Anthony Garrett reinvented himself after battling depression

Anthony Garrett could not sleep for six days straight.

During this past December and January, the 30-year-old was having suicidal thoughts from being over overprescribed with anxiety and depression medication. On the sixth day of no sleep, Garrett had enough of feeling this way. His mother Linda Garrett and friend Rebecca Batson helped him check into the University of Kansas Medical Center on Jan. 17 of this  year.

During his seven-day stay at the hospital, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and depression. 

“For six days, I couldn’t sleep. My mom would come over and literally stay with me every night and no matter what I did, I could not sleep,” Garrett said. 

“I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t function properly, I was having trouble thinking, walking and even eating.”

Making the change

About nine months after checking into the Kansas hospital, Garrett is practically a new man.

He is around 55 pounds lighter, trimming down to as low as 224 pounds. It’s quite the feat for someone who use to cut from 291 pounds to make the heavyweight limit [265 pounds].

Garrett slimmed down from a 42-inch waist to a 29-inch waist. After making a total body transformation, he is pursuing a career in modeling along with being a professional mixed martial artist.

He is even set to appear on a reality TV show called “Champ Las Vegas.”

Inside the cage, Garrett is fresh off a first-round submission win over JW Kiser at Fighting Alliance Championship 4 this past October. The Kansas native has plenty of options as a fighter.

He is eying another fight with FAC, but recently tried out for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships. Although all eight of his professional fights are at heavyweight, he is considering a potential move to light heavyweight.

Garrett is currently in a much better place physically and mentally than he was last January.

“If you took the person I was a year ago, I think that person would not just be shocked, but very proud of the person I’ve become now,” Garrett said. “I’m just a better person all around, a better father, a better teammate, a better coach for my guys, a better personal trainer, a better role model, everything in the community in Kansas City. It’s been good.”

I love Lucy

Living in Kansas City, Kansas, Garrett is away from his one-year-old daughter Lucy who lives in Texas with his ex girlfriend. He struggled being away from his daughter for long periods of time, a contributing factor to his depression. 

The COVID-19 pandemic only made matters worse, making it even more difficult for Garrett to travel to Texas. He is finally able to travel and recently came back from Texas after spending five days with his daughter in Texas. He plans to make another trip to see his daughter for her birthday in January.

“We broke up and she decided to move to Texas and it just crushed me obviously. I’m not going to see my daughter, not going to be around her on the weekends or anything,” Garrett said. “It took a lot of time, a lot of stress and a lot of problems, but her and I are good now, we’re co-parenting perfectly,”


Garrett’s depression came just a few months after one of the biggest fights of his career. Garrett met former WWE champion and current AEW star Jake Hager at Bellator 231 in October 2019.

Hager entered the bout undefeated at 2-0 with back-to-back first-round submission wins. Garrett made his Bellator debut in the bout after suffering his second professional loss in June 2019, dropping his record to 4-2. 

Hager spent about 15 seconds on the feet with Garrett before clinching up with his opponent in round one. Hager landed a controversial knee around the groin area, but referee Dan Miragliotta signaled the knee hit the thigh of Garrett. 

The action continued only for Hager to land another knee to Garrett’s groin about 50 seconds later. Miragliotta stopped the action and gave Garrett the credited time to recover. After Miragliotta warned Hager during the break, Hager landed another low blow less than 20 seconds later.

Garrett was unable to continue and since Miragliotta deemed the knees from Hager as unintentional, the bout was ruled a no contest. 

According to Garrett, he is interested in a rematch and even told Bellator he would fight Hager for free. He will need to wait if the bout is to happen since Hager is set to face Brandon Calton at Bellator 250 on Oct. 29.

“Bellator wise, they are protecting him and it’s complete bull [expletive], like I offered them to give him my entire fight purse. I don’t need to be paid to beat his [expletive] and he still said no,” Garrett said. “Let him beat this guy, another gimme win and then let’s throw down again.”

Getting through it all

This year is full of change due to the COVID 19 pandemic. It certainly reigns true for Garrett, among other issues the heavyweight struggled with.

Changing his nickname from “Lionheart” to “The warrior of Christ,” Garrett has strengthened his religious faith.

He entered 2020 with a loss and a no contest in his last two appearances. Although he was inactive for the first 10 months of this year, Garrett already has one win in 2020, despite being inactive for almost a year. 

Garrett has faced adversity and considers himself a better person for it. Following an eventful year in more ways than one, he is sleeping fine these days.

“It’s good to be back to normal,” Garrett said. “If I can do it through my mental illness and problems, I think anybody can, you just have to distract yourself and stay dedicated to something.”

Anthony Garrett spoke to MyMMANews about battling depression, body transformation, professional modeling, rivalry with Jake Hager and more. Watch the full interview in the video above.

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Connor Northrup
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.