Manny Yarbrough, World's Heaviest Athlete, Is Ready to Lose Weight

Image: Manny Yarbrough, World's Heaviest Athlete, Is Ready to Lose Weight Actress Miley Cyrus poses with Manny Yarbrough backstage at the MTV Times Square Studios.

Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 08:54 AM

By Ken Mandel

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As his amateur sumo wrestling career winds down, Manny Yarbrough is making a positive life choice.

The man nicknamed "Tiny" wants to slim down from his 719-pound frame at age 49, with retirement looming in 2014. He told ABC News that he's motivated to return to his mid-1980s college form while an All-American wrestler at Morgan State, Fox Sports reports.

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"I'm desperate to get back to my best college shape in time for the nationals next year," Yarbrough told ABC. "It's the sportsman in me, that never-give-up attitude. It's a challenge. I had to give it a shot because of that inner athlete in me pushing me to do it."

Certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Heaviest Athlete, Yarbrough once weighed more than 800 pounds at his heaviest point. He was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame on March 2, 2013.

The decision to shed pounds is simple for Yarbrough, who worries that he could balloon further once he stops competing in sumo, which could lead to significant health problems.

"Once I retire, it's about a quality of life I want to have," the former Sumo World Champion said.

On his website,, Yarbrough opened up about the past few years, with regard to his weight.

"Recently I was rejected by Alitalia and Delta to fly to Rome to appear on a major television show," Yarbrough wrote on his website. It was hurtful and very difficult to understand why they did not let me fly. I had not only 2 seats, but 3 seats booked. Go figure! I really felt disrespected and humiliated. As you all can imagine it is a huge concern for me and my team to deal with such a horrific situation.

However this incident gave me another push and I am back on my weight loss journey. ... It is not easy and being a prisoner in your own body."

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Related stories:

Ruben Studdard Weighs In on 'Biggest Loser' at 462 Pounds (Video)

Sumo Scandal: Japan's National Sport in Crisis

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