Growing up, MVP had a tough childhood in Florida. He joined a gang at age 12, which harmed him and for that reason he spent six months in a juvenile detention center, as well as more than nine years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping when he was 16 years old. Despite his criminal past, MVP was able to overcome him to become a wrestling superstar in 2002. In 2005, he signed a development agreement with WWE. Speaking to Lilian Garcia on her Chasing Glory podcast, she explained how Vince McMahon gave her an opportunity when very few would.
“When I came to WWE, they gave me an opportunity that society would not give me, and that was to earn the minimum wage,” said MVP. “Vince McMahon stated, ‘Yes, you did some bad things in your past, but everyone here has a chance and you’ve earned it.’ He gave me the option to become a professional wrestling superstar. With that came redemption. I’m still the recruit 190197. I never forget that number. I always will be. Even today, on social media, if I make a social comment they remind me of several horrible things from my past. They’re right, I shouldn’t have done None of that, but I went to prison and served my sentence. It is past. Now, I go to jails and make speeches. I hope there is a section of society that will ever tell me that I am a different man. ”
MVP stated that being in WWE has allowed him to achieve “social redemption” and now he sees everything differently because he is a superstar. He noted that before people would judge him by his past or by the color of his skin, but now that he is on television every week he is seen as a good guy. He went on to explain that with his newly discovered fame, he wants to change the lives of others, so he tries to go to jails to talk to inmates about how to change his life.