Being Tommy Morrison's son

May 23, 2014, 10:11 PM

— -- MIAMI, Okla. -- His daddy's life was violent, disturbing and R-rated, and that was on a normal day, but Trey Lippe's mom swore their son would live an average boy's life. He'd play with Transformers, run through the aisles of Wal-Mart looking for Ninja Turtles and toss footballs in a fenced yard. He'd carry her name, to keep him safely out of the public eye. But ultimately that didn't matter because his daddy was Tommy Morrison. When Morrison was diagnosed with HIV, a group of parents wanted to ban the little boy from kindergarten because they were convinced that he would infect them all. "Mom, am I sick?" he asked Cristi Lippe.

He was healthy and fine, but life would never be normal. Every child, especially a boy, needs to know his father. And that's when things got strange.

Perhaps the best story Trey Lippe has to tell about his dad is kind of fuzzy. He was 4 or 5 years old, far too young to understand fame, eccentricity or what made Tommy Morrison tick. The story involves a leopard, or maybe a cougar -- Tommy had both in those days, so let's just call it a large, exotic cat. Morrison, at the height of a boxing career that earned him millions of dollars and countless female admirers, had his son over for a visit one day when, for some reason, he decided it would be funny to place him in a cage, alone, with the cat. It was enormous to a little boy, but was also declawed and defanged, a detail Morrison declined to mention to his son. The cat closed in, opened his mouth -- and licked Trey, sandpaper tongue on baby-soft skin. Morrison couldn't stop laughing. The kid couldn't stop crying.

Nearly 20 years later, Lippe still has questions about his dad, but he believes he knows why his father put him in that cage. He wanted him never to be afraid.

Shortly after they teamed up, Holden suggested making a few nods to his lineage, and Lippe was hesitant. He didn't want to be cashing in on his name, but then Holden said that Tommy would've loved it. So now every time he fights, an announcer will bellow a name that's bound to draw attention. Trey Lippe Morrison is entering the ring.