David "Bulldawg" Michaud Returns to Rapid City

Last Updated by Michael Zimny on

David "Bulldawg" Michaud grew up in Pine Ridge, and as a teenager came up through the ranks of the mixed martial arts world during the industry's wild west days.

He caught the national spotlight for a while with a stint in the MMA world's highest profile fighting league, the UFC — including a season on the UFC/Fox Sports serial,The Ultimate Fighter. Nowadays, he lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona. This weekend he's back for the "Rage in Rapid," his first Rapid City fight in three years.

SDPB spoke with the Bulldawg about the old days of fighting-for-pay at the Sturgis Rally, and how it feels to come back home.

SDPB: How did you get into mixed martial arts?

DM: I grew up in Pine Ridge and grew up wrestling, then playing football. I was always kind of interested in MMA. My dad would order the pay-per-views and stuff, or if there were local fights around we’d go watch them. Then, between my freshman and sophomore year in high school, he asked if I wanted to go up to Sturgis and test out some of the fights at the Busted Knuckle Saloon [now The Knuckle]. During the Rally, they’d have fights every year. I said sure why not.

My first time I ended up winning against a bigger, older guy. After the fights, all the bikers would throw money in to the winner if they thought you had a cool fight. So my first fight, they threw in like sixty bucks and I thought I was ballin’. After that, I just decided to keep going with it.

[A local promoter] was getting started, just as I was starting to fight. It was pretty big. We’d fill up the Barnett Arena at the Civic Center. That was mostly where I fought in high school. You know, I didn’t want to travel too far, and those were the only fights in Rapid. 

SDPB: Now that the fighting business is more organized, would you still have those kinds of opportunities today?

DM: Now, in South Dakota — once the commissioning came about, there’s been a lot less shows. But I think that’s for the better, because a lot of the shows weren’t doing things the right way. Before the commission, they didn’t require blood work or physicals or eye exams. If you’re gonna hold a fight, you actually have to be invested in it and put a lot more work into it, you can’t just go in, set up a ring, sell tickets the day of, and hope that it goes well.  

When I was first starting it was anything goes. You’d have a pro fighting an amateur, or a guy that just showed up, never trained before. They’d just ask anyone from the crowd if they want to fight. 

I’m not saying that wasn’t fun when I was doing it, but it’s definitely a lot safer and better [now] for everybody involved.

SDPB: Where is home base nowadays? 

DM: I live in Phoenix now. I train at the MMA Lab. I still miss South Dakota all the time, but I got a lot of good guys down here to train with. 

SDPB: What's it like to come back to Rapid City, back to the Civic center?

DM: I haven’t fought West River at all for like three years now. So it’s good to be able to get back there and be a little closer to home. I’ve always felt like everyone from the reservation has really supported me. Even when I first started, we’d have five or six guys on a card and we’d get like fifteen hundred people from the rez up to the Civic Center. And it’s a good time. I really enjoy it. I’m definitely hoping that it.s the same like it was. Because the crowds used to get pretty wild, and I hope it’s just like that. I hope nothing’s changed from the first time I fought there till now. 

---------------------------------------

David Michaud squares off against Tyler Milner Saturday night at the Rapid City Convention Center as part of the Sparta Combat League’s “Rage in Rapid.”

subscribe to sdpb email updates food blog link image learning blog link image living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

2018 Sculpture Walk Installation

In The Moment ... May 2, 2018 Show 328 Hour 2 Visitors to Sioux Falls will soon be able to stand beneath a giant...

Kay Adkins Brown Discusses "Shapes & Shadows" Exhibition

In The Moment ... March 22, 2018 Show 302 Hour 1 Galen A. Brown's service in Vietnam informed 50 years of his art...

Students Make Art Real Through Poetry Out Loud

Shakespeare isn’t boring to Kassondra Gooley. The West Central High School senior talks about poetry the way some...

Photographer Paul Horsted

In the Moment ... March 12, 2018 Show 294 Hour 1 Photographer Paul Horstead discusses Custer's expedition, the...

Books

Jane Yolen Celebrates #Yolen365 And Counting

In The Moment ... April 26, 2018 Show 324 Hour 1 In March, author Jane Yolen released her 365th book. That means you...

Christine Stewart: 41st Great Plains Writers Conference

In The Moment ... March 21, 2018 Show 301 Hour 2 The 41st Great Plains Writers Conference kicks off on March 23 at...

Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment Now" For South Dakotans

In The Moment ... March 21, 2018 Show 301 Hour 1 If you're weary of bad news and political dramas, you might want to...

Books 4 Kids Promotes Empathy and Equality Through Books

A few years ago, Coleen Liebsch had to make a choice: would she finish the horror novel she was writing, or would...

Music

Corb Lund, Country Music, And Finding What's Real On The Road

In The Moment ... May 18, 2018 Show 340 Hour 1 Country musician Corb Lund visits South Dakota on the "Western...

Mr. Evans Leaves The Podium

In The Moment ... May 15, 2018 Show 337 Hour 2 After 40 years of teaching orchestra in Rapid City, Mr. William Evans...

Dr. Frank VanNuys

In The Moment ... May 2, 2018 Show 328 Hour 1 Who are you? Where do you come from? A new exhibit at the Journey...

Celebrating May Day With Eliza Blue

In the Moment ... May 1, 2018 Show 327 Hour 2 Join Eliza Blue for an evening of music Friday, May 4th at SDPB's...

Theater

Broadway Choreographer Chet Walker

In the Moment ... April 9, 2018 Show 311 Hour 1 The University of South Dakota Theater Department presents "Cabaret"...

Images of the Past: Stage To Screen

In The Moment ... November 27, 2017 Show 227 Hour 2 A new exhibit at the Old Courthouse Museum tells the story of...

Personalities: From Huron High to Broadway

Singer, actor, and teacher Joseph Mahowald graduated from Huron High School in 1977. He went on to study music and...

In The Moment ... Alex Meyer's Scenic Design

In The Moment ... May 10, 2017 Show 090 Hour 2 Alex Meyer. He's a junior art and theater major at Augustana College...