If there existed an International Bouncers’ Hall of Fame, it would have to have an entire wing named after “El Guapo” Bas Rutten, and a statue of his likeness out front. Because, in my humble opinion, he is quite simply the greatest bouncer of all time.
And I’m far from alone in that opinion, as evidenced during dozens of interviews with tough guys from all over the world during which many of them took a moment to ask, “You’re getting Bas for this, right? You’ve gotta get Bas.”
But before all the bright lights, world titles and red carpets, Bas Rutten was the most feared bouncer in his native Holland, forging a savage legend in its clubs, streets and alleyways that endures to the present day.
And now, with extreme pride and pleasure, WHEN WE WERE BOUNCERS presents these worldwide-exclusive, never-before-told stories of El Guapo’s early days.
In Holland, when you have to go to court, that means you really fucked it up and you went too hard.
One time at a company Christmas party, a week before I was [scheduled to fight] in a Thai boxing match, this middle-aged guy goes crazy. He hits a woman, then he hits a guy, then he hits my mother-in-law! He has, like, delirium, and he is foaming around his mouth and freaking out.
Even though I am just a guest and not a bouncer at this place, I still have to do something, so I grab him from the back and say, “You gotta stop this, bud — we will go outside and I’ll find you a tree, and you can hit the tree.” So I’m walking, pushing him outside, and my wife at the time is following us but staying back to be safe. While we’re going out the door, this 65-year-old guy who used to work for the company that’s having the party, he sees the delirium guy and says, “Hey, Theo”… or Leo, whatever the guy’s name was… and then the Theo guy socks the old guy right in his head!
So I start pushing Theo the rest of the way out really fast, but when we get outside, Theo’s son-in-law comes out also and they both attack me! So I drop them both with punches and it’s easy — BAM, BAM — and then I smile at my wife and say, “Hey, things are looking good for next week!” (laughs)
Then I hear somebody scream, and I look over and see that Theo is back up and he’s running at me again, so I kick him right to the face. But because he’s coming at me so fast, I hit him with my shin instead of my foot and… ooooh, that was a bad one, man. Cracked his skull, his teeth were out, his jaw broke… it was really scary.
When the police came to the scene, they looked at his face and then started looking around and asking where I put the baseball bat. They wouldn’t believe me that I did that with only my leg! (laughs)
In the hospital, Theo had to get his jaw wired shut. He was in a coma, only half-conscious, and he kept mumbling over and over about razor blades and scissors. When I heard about that, I thought, “Oh no, I kicked him insane” — well, more insane than he already was — and I right away called my brother who is a lawyer. After I told my brother what happened, he said, “You don’t remember anything, right? Everything went black, right?”, and I said, “ … right, yes… everything went black and I don’t remember.”
After that, the police questioned me and they kept trying to trick me, asking me what colour shirt Theo was wearing and things like that, to prove I had a clear mind during the fight. But I just kept saying, “I have no clue, everything went black”, and they eventually had to let me go. But because [the damage] was so bad, I had to go to court for this one.
It was an open court and for some reason a group of women came in to watch, and I had also a female judge. So I went up to the podium where the accused have to stand, and the judge motioned to the women in the audience and said, “Mr. Rutten, it looks like you brought your fan club”. And I said, “That’s right, let’s hear it, ladies!” (laughs) The judge was not happy that I took it to the next level, but I told her, “I’m sorry, but you started it”, and she had to smile a little bit at that.
We had the trial, and in the end the judge said, “I don’t like it, but because of the evidence I have to let you go.” As soon as she said “not guilty” I knew it was over and now I can say whatever I want, so I look at her and go, “You know exactly what happened and why he got hurt. He hit a guy, then he hit two women including my mother-in-law, then he hit an older guy, and THEN him and his son-in-law attacked me with bad intentions! Trust me, I was in the right.” And she gave a little smile again, so I could tell that she was really okay with it.
Thankfully, Theo ended up being okay. Three days after the incident, he woke up and started speaking normal again, thank god. You should understand that [his coma] scared the shit out of me, I was really scared. The guy had kids, he was even a grandfather. I thought I really messed him up, maybe turned him into a person who’s brain dead or something. I didn’t sleep for the whole three days he was in a coma because it really bothered me that he might be permanently injured.
I mean, he deserved it, but I didn’t wanna hurt him that bad. Sometimes going too far is too far.
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