Growing up, MVP ran with some rough crowds in Florida. He joined a gang at age 12, spent six months in a juvenile detention center, and served over nine years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping when he was 16.
Despite his criminal past, MVP was able to overcome to make it into the wrestling business in 2002. In 2005, he signed a developmental deal with WWE.
Speaking to Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory, MVP discussed WWE giving him an opportunity when very few would.
"When I got to the WWE, I was given an opportunity that society wouldn't give me. Society wouldn't give me an opportunity to make minimum wage," said MVP. "Vince McMahon said, 'Yeah, you did some bad things, but everybody here gets an opportunity. You've earned an opportunity.' He gave me an opportunity to become an Internationally known professional wrestling superstar. With that came social redemption. I'm still 190197. You never forget that number. I'll always be that. Even today, on social media, if I make a social comment I'll get, 'Yeah, well, you shouldn't have kidnapped those people.' You're right, I shouldn't have kidnapped those people, but I went to prison and served my time. It's done. Now, because I'm MVP and go to prisons and given speeches, there is a section of society that will say, 'He's a changed man.'"
MVP said being in WWE has allowed him to achieve "social redemption" and now he's looked at differently because he's a WWE superstar. He said, previously, people would judge him by his past or the color of his skin, but now that he's on weekly television, he's viewed as a good guy.
He went on to say that with his newfound fame, he wants to change the lives of others, which is why he tries to go to prisons to talk to inmates about turning their life around.
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