It has been a whirlwind week for Anthony Pettis. Not only did the 23-year-old have his face plastered on 2 million television screens across America courtesy of his appearance on MTV’s “World of Jenks,” but he was also rewarded with a title scrap against WEC lightweight champ Ben Henderson just hours before Monday’s debut.
Ironically, Pettis can credit this fortuitous streak to the worst day of his life, as well as the most dreadful night of his career.
“The WEC recommended a couple of fighters to MTV,” Pettis told Pro MMA Radio (transcribed by MMAMania). “[They] had a couple guys send in tapes and they chose me out of I think four other guys. I know Urijah Faber was one of them, I forget who else.”
Faber has served as the WEC’s poster boy since the dawn of time, so MTV execs must have known they had something special with “Showtime” by passing on that opportunity.
“[My dad] was killed in a house robbery and he was stabbed four or five times in the chest,” Pettis shared in the documentary. “When I have nightmares, that’s the image I have in my head.”
In one fatal swoop, the youngster was abruptly forced to become the family’s breadwinner. Ironically, he must violently go about his business in order to do so – the same way his father’s assailants did when they inexplicably took his life.
Compounding to the drama was the fact Pettis was coming off his first professional loss. A devastating win parlayed with MTV’s footage could easily propel him into superstardom, while back-to-back losses could have him searching for another means to help his mom make ends meet.
“Jenks said my show was one of the best they did. They followed me for about 12 days. One of my closest friends, Pat Barry, and I were talking about the show and what would happen if I got knocked out in the WEC and then it aired on MTV,” he said.
“Luckily, it didn’t end up that way. I haven’t had a better knockout than that my whole career. It couldn’t have gone better.”
Please click the media player below if you missed Pettis’ unforgettable appearance on “World of Jenks”: