Minden native Daniel Payne went from facing a daunting criminal charge to facing a rising career as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter, and now he wants to repair the reputation he damaged.
"I got a bad reputation in the town from partying too much and getting into some bad stuff," Payne said. "I really want to repair that with this community."
In July 2009 Payne was charged with aggravated second-degree battery in the beating of Waldo, Arkansas resident Robert Dixon, who reportedly was knocked unconscious at a party on Lake Claiborne that Payne and his friends were attending. Payne was acquitted of those charges.
Now he is focusing on his future and making strides in the world of MMA.
"When I was in high school I decided to go into boxing and I was pretty good at it," Payne explained. "Then I went to college and got fat and lazy. Then I got tired of being out of shape and decided to start boxing again."
After a year of getting back into shape, Payne turned towards MMA.
"I watched MMA during the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) when it was just starting and I always thought 'Man, I can do that. I know I can'," Payne said. "So I decided to try it. It was and is hard. I have to be very disciplined in what I eat, drink and do. I have to train everyday. It is hard work on your body, but when you get in that cage and you know you have done your best that hard work and discipline is worth it."
According to Payne, he works out at four different gyms and works with several trainers to keep him in fighting condition.
"When you know you have trained the hardest and best you can it gives you confidence," he said. "If you know you haven't trained the best you can you won't be as confident and you will probably lose. I got knocked out in my last fight because I wasn't really ready. It was pretty vicious, but I know now I have to train my hardest to be ready next time."
When he's not fighting, Payne is being filmed by a national entertainment television network for a reality series, making public appearances and gearing up to speak to local youth groups. He also has a job with the Webster Parish Tax Assessor's Office.
"I really like this job," Payne said. "If I don't make it big in MMA, which is my ultimate goal, I would like to stick with this job and maybe finish up school."
Payne will be at South Beach Tanning for an appearance on Sunday from 3-5 p.m. There will be prizes, drinks provided by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Minden and free tanning for South Beach Tanning Appreciation Day.