A man struck dozens of times with a metal bar "was entirely to blame" for starting the fight, a judge has said.
Richard Wilkinson had been ejected from a bar in Kendal, Cumbria, but returned with a dumbbell bar and used it to hit a man over the head.
However, he was disarmed and attacked by his targets who were later jailed.
At Carlisle Crown Court, Wilkinson was given a suspended jail term after admitting unlawful and malicious wounding.
He also pleaded guilty to possessing the dumbbell bar.
Wilkinson had been thrown out of the town's Smokies bar in the early hours of 30 March last year after drunkenly smashing a glass against a wall.
Having been involved in exchanges with Jordan Jenkinson and Luke Canning, he warned the latter: "I'll be back."
After returning, Wilkinson head-butted Canning and hit him over the head with the bar.
He was then chased to the town's Waterside area and suffered what the court heard were "catastrophic and life-changing" injuries.
Wilkinson, of Romney Gardens, Kendal, suffered facial and rib fractures, lost teeth, was in a coma for several days and underwent surgery in hospital to release pressure on his brain.
Sarah Magill, defending, said 34-year-old Wilkinson "doesn't walk, talk or think in the same way".
"His injuries have redefined every aspect of every day," she added. "But for the intervention of brave bystanders, he knows he would be dead."
Judge Peter Davies suspended his two-year jail term for two years but told him he was "entirely to blame" for his injuries and the "author of your own misfortune".
Canning, 22, of Bridge Street, Burneside, and Jenkinson, 26, of Lound Road, Kendal, were cleared by a jury of attempted murder, but jailed in October for nine-and-a-half years and 12 years respectively for grievous bodily harm with intent.