Former MMA fighter Vaughn excels in his second career as a bird dog trainer
A former MMA fighter from Wisconsin has no regrets about switching careers from training sparring to training bird dogs.
Mike Vaughn has been involved in martial arts for most of his life, starting when he was just 6 years old. He and his father are both certified in Jeet Kune Do, and Vaughn is also a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He had his first professional MMA fight in 2005.
In addition to competing, Vaughn owned an MMA gym in Madison, WI for 10 years, but made the decision to step away from the sport in 2010 to focus on his new career. He credits his background in MMA to his success training bird dogs.
“Building a martial arts student and building a dog was kind of the same idea for me, like progressions of where you take them. It kind of came natural to me,” Vaughn said. Interior Edition.
The former MMA fighter’s interest in dog training dates back to when he started working with his own dog Winnie at eight weeks old, although he was initially skeptical about the prospects long term to train bird dogs as a career.
Winnie has been by Vaughn’s side for 11 years now, and she’s been a constant source of comfort and motivation throughout that time as he’s become a world-class bird dog trainer.
“Times when you’re, when you’re kind of like, unsure of yourself. Or unsure of the future where you get this wall in front of you and are just kind of like, hey – I don’t know where I’m going. And then you look down and see her looking at you,” Vaughn said.
Mike Vaughn made his professional MMA debut in 2005 with a win over Trent Cook. “The Volt” last competed in 2008 and went 2-3 on aggregate in his career. His record includes fights against former UFC fighter Marcus Davis and current UFC middleweight Gerald Meerschaert.
What do you think of Mike Vaughn’s choice to switch from MMA to training bird dogs?