Private: Buster Gloves
An MMA fighter trains alone, inside an empty gym. A grey hood over his head. A cloak to hide him from the distractions of the outside world. We see his face. His features are rugged, but handsome. A sadness washed across his face. Glimpses of his character. Fight footage inside a cage. The solemn voice of the narrator awakens.
“This isn’t the life I wanted.”
Buster Gloves is a former decorated U.S Army Solider who built a successful MMA career while in service.
“2 tours in Iraq. 1 in Afghanistan. 18 pro fights. A career in professional wrestling.”
A decorated fighter and athlete, he has unbelievable ground game that’s very rare to see inside any ring.
“I’ve seen so many people vanish. Why am I still here?”
His career is mapped with bright peaks and dark valleys.
“I had the life I wanted. Something to love. Something to do. Something to hope for. And I was winning.”
They say most climbers who die, do it on the way back down.
“I lost everything… So quickly… And had to start over from zero.”
This is the story of the rise, the fall, and the rise again of William Bernard Glover. The fighter they call “The Bull of the North”, Buster Gloves.
The video package transitions from one picture to another as a young boy grows through the years.
As an adolescent, William grew up on a dairy farm outside of York, Pennsylvania. Lovingly given the nickname “Buster” by his grandfather, he was a gifted athlete. Farm strong, standing out both as a baseball player as a wrestler before entering high school. After moving to Richmond, VA to live with his mother, Buster enrolled in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class out of nothing more than just boredom. He took to it quickly and BJJ was his rock during his high school years.
::A young man posing in his cap and gown::
After graduation, Gloves immediately enlisted in the US Army, where he served four and a half years as an infantryman. During his service, Gloves reached a rank of Sergeant and spent time as a commanding officer. Combat sports training was a constant throughout his service.
::A young soldier in full uniform, straight faced, and serious::
While stationed at Fort Eustis military base in Newport News Virginia, Gloves began an amateur MMA fight career. He also married his longtime girlfriend and saw the birth of their first child, a boy, Dalton, named after Buster’s favorite character, in his favorite movie. Buster was deployed in Iraq less than a year after he enlisted.
::Pictures of a wedding, honeymoon, and happy man holding a new born baby::
While serving in Iraq in 2008, Gloves’ unit was ambushed by the enemy while securing a village. He and 39 fellow soldiers fought the enemy for six days before tanks and air support arrived to rescue them. Three soldiers, including Buster’s bunkmate and best friend were killed during the attack when a wall collapsed on top of them. For his actions, Gloves received a bronze star, awarded for heroism and performance above the call of duty.
::Buster Gloves in military fatigues, smiling and wrapping his arm around another soldier, a cigarette dangling from each of their lips.::
Just one year later, while using accumulated leave for training, Gloves won his pro MMA debut while still serving on active duty. Buster “The Bull” Glover as he was known back then, was able to amass a record of 6-0 and win the Shogun 205lbs light heavyweight title.
::Buster Gloves, bloodied at times, cage fighting against various opponents and holding a championship belt::
He lost his title the following year after losing it and gaining it back one last time. Gloves left the military and went full-time fighting for the next two years. In addition to earning his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Buster started his own MMA school. He continued to fight, but with mixed results.
::Buster Gloves and an opponent, exchanging punches, then that opponent with his hand raised by the referee and Buster looking down at the mat::
2012 marked the most difficult year of Gloves’ life. His wife Amanda had just given birth to their second child, Swayze, right before she was diagnosed with blood cancer. The diagnosis was a shock to the family and sent their lives into a tailspin. The cancer treatments got expensive, and Gloves started fighting as often as possible to help pay the mounting bill. He took matches, on short notice, lost most of them, and was eventually released from his MMA contract. His wife died 2 months later.
:Photos of Buster with his wife in various stages of cancer treatment::
Gloves officially retired from MMA in 2013 with a record of 12 wins and 6 losses. The 12 wins included 6 by knockout, 4 by submission, and 2 by decision. After his MMA career ended, Gloves turned his focus to raising his children and teaching his students.
:Pictures of the gym and Buster in a white BJJ Gi with his students::
In the time after his wife’s death, Buster was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. He struggled to deal with the loss of his wife and army brothers, and almost killed himself with drugs and alcohol.
:Pictures are shown of Gloves, drunken and passed out at a party::
Headed down a dark path, Buster changed course and started wrestling. The decision would prove to be the most important of his adult life. From then on, he balanced his life as a gym owner, professional wrestler, and father of two, building a following and thriving at home. He gave up the pills and the bottle, happy to just be alive. Then the phone rang, with an offer to wrestle at a major wrestling federation.
That brings us to today. The Soldier, the Father, the Fighter, the Wrestler… the Bull of the North.
“My next match will be my last one at PRIME.” Says the dad-bro sitting in a booth inside an Applebee’s. He takes a bite of his boneless buffalo wings while the two teenage boys in front of him digest what he just said. Some people say you shouldn’t eat boneless buffalo wings with a fork, that it takes away from the experience. But the truth is that the quality of a boneless buffalo wing is determined by the sauce, not by the delivery system.
“Did you get fired?” Asks one kid.
“Did you say the r-word? Says the awkward tween in the booth.
“What?! No. God no. Not since I saw Carlos Mencia at the DC Improv. Anyway, I went to the money guys and asked to be released from my contract.”
“I asked for my release. It’s like a resignation. It’s more respectful.”
“I don’t see how that’s any different. Sounds like quitting with extra steps.”
Buster has to pause for a moment. His children are becoming too powerful. A combination of dank memes and TikTok challenges have turned them into hardened trolls. He may have to release them into the sewers before they deadname the family dog.
“Look. I’m not quitting. I asked for a conditional release.”
“What does that mean?” Says one brother.
“I had a conditional release once. Also, we need to buy more conditioner.” Says the other brother.
Buster takes another bite of his boneless wing. The crispy breaded pieces of tender boneless chicken are tossed in one of several wing sauces. There is, of course, the classic buffalo flavor, but it’s only a gateway flavor to adult palettes. The Extra Hot Buffalo is a fuller flavor experience, but still lacks the kick of its moniker. When unsure which flavor of boneless wings to enjoy, honey BBQ is a tried-and-true method. Sweet and spicy. Savory and delicious. It’s available as part of the Applebee’s classic combo or standalone in a plentiful dish of poultry perfection.
“I promised to work one final match before moving on. It’s the right thing to do. I know I’m kind of an asshole, but I’m not a dirty asshole. They are running a business. They need to sell tickets. And I have commitments that I need to fulfil before I can walk away with my dignity still intact.
“Are you in the main event?”
“Main event?! Dalton, are you on the reefer? Do either one of you even watch the show?”
“I would if it was on Youtube.” Says Swayze.
“You’re killing me, Smalls… The answer to your question is NO. I’m not in the main event.”
“When is it?”
“It’s the first match. There. Are you guys happy now?”
Both of the children have a good laugh. Since 1980, millions of families, just like this, have share happy moments, just like this. Originally started as a small single location in Atlanta Georgia, Applebee’s was the passion project of culinary wizards, Bill and TJ Palmer. A lot has changed since then, with almost 2,000 locations in the U.S. and around the world, Applebee’s has brought the family back to the dinner table. Inside their walls, you will always be their guest for delicious food, in a neighborhood setting, with attentive service, at a great value.
“What happened? I thought you were elite, Dad. I thought you won all your matches.” Says the older brother.
“No. I won A match. Not ALL my matches. I need you guys to cut me some slack. You know this job is really hard right? The other guy is actually trying to beat me.”
“To be honest, I have no idea what the rules are.” Says the younger brother while keeping his eyes on his cell phone.
“Can we get back on topic, please? What I’m telling you is that I’m leaving PRIME and that means I’m going to be home more often.”
“K.” Says the older brother Dalton.
“Why are you leaving? You don’t like it?” Says the younger brother Swayze.
“Well, sort of. It’s hard to explain. They haven’t exactly rolled out the welcome mat, which I don’t blame them for. It’s unreasonable to expect your new employer to kiss your ass.”
“So, what’s the problem.”
“This is gonna sound lame, but I miss you guys. I get sick every time I leave you guys here, in Florida, while I get on an uncomfortable airplane for three hours, and I fly to Vegas. I freaking hate that town.”
Las Vegas has seven full-service Applebee’s restaurants. The original Las Vegas location was established in 1988 under the name T.J. Applebee’s Edibles and Elixirs. It was labelled as a casual family diner, open and affordable to the public, but urban legends and conspiracy theories say a darker secret lies within its walls. A number of unconfirmed stories have stated that the establishment has, at times, been tied to the mafia, underground fight clubs, and Satan worshippers. Curiously enough, during its 34-year history, over 60 people have died at just that one location. To this day, they continue offering an authentic American dining experience, featuring bottomless refills and all-you-can-eat boneless buffalo wings for just $13.99 (plus tax and tip).
“Why do you hate Vegas? Is it the gambling?” Asks Swayze.
“I bet it’s the hookers.” Suggests Dalton.
Buster burps cherry cola.
“Well, yeh. Both of those things. The whole town is just a shit show. The people who come to my shows aren’t even wrestling fans. They’re Vegas fans. Families don’t come to our shows.
“I bet families of hookers come to your shows.”
Buster has a couple long blinks and a deep breath as Jesus takes the wheel.
Dalton continues. “So, you’re a quitter now? Are we just allowed to quit stuff when it starts to suck?”
“Dally, I just can’t do it. I can’t go to that place anymore. They think I’m a joke. The hotel smells like Aunt Dottie’s cigarette purse.”
Swayze pulls the classic combo of Applebee’s delicious appetizers directly in front of him. Shielding it from the Dad-tears. He scarfs the mozzarella sticks and patronizes his father. “It’s ok, Dad. You shouldn’t work a bad job if you don’t like it.”
“It’s not even like that. It’s a great company, but it just hasn’t worked out for me. The timing has been wrong. I made some mistakes. My head is all screwed up. I’m talking to my sponsor about working through some issues.”
Through melty fried cheese and savory marinara, Swayze opines. “You just started there a couple months ago. Just seems quick.”
“Ok, let me put it this way. You probably have a girl in school that you like. She’s pretty. Nice hair. Lots of followers.”
Both boys speak in unison. “Becky Berkhart.”
“Sure. Becky Berkhart. So, let’s say you start dating Becky.”
“Me maybe. Not Humperfart over here.” Says Dalton as Swayze glared back with the fire of a thousand suns.
“Can you guys, just… not, for a minute?”
“So, you’re dating Becky Berkhart. And it’s great at first. All your friends are impressed because you landed one of the hottest chicks in your grade.”
“You can’t say chicks.” Says Swayze.
“Fuck off! I can’t?” Buster says.
“No. It’s offensive.”
“Well, what am I supposed to call them?”
“Nothing. You can’t say anything anymore.”
“What do you say to girls?”
“Nothing. We’re terrified of them.”
“That… that’s fair. Ok, so let’s enter the magical land of unicorns and non-threatening boy-girl interactions, where you and your girlfriend, Becky Berkhart, are going steady. You’re holding hands. You’re kissing under the bleachers. And one day you find out that she’s also kissing other boys under the bleachers. Not only that. But she’s also saying some unflattering things about you. To be fair to her, most of what she’s saying is true, but it still hurts. You know what I mean?”
In unison. “No.”
“God. You two are giving me a stroke. If your girlfriend was shitty to you, would you continue dating her or would you dump her?”
“I don’t know.” Says Dalton.
“He’d stay with her because he likes her boobs.”
“I feel you there, bro. But let’s not forget that Becky Berkhart is a dirty cheater.”
This gathers the unwanted attention of other guests who may be related to dirty cheater Becky Berkhart or may just be the nosy neighbors in the hood. If only these kitschy walls could talk, what stories, what curiosities, what horrors would they speak of. The depths of the human experience drip from layers of regional flair.
“Let’s say Becky Berkhart, moves three hours away, then she starts speaking some heinous shit about you. You only get to see her every two weeks and when you do see her, all she wants to do is tell you how she wishes you were taller. Would you still stay with her?”
“Screw that.” Admits Dalton.
“Yeh. I’m out too.” Speaks Swayze.
“Well, that, my friends, is what it’s like to have a job that you don’t enjoy. I called my boss and gave her my two-week notice. I’m still going to fight until my last day. I’m still going to win my match. And then I’m walking out the doors with my head held high, never to visit that noisy freaking town for as long as I may live.”
“Dad, can we order our own food now?”
“Not yet, Son. Half priced apps don’t start at Applebee’s until 9pm.”
Eat good in your neighborhood my friends. For the night is long and full of terrors.
UNDER THE CLOAK
Black letters on a white screen.
Fear is a cloak
which old men huddle
about their love,
As if to keep it warm
We fade from a white screen into a white room. White walls, ceilings, and floors. Artificial white lights from recessed fixtures blind the camera. We pan to the right, showing more of the sterile room, before revealing a man in blue jeans and a black hoodie sitting in a white folding chair. We recognize the man as journeyman wrestler, The Bull of the North, Buster Gloves. He leans back in his chair, eyes closed, breathing calmly. His gloved hands slung across his thighs. He screws his eyes shut and takes a deep breath, then blinking his eyes open.
Buster: It’s not easy to admit when you’re wrong. Most people would rather freeze to death than to do it. They’d rather be fooled a hundred times than have to admit they were fooled just once. The body rejects it, because the ego is more powerful than the truth. Your ego tells you to trust your gut and to commit to the choices you’ve made. But the ego lies. It always lies. And the soul cannot exist until the ego dies.
Buster: I’m admitting to the world that I made the wrong decision. And it’s time to change course. It’s better, for me, to recognize that mistakes were made, and actions need to be taken before I stack more mistakes on top of the original. If being in AA has taught me anything, it’s that it’s never too late to get back on track.
Buster: I thought I could do this all by myself. I thought the wrestling world would be so impressed by my skills and character than I’d immediately be loved and welcomed with open arms. Somebody told me that it wasn’t safe to go alone, but I was too proud to listen. And I paid a pound of flesh for it.
Buster: I thought I’ve seen pain before. Real pain. Like the loss of a soul mate. The loss of an entire band of brothers. I thought that overcoming addiction had thickened my skin into armor. It didn’t. The men and women backstage at PRIME have proven that I’m not made of reinforced concrete. I’m only made of spare parts. I’m a patchwork juggernaut. Weak at the knees and strong on the mat.
Buster: I thought… I think… too, damn, much. When everything is perfectly fine, there I am, inside my own head. When someone is reaching out to me, telling me to be cautious, I’m miles away. In my thoughts. Sure that I have it all figured out. I spend way too much time taking my life for granted. That ends at Ultraviolence.
Buster: I wrestle every match like I’m defending the gates of the golden city. Like if I fail, the helpless souls inside the walls will be destroyed. I wrestle for the memory of my deceased wife and friends and ancestors. I wrestle for my children and their futures. But I have never once just wrestled for myself.
Buster: So, when a man like Sean Warstein tells me that the world I live in is false, fake news, my natural instinct is to reject his lies. Only his lies, aren’t lies at all. They are the ugly truth walking through the ashes of the pretty lies. The lie I was living told me that wrestling is forever. Wrestling isn’t forever. It doesn’t even matter.
Buster: Sean tried to warn me. He told me that this place isn’t safe to walk around. And I was too proud to listen. But he was right. Stone trolls roam these halls, avoiding the light, and using the bones of the little people to bake their bread.
Buster: When all you hear are lies told to you by people who benefit from your failure, you begin to lose sight of what is real and what is an illusion. In the dream world, nothing you say, or do, matters. Regardless of what you said, regardless of what you do, you always end up right where you’re supposed to be, just the way you are.
Buster: What I’ve learned, only later in life, is that people only like you if you’re losing. They only want to help you, if you can’t help yourself. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Doing the right thing only ensures the inevitable. That you’ll die alone.
Buster: I’m headed into a match at Ultraviolence with Mr. Warstein, and to be quite honest, I don’t really care if the fans are behind me or not. I’m fighting this battle for myself. I’m not ready to die. I don’t need fans. Win or lose, I’m good enough, for me.
Buster: Living your life alone in a dark room surrounded by ghosts is no way to be victorious. You need to let the light in. As I have. Forget the narrative. Throw away the script. Go your own way. No one actually likes you. They don’t even remember who you are.
Buster: If I continue down my path, Shawn Warstein ends my career before it ever began and gains nothing. If I embrace the ultra-violence, I come out a winner regardless of whether or not they raise my hand. I’m ready to break my chains, become the anonymous, and embrace immortality.
I’m ready to wear the cloak. Give it to me, or I’ll take it myself.