Pro Wrestling and MMA’s, Rick “The Machine” Bassman, is here! This incredible man has conquered so much! From fighter to homeless to Author. Wait until you hear what’s next! I am going to tell you how Rick went from fame to rock bottom but...didn’t stay down for long. He truly is a fighter in every possible sense of the word!
Rick Bassman was born on November 20, 1961 in California, where he lived for several years. His mother died when Rick was 13, but not before enrolling him in a private Catholic school as an “experiment”. The family is Jewish by heritage and mom wanted her sons to experience life, so she would do crazy things like taking them to the Braille School for the Blind for a day, where they’d wear blindfolds the entire time. Entering Catholic school just four months after his mom passed, and still “shell-shocked” over her death, Rick realized from the first day on campus that he was the only non-Catholic student and the shortest boy there! He was attacked over his religion and fought over 200 times his entire 7th grade year. But this was just a precursor to his many future “comebacks” and by the end of that first year, Rick had begun to win most of his fights. He scored the most tries on the school rugby team and became popular enough to win school office. With his dad left to care for two rambunctious boys, Rick began to party hard. However, at just 16 years old, he was diagnosed with stage 4 “terminal” cancer.
The ensuing three years, which included four major surgeries and nearly non-stop, high-potency chemotherapy, would have Rick spending over 600 nights in various hospitals. He finally walked out in remission at age 19. As he recalls in his autobiography, “Little Big Man“, he thought of Rocky Balboa on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and in one iconic move, thrust his arms in the air and did the Italian Stallion’s celebratory dance.
Having had a terminal illness really changed Rick’s way of thinking. He developed a “life is short” mentality and decided a person should do what they wanted and live that way too.
During his time in college, Rick became the President of his school dormitory and was asked to hold a concert for the school. After some research, he found and booked the region’s top bands. He named his first organized concert “Day On The Green”, which turned out to be a huge success. After that, he was asked by those same bands if he could help them book future gigs. He took that challenge, succeeded and soon after, began booking bigger and bigger events.
Since he was so excited about his new business and no longer interested in college, he decided to drop out in the first quarter.
“School wasn't where I wanted to be,” he said emphatically.
Rick went on to explain that he felt the need to explore the world and really live his life to the fullest. After being confined by illness for so long, he craved the hard gravel road and all of its temptations. He simply did not care!
One day he was asked about the type of security that would be set up at the event. Since he had none, Rick decided to buy shirts and have Bassman Event Security printed on them. Then, he and his brother Ken, recruited six of their “monster” friends to wear them. Just like that, Rick became a Producer/Promoter, Booking Agent and Security Company owner! He wasn’t about to pay someone to do something he could take care of himself! Rick continued to work out of his dorm room, launching Bassman Productions from the cramped space under his twin-sized loft bed.
By age 25, Rick owned the Library Night Club in Isla Vista, was building a second club in Santa Barbara, owned Club Santa Barbara Modeling and Talent, and under the “Bassman Productions” banner, had annexed the majority of the band booking business in the “tri-counties” area (Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura). He was promoting concerts with acts such as The Police, The Talking Heads and The GoGos. He and his brother’s Security Guard Company was providing security on an exclusive basis for UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s football games, along with over 100 bars in Central and Southern California. His career took off, but so did his use of drugs. This never seemed to lighten up. With every step Rick took, he gained easier access to cocaine, heroin, and every other kind of drug there was. He did it all and his life quickly began to spiral out of control.
Later on, Rick knew he needed to get out of this lifestyle, so when an opportunity presented itself, he took it and moved to Colorado. This was his chance to get away from the temptations surrounding him. He landed an apartment in Boulder, Colorado, using that as a home base from which to attempt to sell home furnishings on the road, throughout the depressed economies of Colorado and Utah. As he recalls in Little Big Man, “I stepped out into the snow one morning to scrape ice off my windshield, and fell on my butt. That was my Henry-Hill-in-Goodfellas moment, where Henry goes out to get the paper while just moving into witness protection, and complains about the lousy pasta in his new home town. I had to get my life back.” Not ready to start his own business again, he applied for jobs at the only two “major” entertainment companies he could locate in all of Colorado.
He got called in for an interview and made such a great impression with the boss that Rick was hired on the spot. His job would be to create the “Celebrity and Sports” Division of a major agency in addition to representing top players on the Denver Broncos and Denver Nuggets sports teams. He also formed Power Team USA, which produced pro wrestling icons Sting and The Ultimate Warrior, which opened the door for his new career in the WWE.
Rick also fought in small events around the world before the term “mixed martial arts” was even coined, and as a small man in a world of giants, couldn’t resist inserting himself into pro-wrestling as well. The cancer, the hardcore lifestyle he’d lived before and the unrelenting punishment he put his body through, eventually caught up with him. His body began to break down. Always in the limelight, Rick continued to venture through different career paths and later founded “Ultimate Pro Wrestling” in California, which he sold to the WWE in 2007.
Rick had met and married an amazing and beautiful woman. But after ten years, he stepped away being “sidetracked” by business and his addictions.
“I blew that one,” Rick said, “but thankfully we are still friends.”
He later met a new girlfriend while sitting at the bar of a 5-star restaurant at The Mohegan Sun Casino, with Bob Sapp and Butterbean. She was the bartender and the GM of the restaurant.
“I went there and saw her every day and finally won her over!” he smiled gratefully.
After the two married, his new bride and her daughter moved in with Rick. He moved his girlfriend and her beautiful 2 year old daughter from Mystic, Connecticut to his home in San Clemente, California.
“I loved being a Daddy, more than ever, but I was just too volatile. I eventually blew that one too,” he shared.
His Ultimate Pro Wrestling and Valor Fighting Companies were hugely successful, and he was traveling the world regularly. Despite his new relationship and all of his successes, the pull towards drugs proved to be too much for Rick and his addiction continued to grow, along with increased physical pain and encroaching depression. After his girlfriend and daughter left, he found himself sinking further and further into darkness. Then his father passed after a horrific battle with pancreatic cancer, and that's when he really let his companies to slip from his grasp. With his career no longer what it used to be, he felt like his life was over yet again!
His pit bulls, Marley and Ramone, to whom he was incredibly dedicated, were the only loves left in his life. Rick boarded them for a few days while he tried to make another move to rebuild his life. He decided to go where he could really get away from the troubles haunting him. Somehow his dogs got loose from the boarding facility and Rick raced out to find them. While checking in at the Animal Shelter near where they had gone missing, an Animal Control Officer brought in a dog she had picked up off a nearby dirt road. Rick identified Marley’s crushed body as it was pulled out of a trash bag. Ramone was still lost and Rick was devastated, depressed and now homeless.
No longer “in my right mind,” Rick had the Animal Control Officer show him where she had found Marley. He parked his car on that dirt road, and lived there for two months, doing nothing other than looking for Ramone. Addicted to narcotics, he tried stealing to pay for his next fix and got shot! Removing the bullet from his own belly, he realized that something's gotta give. Rick found his way to a new “home” at his buddy’s studio in the San Fernando Valley.
“Partially coming back to my senses,” Rick explained, “I began to go back to work, but I fervently continued to search for Ramone. After 6 months missing, Ramone found his way home to me!”
Life slowly began to improve for Rick and eventually, he would be given a new furry puppy, named Gogo, by his BFF, Linda Blair. Things were looking up and Rick was in a great spot. He wasn’t as depressed and was making things happen for himself again. He was given the opportunity to write a book, which he accepted. Rick decided to move to the mountains to write his book. Just as he was finishing it, his back went out! After back surgery, Rick was left with a serious infection causing intense pain and suffering, and resulting in three more back surgeries, double kidney infections, and two “small” strokes! Once again, he lost EVERYTHING, spiraling back into a depression.
Now adding beautiful Eos to his growing pit bull pack, he decided to search for a rehabilitation center that would accept his dogs and himself. HOUSTON, TX! This was the ONLY rehab center he could find that would accept all of them and he took it! While living in Houston, Rick was able to set new goals and healthy ambitions for himself. And after completing rehab, he accomplished his first goal and moved to Maui, Hawaii. He still resides in what WAS a beat up, nearly condemned house that he had begged for. And he longed to sit in this beautiful spot while he continued his recovery process. Still struggling with depression, Rick reached out to the WWE (WWF) for help.
Participating in the programs provided through the WWE and staying proactive has helped Rick to beat his depression. He is only two years out of rehab and already making the biggest moves ever!
He has a rescue organization that he is very passionate about called, “The Bully Dog Rescue Coalition (BDRC) www.bullydogrescue.com.” With BDRC, Rick has formed “Bullies’ Angels”, composed of four women who, through having founded major land-based pit bull sanctuaries, are “doing the world’s greatest work to advocate for, and save, our beloved bully breeds.” His Talking Tough Podcast, featuring “The world’s toughest men and women at their most vulnerable,” launched March 28 on the Podcast One Network.
With guests including leaders of The Hells Angels, the CRIPS street gang, the LAPD, the NAVY Seals, the Holocaust Survivors, the Child Soldiers and of course, the WWE Superstars and UFC Icons, Talking Tough aims to be equal parts entertainment and inspiration. It explores the stories that made these men and women who they “appear” to be, details their “falls from grace” to the bottom, and chronicles them accepting responsibility while working their way back up to the top again. Each interview is heartfelt and in depth www.talking-tough.com.
“Being in the spotlight is a fun and scary thing. It is a place where you can get sucked in and lost in a world of drugs and pain,” he shared with conviction.
His podcast addresses the “tough stuff” that no one wants to talk about, but everyone wants to hear about. His book tells the story of how he rose from the trenches of his life, to where he is today.
Rick “The Machine” Bassman is an incredible and inspiring individual. He has such a positive outlook on life and continues to give back by helping others. He continues to practice positivity, which now “comes naturally,” stating, “I don’t have to tell myself to be happy anymore. I just am.”
Rick challenges all of you to be kind, to smile and to do something nice for the first 5 people you see everyday. You will soon see the difference in your life!
You can check out Rick’s rescue centers using the links below. You can also check out his site and read his amazing stories on his website. Don’t forget to subscribe to get updates about his new podcast. You will be inspired by his strength!
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