Hearne: There’s More to Tommy Morrison Than the ESPN Story

rocky-vAnd now, the rest of the story…

Make no mistake, former Kansas City Star reporter Elizabeth Merrill scored a huge coup in tracking down Tommy Morrison‘s mom Diana and getting her on the record for ESPN that Tommy is dying of the AIDS virus. That and tracking down and talking to a number of other Tommy relatives and hangers on.

However that still left plenty of holes in the tragic take of the kid from Jay, Oklahoma who Kansas City came to embrace – the dude at the time who played Tommy Gunn in Rocky.

Enter Susan Martin of Phoenix – the mother of one of Tommy’s close friends – who befriended him in 2006 and let him live with her for six months before Morrison started to go off the deep end again while having an affair with a married woman from California.

“I was helping to manage Tommy and was the head of the Tommy Morrison Foundation,” Martin says. “You know, giving away money to AIDS. I basically gave him lodging and food and helped to find him a trainer and pretty much put his life back on track here. And I had never even been to a boxing match.”

newpic442c00356d65c1c71ede4fc7919a5668Martin’s been more or less Tommy free since, other than the updates she gets from her son and Morrison’s ex wife and the mother of his son, Dawn.

“After the Tommy incident and dealing with all that disfunctionality, I’m out,” Martin says. “My son tried to get a hold of Tommy recently but this Trisha is kind of the guardian at the gate.”

Trisha btw is allegedly Morrison’s wife and current caregiver.

Much of ESPN’s story centered around Tommy’s mom.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, Tommy’s always been tight with his mom,” Martin says. “But he told me that she killed his dad’s girlfriend – she took a knife out in a bar and stabbed her to death.”

Which kinda illustrates how tough Tommy’s family life was growing up, Martin says.

“You know, his mother had Tommy fight at 10 years-old,” Martin says. “I don’t think he ever really had a childhood.”

Nor does it surprise Martin that Trisha doesn’t seem to be getting along too well with Tommy’s mom.

“None of Tommy’s girl (friends) do.”

Martin has a theory re Tommy’s two decade struggle to return to the ring:

“He missed the fame,” she says. “He missed the adulation. He missed the power and the popularity, people applauding. And above everything else, he missed the money and I think he was willing to do anything in order to get that money again. But I don’t think he really missed getting back in the boxing ring.”

Meanwhile back in the wilds of Tennessee, the former Dawn Morrison has remarried and continues to raise the son she and Tommy had more than a decade ago.

“Dawn and I correspond weekly,” Martin says. “We send jokes to each other – nothing about Tommy. We haven’t even discussed Tommy in years. She still has Tommy’s son. I think Tommy gave up the rights to him when she took him back to court the last time.”


Dawn, Tommy and their young son

As with Trisha, Tommy used to brag about having unprotected sex with Dawn after they remarried in 2001.

But it wasn’t quite that simple, Martin says.

“There was a special process that Tommy’s sperm had to go through to be cleaned up in order for Tommy to have children,” Martin says. “It wasn’t just unprotected sex. It went through some very special process to clean out his sperm from the HIV.”

Gatekeeper Trisha is keeping people from talking to Tommy – to the extent that he can even communicate – but if Martin could get a message to Morrison, what would that message be?

“My message would be one word,” Martin says. “Karma.”



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39 Responses to Hearne: There’s More to Tommy Morrison Than the ESPN Story

  1. CG says:

    Hearne good story. As you know I hung with Morrison back in the 90’s. We got along well. He did have some demeans for sure, but was always cool with me and behaved at Stanfords. I am saddened by all this. In the 90’s I led a group of producers who had spoken to HBO about a Tommy Morrison Story. Morrison’s group, he had one then, didn’t like the pay or ending with the HIV speech, so it never happened. Tommy wanted to get back into some acting but as we know never did. I do think the Rocky movie and Hollywood may have helped bring Tommy down in the end. Who knows. He was a shinning star for a few choice years. I hope that was enough for him.

  2. Bob says:

    “He did have some demeans for sure,”

    No wonder Hearne got tired of editing this.

    I knew a gal, I think she was on the KU dance team, who got with Westport Tommy one night in the mid-90s. I don’t remember the exact timing, but it was within three months of the HIV news. I never saw her in class or on campus again. She was flaunting being with him in class and was sort of a semi-celebrity on campus. Just a jersey chaser and she got the biggest jersey at that time for this area. I have no clue whatever happened with her.

    • Hearne says:

      Well, refer back to my first column. I was tight with just about everybody associated with Tommy back then And I remember one of his handlers – one of the reliable ones – telling me how tommy would fuck anything and everything that came his way.

      So I don’t know. Your girl friend’s boasts rang hollow to those in the know even before the HIV story broke. Interesting tho how she dropped from site after the fact

      • harley says:

        see how good you really are with the inside on
        Morrison hearne.
        What KC radio personality has a son named after
        tommy Morrison?

      • DR says:

        You’re so full of shit Hearne. I wad part of that group & NO ONE trusted you, period! When you were in the room word spread quickly.

        • admin says:

          Hey bragging about being a member of Morrison’s slimy, hangers on posse back in his hey day says it all.

          Of course, Tommy’s handlers didn’t trust me. Quite the opposite. I wasn’t there to schmooze and help coverup his many misdeeds. I was there to document them.

          However, I did develop close professional relationships with many of Tommy’s more sober handlers back then and between that and doing some pretty good reporting was able to uncover any number of wild ass, crazy Morrison stories.

          After all, it wasn’t like they were extremely rare or something. For every one I uncovered or read that somebody else uncovered there were probably hundreds more.

          • DR says:

            You sure as Hell preyed on anyone close to him. You’re nothing more than a gossip column bitch. You’re speaking to one of the “sober” members. You’re scum, Hearne, always were, always will be.
            FYI, TMZ is always looking for tripe like you. Your reports were based on innuendo, you NEVER WITNESSED anything.

            Off probation for your DUI, hypocrite?

  3. chuck says:

    “There was a special process that Tommy’s sperm had to go through to be cleaned up in order for Tommy to have children,” Martin says. “It wasn’t just unprotected sex. It went through some very special process to clean out his sperm from the HIV.”

    This guy cleaned up Tommy’s sperm in Re Hab with a special strainer.


    I think he got the Hiv from some bad cannolis.

    Always leave the gun.

    • Hearne says:

      That’s a little sick but I suppose it passes for humor

    • the dude says:

      Yeah, what kind of stupid is that comment, ‘cleaned up his sperm’?!?!?
      I think it is called ‘these kids are not yours’.
      Cleaned up his sperm indeed.

      • brad ford says:

        you are stupid the dude!! hiv is in the fluid that makes up semen….not the sperm themselves!!and yes docs can separate the sperm from the hiv tainted fluids in semen…they do it all the time! read a little douchebag!

  4. rww says:

    I got this from a source that worked at Harrahs at the time that when the HIV story broke, alot of the girls that worked there went to get tested.

  5. rww says:

    One of them was called Harley, whoops, I meant Haley. I’m serious about the Harrahs girls though.

  6. Satan awaiting Chucks mortal soul says:

    Ill see you in Hell for that comment Chuck. Lucky for you, harley and I co wrote the musicals Oklahoma and Fiddler on the roof. And co invented Tinactin and Poly-grip. He put in a good word for ya, so we’ll go easy on the pitchforks.

    • chuck says:

      I remember letters from my betters,
      Now in their place, they are my carapace.

      Say hi to all my friends and tell smarty I am bringing Vodka.

  7. Susan Martin says:

    In Tommy’s early career he seemed to have picked women that now are raising his children in family’s where they have a firm hand, church going and love their children. He’s lucky, the boy’s are healthy and loved. Stephen Bayer, Tommy’s close friend has more inside information about Tommy’s private life and behind the boxing scene. He has tried to help him for years to no avail.

  8. harley says:

    Lets see if you really know the inside on Morrison hearne.

  9. Stephen Bayer says:

    I have known Tommy for 23 years. He was the best man at my wedding. I have and always will be loyal to him and his family. People can say what they want about Tommy but I would like for the world to know that he gave his all for us to be entertained with his boxing skills for as long as he could and then society threw him out to pasture to die when he contracted a disease.

    I wonder if the story would have a different ending had he stood his ground that night in Las Vegas and sued the Navada State Athletic Commission under the 1994 disabilities act for clearly being discriminated against because of a medical condition. I think it could have been a landmark case and would have prevented that type of discrimination from ever occurring in the future.

    I was one of only a few true friends (you know who you are) that stuck around to pick up the pieces with his wife Dawn Freeman after his career and saw for myself first hand the pain my friend went through while he was kicked out of his career by discrimination and ignorance.

    Love you with all my heart Tommy. I know who you really are. God Bless my friend. I know that was you on the phone that night I called. You didn’t have to say anything, I know what you were trying to say….goodbye.

  10. harley says:

    Steve….excellent piece. Most people didn’t know the real tommy.
    I first met him thru
    john brown and tommy was always a great person..
    and was good to everyone around him.
    the people on this site have no class and they have a sense of hate
    for anyone who accomplished anything in their lives.
    I was there in vegas for the fight…incredible scene…and tommy
    was great in his respect for his fans and even his opponent.
    Was at the rocky premiere….where tommy was nervous since
    they shot several different ending scenes and he wasnot sure which
    one they would use. Howcool was it to see that movie and even
    today when its on I watch it from start to finish.
    Saw him at the Collins funeral. He looked pretty good at the
    time and we chatted briefly about some great times from the past including
    trips to the lake with us.
    Life is about forgiveness and second chances…all the peoplewho
    knew tommyover the years knew the real person. Sure we all make mistakes
    in life …some small…some big…as he did too….but I hopethings work out for him…his kids..
    his family and his friends.
    As I said in a eulogy for a friend who recently passed…”he lived his life
    his way”…..the same holds true for tommy.
    god bless.

  11. Cheech Lifting Weights says:

    I knew Morrison was heading for a fall back in the day. I went to a hotel prom party when I was 16 at the Holidome and came in the room to find him doing blow with two floozies in front of a bunch of horrified 16-18 year old kids.j

  12. Mary says:

    I worked at Wal-mart in Grove OK. with Dawn (Tommy’s wife) and became friends with her in the mid-90’s. I only met Tommy for a brief moment one evening while he was picking her up from work. He acted very arrogant and didn’t give me the time of day…but I excepted it knowing all he was going through in his career and personal life. Dawn was a very nice down to earth and sweet person and very religious. She told me at the time that they were planning on having children. I remember asking her what were the odds that the child would have HIV and she told me the odds were very low according to what the doctors were telling her because she did not have HIV . Nothing was mentioned that his sperm was being cleaned. She told me that the child would continuously have to be checked (while in the womb) for a certain period of time before they would know for sure that it wouldn’t have HIV. She also said if the child did have HIV that she would not abort it and that she would love it every waking hour she has the blessing of having with the child….that’s how bad both of them wanted a child. After I quit working for walmart we lost touch but I saw her sometime later in a mall in Tulsa. She told me then that she was pregnant and that the baby was healthy and HIV free and that they both were extremly excited about their new arrival.
    I remember the day that it was announced that Tommy had HIV…within a few short hours the Jay sign that said, “The Home of Tommy Morrison” was taken down. I found this really sad to say the least. After meeting several people from Jay, OK. who claimed they grew up with him and hated him… I came to realize those people were extremely jealous of him…what did they expect from a person who made his living fighting? This was the very mentality level that took down the sign in the first place. Shame on you Jay Oklahoma! People make mistakes…sometimes those mistakes are fatal and take their very lives…isn’t that enough punishment alone? Dawn if by some chance you read this…I send you my love!!!

    • JM says:

      Nice comment.

    • Bonnie Freeman-Flaming says:

      Dawn Freeman did NOT have Tommy’s baby. That was Dawn Gilbert.

      • Mary says:

        Bonnie…did I mention any where on my post that I was speaking about Dawn Freeman????

        • Bonnie Freeman-Flaming says:

          It says you worked at WalMart in Grove with his wife. That was Dawn Freeman. If you read your post, it starts out about Dawn Freeman and goes into Dawn Gilbert.

        • Bonnie Freeman-Flaming says:

          Dawn Gilbert never worked at Grove WalMart. This is the kind of stuff published that causes people to get the two confused.

    • Dawn says:

      I was Tom’s first wife that worked at the Wal Mart in Grove in the 90’s. Tom and I did not have any children together. Dawn G. was married to him also but she did not work at Wal Mart. She does have a son by Tom.

  13. DR says:

    We ran with Tommy together in Westport, Joplin, Tulsa, just to mention a few. I’ve been on blogs all day listening to people bash him. People didn’t see the guy we knew. The guy who would randomly give homeless people a hundred bucks, coat off his back. Tommy had a huge heart, one that Mr. Christopher, and the rest of the media would never report. I had a card Hearne gave me once, asking that if I had any trash on The Duke to call him. Still disgusted with that encounter to this day.
    Tommy was a great person down deep, just guarded.
    RIP Duke & thanks for a lifetime of memories!

  14. Gary w says:

    Met Tommy in 1995-96 in jay at a car wash. He sure seemed to be a good guy and helped me with directions as I was a tourist in the area. Such a common joe I didn’t realize who he was till he mentioned he got his butt beat in Tulsa recently . Just a nice guy who got things too outa hand with the big business of sports and never gave up. Best of luck to his family and children. God bless them

  15. Debbie Moore-Miller says:

    Its Debbie from Kansas City. You know me, you know Taleena.
    The truth is finally out.
    Tommy did have HIV. and his wreckless behavior killed my best friend.
    I have all the proof in the world. I knew Tommy, I know the truth. I have letters, I have pictures, I have emails. I know the truth and now the world does.
    Its sad that he gets so much praise for being so great and so awesome. Where was everyone when my best friend was dying from the AIDS virus that Tommy Morrison gave to her…
    RIP T.E.

  16. JohnnyG says:

    I met Tommy Morrison 1989 or 1990 when he stayed at and was at the Ramada Inn in Overland Park. They had the weigh in there. I only met him once. I was not in awe of him. I saw the way he treated all the people around him. He was on his way up then. I would like to point out though that his current wife he married in 2011 has been helping him with his “autobiography”. With his well documented dementia of recent years, that should be some read. I smell a book deal coming from that winch. Against his mother’s wishes she kept him on life support all this time. Now I see why. Squeezing every dime out of his story. Trisha, shame on you. I guess instead of Tommy being in the next Rocky film…he’ll be the next Rocky film. Now he can rest at Peace knowing that.

  17. Shannon Macri says:

    I was wondering who or what convinced Tommy that he didn’t have the HIV virus?
    What in the world made him feel he was healthy all of these years? How did he come up with his was of thinking? I often wonder how many females he could’ve infected. What research did he find that made him feel he was 100% healthy?

  18. lydia says:

    Debbie moore miller, you said yourself he gave YOU aids!! You are a liar, why the fuck didn’t you take contraception if you had even the slightest inclin that tommy had aids??!!!! Hahahah!! Half the people on here claiming to be tommys “friends” or “ex wife” are liars!

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