From horrifying injuries to MMA glory, get a glimpse into the wild origins of the American Gladiators and where the stars are today

AMERICAN Gladiators became an iconic part of television in the 1990s.

The show was recently featured in a new 30 for 30 ESPN feature called The American Gladiators Documentary.

The American Gladiators took place from 1989 to 1996


The American Gladiators took place from 1989 to 1996Credit: IMBD/MGM

American Gladiators was co-developed by Johnny Ferraro and Dan Carr.

The pair first hosted the first edition of “American Gladiators” at their local gym in 1982.

Ferraro later successfully presented the concept for the television show.

American Gladiators, held in the United States from 1989 to 1996, saw amateur athletes compete against self-proclaimed gladiators in various sporting events.

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Two men and two women would compete, with the winner taking home $10,000.

Among the participants were former bodybuilders and professional athletes, several of whom can be seen in the new documentary.

In addition to the documentary, a new Netflix series featuring many of the American gladiators is due out at the end of June.

Muscles & Mayhem: An Unauthorized Story of American Gladiators will tell more about the rise and fall of the series and take a closer look at what really happened behind the scenes.

But the show wasn’t all fun and games.

Many of the participants suffered serious injuries during the competition.

Here we take a look at some of America’s top gladiators and what they’ve been up to since they left the show.


Michael “Myke” Horton starred in American Gladiators from 1898 to 1992.

Horton enjoyed a 10-year career in the NFL and Canadian Football League and was also a martial artist.

After the show, he landed acting roles in films and commercials.

He works as a personal trainer and his two sons have followed in his footsteps as professional soccer players.


Dan Clark, known as Nitro on the series, performed from 1989–1992 and later returned for the 1994–1995 season.

Clark was a football player who spent a brief stint in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams.

After the show, Clark appeared in a number of films and television shows.

He served as producer on the TV return of American Gladiators in 2008.

Clark has written two books and is traveling the country to tell his story as a motivational speaker after a near-death experience in 2013.


Deron McBee starred in the series in 1989 and again in 1991-1992.

McBree has appeared in several films and television shows, including 1995’s Batman Forever and Roswell.

He also became a professional wrestler known as Kid Fury.


Lynn “Red” Williams competed on the show from 1992 to 1996 before joining the International Gladiators in Birmingham, England from 1996 to 1998.

Williams was a professional football player prior to the show until suffering a career-ending injury in 1988.

After the show, like many other competitors, he appeared in several films and television shows.

He and Malibu co-starred in the 1997 video game film sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.


Jim Starr appeared in every season of the original series American Gladiators.

He joined the show after stints on various NFL and Canadian Football League teams, and after winning the 1986 bodybuilding title Mr. Montana” had won.

After his time on the show, Starr stayed true to the fitness world.

He worked for various gyms and fitness centers before founding the Sports Nutrition Consulting Group.


Sha-ri Pendleton-Mitchell appeared on the series from 1989 to 1992.

Before the show, she was a hurdler and triple jumper at the University of Nebraska.

Pendleton-Mitchell also participated in the 1991 US Olympic Festival in Los Angeles, competing as a female bodybuilder.

The former competitor reportedly went to law school and had a son, Re-Al Mitchell, who caught attention as a sprinter and played football for the University of San Diego in 2022.


Lori Fetrick appeared on the series from 1990 to 1992 and from 1993 to 1996.

She then performed at International Gladiators in Birmingham, England from 1996 to 1998.

Fetrick was a professional bodybuilder and reached NPC National Level prior to the show.

She then continued her fitness journey, becoming a personal trainer and opening her own gym in Florida.

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Fetrick recently started a new podcast, Chillin’ with ICE.

Part two of the documentary, The American Gladiators, premieres May 31 at 9 p.m. on ESPN, followed by streaming on ESPN+.


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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