Freestyle motocross pioneer, legend, superstar… call him what you will but Brian Deegan – AKA “The General” – has earned all of the above titles through the school of hard knocks, a rebellious youth and sheer determination.
If you were riding dirt bikes in the early 2000’s onwards you would know of Deegan’s name as one of the most recognized riders around at the time. He has graced the pages of numerous different types of magazines, starred on television and in movies, and performed as stunt doubles for movies such as The Fantastic Four and Spiderman. His bold and fearless riding style has captivated millions around the world and has subsequently shaped a colorful life for Deegan consisting of wild parties, money, fame, business opportunities and life threatening crashes amongst other things.
Brian Deegan grew up in Nebraska but after his parents got divorced when he was about 12 he claims to have got pretty mad which may have fueled his careless and fearless attitude he was so well known for in his younger years. He rode his first dirt bike at 10 years old and fell in love with riding motocross. After graduating from High School he packed up and left for California to chase his dream on a budget not even fit enough for a Budhist Monk. Despite that he turned pro at 17 and in 1997 he won the Pro Lites Supercross at the Los Angeles Coliseum (throwing his bike across the finish line without being on it in true Deegan style).
Shortly after that Deegan founded the successful Metal Mulisha which as you probably know is a bunch of seriously talented, slightly mental and totally crazy freestyle riders who perform in live shows, dirt bike vids and competitions – famous for their acts of non-conformity and wild flame throwing, gun blazing shows.
The General has naturally had his fair share of nasty accidents of which his worst almost killed him and helped lead him to a relationship with God. He came up short on the rotation of a backflip in 2005. Upon landing he copped a gut full of handle bar resulting in a severely damaged spleen, a shiteload of blood shed and the removal of a kidney. A huge caterpillar-like scar spans the length of his stomach now which he refers to as his “Zipper”.
His other famous horrendous crash occurred at the 2004 Winter X Games. He was attempting a 360 over a 90 footer while he wasn’t feeling confident. He couldn’t pull the bike around and landed heavily on all fours onto the ice breaking his femur and both wrists. (You can actually watch the surgery of the removal of his pins on Youtube if you can handle it.)
Deegan’s list of accomplishments is impressive. In 2003 he became the first person to land a 360 / backflip, now known as the Mulisha Twist, in competition. He has one of the largest collections of FMX X Games medals. He made it to the ESPN top 100 athletes of all sports in 2004 and was awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award of The Transworld Motocross Awards in Las Vegas 2009. On top of all that he produces and sells his own range of clothing and merchandise through his Metal Mullisha brand.
After his kidney departing accident, Brian Deegan has mellowed out and accepted that his craziest days of riding FMX are in the past. He now focuses on his business ventures, family and off road truck racing. Sound familiar? Seems to be the common track that ex-pro FMX riders are tearing up these days. I guess it still offers the high speed thrills in dirt but in the ‘safety’ of a roll cage. Regardless, Brian Deegan will always rest safely in the front pages of the history books of FMX.
D.O.B: May 9, 1975
Place of Birth: Nebraska – United States
Nickname: The General
Other Interests: Off road truck racing, running businesses, family
* All care was taken to get this information correct at the time of writing. If anything is wrong please contact me so I can correct it.