Seeing Shawne Merriman step foot in the world of combat sports seemed to be inevitable, it’s just a matter of deciding when.
The three-time Pro Bowler is a common sight at Bellator events in the past years. The promotion dubbed the 6-foot-4 behemoth as a celebrity ambassador for roaring cage-side as Benson Henderson and Patricio Freire go toe-to-toe.
The NFL star has been a fan of MMA for quite some time. Merriman was seen sparring with Tito Ortiz for a Bellator featurette as well as posting gym footages and sharing insights on some fights.
Merriman’s MMA dreams might not be dead for sure, but he’s is not eyeing them to happen soon. Rather, the former NFL backliner will launch his combat sports endeavour on the inaugural World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF) show on November 9.
He will face 26-fight MMA veteran Mike Bourke in a bare-knuckle boxing contest in Casper, Wyoming on a potentially quick but bloody brawl. Entering the battle with no gloves, no headgear, and no experience is a daring step from the combat sports rookie.
On an interview with MMAFighting, Merriman shared his failed attempt to enter the realm of MMA:
“Over the last couple of years, it’s been thrown out there and I was serious about it. I always have been. At first, I thought my first fight was probably going to be in MMA.”
“That didn’t work out, so when it came up to me and WBKFF came around, they reached out to my manager and they said, ‘Hey, does Shawne still want to fight?’ Of course.”
Speaking on his aborted MMA debut, Merriman continued:
“I can’t really answer that on my side. I made it very clear that that’s what I wanted to do, and I’m all about opportunity, man. If the right opportunity presented itself, I’m going to take it because I’m not afraid of work.”