Jason Ellis isn’t shy about much. The audacious MMA fighter, and former pro skateboarder, has taken to his popular radio show to share aspects of his life including drug use, the abuse he suffered as a kid and sex with women. Lots of sex with women.
In the last couple of years he’s opened up about sex with men. Lots of sex with men.
Now in his new book, Still Awesome: The Trials and Tribulations of an Egotistical Maniac, Ellis pulls back the curtain on the now-not-so-secret life of a married man — in love with and sexually attracted to his wife — who at the same time is having sex with men.
He pulls no punches, sharing stories about bringing men into the bedroom, the three-way he had with his wife and a trans woman before a fight, his escapades with the all-men hook-up app Grindr, and his therapy sessions that have helped him focus his sex life a bit more on quality over quantity.
Yet as Ellis has been writing his book and opening up on the radio, some people in his uber-macho worlds of MMA fighting, skateboarding and talk radio have raised an eyebrow or flat-out suggested Ellis keep his sex with other men under wraps.
“They tell me, ‘Man, this isn’t cool you talking about it,’” Ellis said from his home in Los Angeles. “But I’m going to keep talking about it because they shouldn’t be frowning on it. They tell me to maybe keep it to myself. But maybe not. Maybe there’s a 17 year-old-guy thinking about killing himself, and he sees me and he thinks, ‘Hey maybe I can just be myself.’”
According to Ellis, he brings the concept of “sex with dudes” home for a lot of these men in a way that undermines their own visions of themselves as macho straight men. Ellis is, on the one hand, the epitome of machismo. An MMA fighter and boxer who “loves being punched in the face.” A professional skateboarder. A truck racer. A guy who has openly talked and bragged about sexual escapades with copious women. Tatt’d from head to toe.
These new revelations about his sexual escapades with just as many men, as well as his self-identification as bisexual, in a way bring into question the assumptions so many men in these macho worlds have had about the public’s perception of them.
“It makes people uncomfortable to know that I do things with guys,” Ellis said. “They say I rub it in their face. But I’m not. They wanted to read the first book to hear about all the women I’ve slept with. This book is the same, but I talk about sleeping with a bunch of guys and girls. But this goes too far? Really?”
Ellis very publicly was the center of some man-on-man action when he visited the Howard Stern show, got naked and let gay Star Trek star George Takei get up-close and personal with him. That was 2011, and Ellis was “straight at the time.” He said being a straight guy who played the “uncomfortable” role of being touched by another man was all fun and games.
Now that he’s out as bisexual, doing and talking about those same kinds of things makes many straight men in his alternative, tatt’d up, skateboarding, MMA world feel uncomfortable.
In fact, Ellis said he has noticed listenership for his radio show decline a bit since he started talking openly on the show about being bi.
One of those people with a problem hearing about his sexuality, according to Ellis, was Donald Cerrone. Ellis said that Cerrone blanched when Ellis mentioned he was bisexual and sleeps with guys while interviewing Cerrone on his radio show.
Cerrone later went on Joe Rogan’s podcast and called Ellis “a faggot,” telling Rogan he just didn’t want to say it to Ellis directly.
Cerrone has a history with that word, once saying a fighter “fought like a fag.” He of course apologized... then two years later called Ellis “a faggot.”
“Why didn’t he say this to my face?” Ellis asked. “Instead of just saying it to Joe Rogan a week later? He’s a fucking jerk. I’m completely let down by that guy.”
Part of the let-down he feels, Ellis admits, is his tendency to focus on the negative reactions. While painting a general picture of rejection and closed minds in and around his vocations, when we dug a little deeper Ellis shared that the majority of people have been cool and supportive. As he shares in the book, “For the most part, no one really seemed to care all that much. And that made it easier for me not to care so much about it either.”
Still, the rejection he feels — the way someone says something, sudden distance he feels from his listeners or fellow fighters — lingers with him.
“It’s just the one guy who calls me a ‘fag,’ and I end up focusing on that.”
He said venturing into podcasting has been good for his soul. On his radio show, when he starts telling stories about going to a gay sex club like The Zone in Los Angeles, Ellis said the SiriusXM phone lines often go silent — “Nobody wants to talk about that,” he said.
Yet the podcasts, he observed, draw a different kind of crowd than guys in their cars, and he’s noticed a lot more outward support from the podcast listeners.
Regardless of whether people love or hate these conversation, he isn’t going to stop talking. Ellis has made his life an open book for years, and he refuses to go back into the closet.
It’s not just his “straight” colleagues who have pushed back on him. He said as a bisexual man he feels erased by a lot of gay men and the LGBTQ community at large. Ellis said when he has sex with men and mentions his wife, he often gets one of two reactions.
“I usually get called straight, which is always confusing to me. I’m standing next to you with my pants off. How straight could I be?”
The other reaction is claim he’s simply on a journey and he’ll eventually come out as gay. So many gay men have passed through that “phase” when they called themselves bisexual — maybe most notably Olympic diver Tom Daley.
Yet bisexuality exists. While Ellis wonders whether the community is serious about including the “B” in LGBTQ, he knows for himself and for many people being bi isn’t a passing part of the journey, it’s the destination.
“Ask my wife. I’m trying to have sex with her all the time. She’s not my beard. And I love having sex with guys too.”
The biggest reason for all of this, Ellis said, is the couple hundred people who have reached out and said he’s given them hope. With so few men in his circles talking publicly about their true private lives and desires, Ellis has found he’s a touchpoint for so many men like himself who are scared of how their world will react to them being into other guys.
“I don’t have an education, and now i’m in the position to maybe help someone not kill themselves,” Ellis said. “So I don’t care what other people think.”
Despite his somewhat harsh exterior Ellis is, at his core, a softie.
“I just wish everyone was more accepting of everybody. Sometimes I want to just go hide so I’m not attacked. Why can’t people just accept if you’re gay or pansexual, or whatever, good for you. The end of the world is not coming because I’m not straight.”
You can buy Jason Ellis’ revealing new book, Still Awesome, co-written by Mike Tully, at JasonEllisBook.com.