Screenshot: YouTube

Sage Northcutt—the UFC golden boy who just celebrated his birthday the only way he knows how—went on Australian MMA show Submission Radio last week and talked about the process of auditioning for the part of Ivan Drago, Tyron Woodley teaching him how to season chicken, his forthcoming move back up to fighting at 170 pounds, and also his run-in with a bear at Lake Tahoe.

Here is Northcutt’s story, which starts at 9:36 in the video below:

One of the first times that I was up in Sacramento, California, I was up in the mountains—and this is almost towards the Lake Tahoe area. I’m up in the mountains, I went running and climbed this waterfall by myself. I’m in the middle of nowhere, I climbed about two miles past the waterfall, and all of a sudden everything gets real quiet. Well, I didn’t know at the time, but there’s black bears up there. So I heard something grunting. All I had was a little tiny knife on me just for like protection, just because I need it, but it couldn’t do anything to a black bear, I don’t think.

So, what I did was I hid behind the water that was coming out of the waterfall, and it was absolutely freezing. So, I hid for about five minutes. I didn’t move. And when I heard the grunting stop, I just took off sprinting. I literally sprinted two miles as fast as I could, hiked down the waterfall and made it back to my truck.

[...]

It was pretty crazy because at first I was like, “Maybe it’s a cougar, maybe it’s something.” I didn’t know what it was. And I’m over behind the waterfall where the water’s coming out, and I take my phone out and I’m trying to Google if there’s bears in California.

And then I remembered, like, I saw a statue of a bear. It was a gold bear or a silver bear in Sacramento like an hour and a half away. So I’m like, “Okay, like, there’s gotta be bears.” So then I just waited, I was completely quiet and didn’t move. And then when it stopped, I was, my heart was definitely racing cause I took off so fast. My adrenaline was going so much I felt like I was floating on my feet, like, flying.

He probably could have beaten the bear up, though.