Bantamweight contender and former flyweight and super flyweight titlist Vic Darchinyan is seriously considering a move to mixed martial arts.
At yesterday's final press conference for this Saturday's bantamweight double-header on Showtime, where Darchinyan will face WBA titlist Anselmo Moreno in an attempt to win his fifth world title across three weight classes (Vic claims it will be nine, but obviously we count differently), promoter Gary Shaw made a comment about the Armenian-born, Australian-based "Raging Bull" making the shift.
"One thing about Vic Darchinyan: he fights only the best, and wants to fight only the best. He, too, has some unfinished business with Mares because of the low blows. I hope after Vic wins Saturday that fight is made again," said Shaw.
"Another possibility is that he will retire and follow in the footsteps of Kimbo Slice, and go into MMA."
[ Related: Moreno vs Darchinyan Final Presser Quotes ]
There are, of course, a handful of obstacles.
First of all, Darchinyan is 35 years old and fights at 118 pounds, where he's settled in after graduating from 112 and 115. MMA's lowest weight class is 125 pounds (flyweight), and while Darchinyan says he wants to move to 126 in boxing, well, Darchinyan says a lot of things. He loves to talk. Always has. And it has served him well over the years, helping him stand out -- along with Shaw's ties at Showtime -- in weight classes that aren't often featured on U.S. television.
Plus, there's that whole thing where Darchinyan hasn't trained in mixed martial arts.
While boxing and wrestling are a couple of good bases for MMA, and Darchinyan's father was an Olympic wrestling coach, Vic's claim of having "a strong wrestling base" may not stack up well against the wrestling bases of other MMA fighters, not to mention all of the other disciplines in the sport that Darchinyan has no practice in whatsoever, as far as I know.
Shaw himself has been involved with MMA in the past, helping run the defunct EliteXC promotion, which was the first mixed martial arts outfit to make it to network TV in the States. The failure there was that Shaw misread the fanbase; yes, people tuned in to see Kimbo Slice, but it was a gimmick, pure novelty, and wound up truly appealing to neither the curious nor the hardcore fans. The boxing and MMA fanbases are very different. While boxing fans sort of accept being lied to and misled, either laughing it off or just shrugging and taking it for what it is, MMA fans largely haven't yet accepted that they're also lied to and misled pretty frequently.
Shaw put MMA behind him with the comment, "There are a lot of haters in MMA," but I'm sure he'd be willing to go back in for the chance to do something with Vic Darchinyan, a fighter he has never lost to a bigger promoter, who has never turned his back on the promoter who developed him and got him on TV. (If this sounds like I'm playing the violin for Shaw, I'm not; I just feel that his ability to get guys on TV and get them TV money is underappreciated.)
But is it really possible? Could the 35-year-old Darchinyan make a transition to MMA, or, for a better question, would he be able to make a successful transition?
No doubt he could knock some guys out if he gets to them. And maybe his wrestling is better than we'd expect.
If any top-level fighter in boxing is crazy, fearless, and confident enough to do it, it might be Vic Darchinyan.