MidWest Kong recounts his life as a violent youth and how being stabbed nine times changed everything

In the latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, hosted by the fitness legend Mike O’Hearn with guest host Clark Bartram, listeners were treated to an inspiring journey through the life of Brandon “MidWest Kong” Copeland. A Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black Belt and former dominant force in Mixed Martial Arts, Copeland’s story is one of resilience, redemption, and the pursuit of a better self.

Brandon “MidWest Kong” Copeland embodies the strength of a champion and the heart of a hero. A Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black Belt, Copeland dominated the Mixed Martial Arts scene from 2005 to 2014, showcasing tenacity and skill. Initiating the “I Stopped The Bully” campaign in 2011, he became a beacon against bullying, inspiring youth across schools and detention centers.

Discovered by fitness icon Kali Muscle, Copeland excelled in the fitness industry, breaking records like bench pressing 225 pounds 81 consecutive times. A published children’s book author, he spreads messages of hope and community. With infectious humor and motivational prowess, Copeland champions unity, family, and dreams.

Sitting down for a discussion during the recent 2024 Arnold Classic, MidWest Kong reflects on his past, his fitness journey, and his future giving back to the community. Helping to bring mental health awareness to the forefront of urban youth communities. Let’s dive in.


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MidWest Kong, Julius Maddox, CT Fletcher, & More To Appear In Upcoming Documentary

As MidWest Kong looks back at his past, his strength and combat achievements – the also looks towards the future and contributions that he wants to provide to urban youth culture. Notably, he is a part of the Sonz Of A Beast Initiative Project. Working with CT Fletcher, Julius Maddox, and others – Sonz Of A Beast aims to help young men in urban areas via fitness and education on mental health.

In addition to the Sonz Of A Beast Initiative Project, Generation Iron will be producing a documentary chronicling the rise of this endeavor and the journeys of those involved with the project. You can check out the full announcement right here.

The Roots of Martial Arts

From his early days in the martial arts scene, Copeland reminisces about a time when the sport was not driven by financial gain but rather by a raw intensity and honesty. He describes his introduction to Jujitsu as a humbling experience, where despite his physical prowess at 220 pounds, a smaller opponent could effortlessly control him. This fueled his desire to master the art of technique over brute strength.

Confronting Adversity: A Personal Journey

Growing up in a low-income neighborhood with a strong family structure, Copeland’s life was marred by the specter of abuse. He candidly shares his experiences of violence, both as a victim and as someone who perpetuated it. A turning point came in 2004 when he was stabbed nine times in a harrowing altercation. This brush with mortality forced Copeland to confront the negative energy he was perpetuating and spurred him on a journey of self-improvement and redemption.

From Darkness to Light: A Path of Redemption

Despite facing adversity, including the abandonment of his daughter’s mother during his recovery, Copeland resolved to become a better person for himself, his family, and his community. He delved into his own mental health struggles, recognizing the importance of addressing trauma and aggression head-on. This led him to collaborate with luminaries like Julius Maddox and CT Fletcher on the Sons of a Beast nonprofit, aimed at promoting men’s mental health through fitness.

Inspiring Others: The Legacy of Copeland’s Journey

Copeland’s story serves as a beacon of hope for anyone grappling with adversity. His journey from violence to redemption underscores the transformative power of self-reflection, resilience, and the unwavering pursuit of a better tomorrow. As he continues to champion unity, family, and dreams, Copeland’s infectious humor and motivational prowess resonate far beyond the confines of the podcast, inspiring listeners to embrace their own path to personal growth and fulfillment.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, Brandon “MidWest Kong” Copeland’s appearance on The Mike O’Hearn Show was not just a recounting of his past exploits, but a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the capacity for positive change. As his story reverberates through the airwaves, it serves as a reminder that no matter how dire the circumstances, redemption is always within reach for those willing to seize it.

You can watch the full episode above. And make sure to check back every week for new episodes on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.