In recent years, a number of combat sports competitors have changed disciplines. It now isn’t uncommon for boxers to move into mixed martial arts, or vice-versa. Even boxers and MMA fighters are moving into professional wrestling (Tyson Fury and Ronda Rousey) while some wrestlers have tried their hands at UFC (CM Punk). Fury will clash with Deontay Wilder in February in one of the biggest boxing bouts of the year. Fans can visit this website to get a bet bonus before wagering on the outcome of the fight.
Several boxing champions have taken off the gloves and got out of the ring and into the octagon. It hasn’t always gone well. Here are some examples of boxers turned MMA fighters.
Two-time The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year, James Toney stepped into the octagon on just one occasion. Boxing fans have a lot to be excited about in 2020 with Fury versus Wilder II kickstarting the year in the sport. Fight fans can use this code to get a bet bonus offer before wagering on any of the elite combat sports bouts.
The former three-division champion battled UFC Hall of Fame fighter Randy Couture in 2010 and just seconds after the opening bell, had been taken off of his feet. Toney tapped out at the 3:19-mark in the first round. He still earned $500,000 for the fight, but was quickly released from his contract after UFC 118.
Had Ray Mercer fought in MMA at a younger age, he could have done well. However, Mercer’s first-ever MMA bout was booked with the fighter at the age of 45. In 2007, Mercer’s boxing career was nearly over but he was interested in the growing combat sport of MMA. Over a decade ago, the UFC, and MMA in general, hit a zenith at a time before mainstream sports media took it seriously. Now, it is a typical sport reported on by major sports news outlets. In 2007, it wasn’t common to see the BBC run a story on UFC as MMA was still unknown in mainstream circles.
The former WBO Heavyweight Champion signed a contract to fight underground fight sensation Kimbo Slice on a Cage Fury Fighting Championship card. Slice choked out Mercer with the boxer later explaining he hadn’t trained in any other fight style than boxing. In 2009, Mercer got his first MMA win when he knocked out former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia nine seconds into the first round of their fight. It would prove to be his last MMA bout.
Eric “Butterbean” Esch
A lot of boxing fans will scoff at Eric “Butterbean” Esch as nothing more than a tough man contest winner. It is true he was a five-time World Toughman Heavyweight Champion, but Butterbean also boxed professional having his first fight in October 1994.
Butterbean’s rise was so fast in the mid-1990s that his second bout was televised. He would go on to fight 91 times in professional boxing, winning 77, drawing four and losing 10 times. In the late 1990s, Butterbean would begin working with the WWE and in the noughties, he hooked up with K-1 Fighting and Pride Championships.
Amazingly, Butterbean fight 26 MMA matches between 2003 and 2011. He registered a 15W-1D-10L record during that timeframe.