Fred Rosser didn’t expect to be a free agent last October. Wrestling at the time as Darren Young, he had just done some media interviews when the WWE let him know they wouldn’t be extending his contract.
“It was a little rough,” Rosser told Outsports in the middle of a heavy training schedule in Los Angeles. “And it happened right before my birthday. It was rough. But nothing lasts forever.”
Now Rosser, nicknamed “Mr. No Days Off,” is returning to the ring for his first post-WWE match Friday, March 9, in his hometown of Union, N.J. He’ll take on 425-pound Fallah Bahh, who is nearly double Rosser’s weight.
While he loves the physical and entertainment natures of professional wrestling, Rosser has bigger aspirations than title belts. Having come out publicly in 2013, Rosser has since committed much of his life to ending bias toward LGBTQ people and being a beacon of hope for people facing hate and bigotry across our society.
“I lived my life for 30 years not being myself,” Rosser said. “Now that I’m able to be myself, so I want people to see me on TV or in person and look at me and say, ‘If he can do it then I can do it.’”
Rosser said when he did come out publicly almost five years ago, he was surprised by some of his fellow wrestlers who went out of their way to make him feel welcome. He said CM Punk made it a point to demonstrate his support in front of other wrestlers in the locker room, letting Rosser know that if he had a problem with anyone, CM Punk would handle it.
He said other wrestlers who were particularly kind to him were Randy Orton and Big Show.
“I was fearful they wouldn’t support me, but these were guys who really had my back,” Rosser said.
Rosser has taken that support and paid it forward. He’s become a huge supporter of The Trevor Project, which helps LGBTQ youth at risk of suicide. He also works with Covenant House, which provides services to LGBTQ homeless youth in Los Angeles. On March 23 he will be part of Covenant House’s Sleep Out, spending the night on the street, “an act of solidarity with the millions of people who are homeless every year,” he said.
“My fight is much bigger than in the ring. It’s fighting bigotry and hatred. I want to be remembered for being a good human being, and someone who paved a way for others to live an honest life.”
If you’re in the New Jersey area on March 9, be sure to head out to Rosser’s big return to the ring. You can also find Rosser on his Web site, where you can find more information about his wrestling and his work toward equality.