to thank or repay the stranger who spared a meal’s worth of money to pay for his freedom.

Deported and back in the U.S., Tramell now approaches what would have been close to his release date, looks back at his life, and the food tastes a little better and his bed is a little more comfortable.

Back in The States, he’s just days away from his return to combat sports and the Lion Fight North American Title is on the line. Win or lose, the fact that Tramell is even in the position to revamp his career at 41 is unexplainable.

Alcohol and pills are a thing of the past. Tramell coaches Muay Thai at Cooper MMA six days a week and is on the front end of a five-fight contract with Lion Fight. He hasn’t been able to use the word “normal” in over a half a decade, but against all odds he seems to be right where he wants to be. Fighting, mobile and clean. The only thing that could make this wild ride a little wilder is if he captures gold in the main event of Lion Fight 63.

From the depths of the valley to the top of the mountain.

Catch the long-awaited return of Chris Tramell at Lion Fight 63 Friday February 12 at 6 pm PT ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!


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