"I've got to make a living for my family," says former world heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, now 40 years old.
And that is why Riddick Bowe is going into mixed martial arts.
If this is a situation where Bowe just doesn't have much in the way of options, it's hard to fault him. But he's signed with Xcess Fighting, a promotion that -- let's put it this way -- I wouldn't want getting a TON of attention as an MMA fan. This is the same promotion that was trying to (and failed to) promote a fight between "350"-pound Eric "Butterbean" Esch and Jimmy Ambriz.
Renato "Babalu" Sobral, recently unceremoniously tossed out of UFC, is working with Xcess for the time being. They also have disgraced former UFC and PRIDE heavyweight star Mark Kerr under their banner. And it is Kerr that is helping get "Big Daddy" ready for the cage.
And it's not that I think Kerr, Sobral or Butterbean or anyone else shouldn't be able to make their living. If they're clean, if they're of able mind and body, and they are properly trained to fight, they should be allowed to if someone wishes to pay them to do so. All I'm saying is that those guys under one roof, now adding Riddick Bowe, paints it as an organization mostly interested in capitalizing on the popularity of the sport with a borderline freak show.
Do I think Bowe could do well in MMA? Maybe. Probably not, given that we're discussing Riddick Bowe and the chances of him actually getting into a cage to fight are slim, but, sure, it's not totally impossible.
But he's 40 years old, hasn't had a real opponent in a pro fight in 11 years, and wasn't exactly in his best shape (at 280 pounds) for his last bout, in 2005 with Billy Zumbrun.
It's easy to forget sometimes that Riddick Bowe was once the toast of boxing, a very likable, very exciting heavyweight that had big power. We talk a lot about what could have been with Mike Tyson, but Bowe's retirement following the two Golota fights is something that wound up swept under the rug much quicker. Personally, I often have wondered what Riddick Bowe could've been with a more disciplined attitude. We will, of course, never know.
Bowe's first fight is to be on December 12, against an as yet unnamed opponent. I'll say this -- he's a big man who can still throw a punch, I would assume. I don't know how much he can do athletically to learn the finer points of the game, though in interviews he seems willing and ready to tackle that. And Mark Kerr -- who I don't mean to paint as some derelict or anything -- isn't a bad choice to help get him ready, probably.
If Bowe finds himself matched up with a decent MMA fighter, he'll be in very big trouble, very quickly. Honestly? I don't see this panning out for Riddick Bowe. I also don't know what his financial situation is, but from what you can gather from the things he says, it certainly doesn't sound good.
If this is what Bowe has to do, then good luck to him. Maybe "Big Daddy" will have just enough left in his fists to get a few more decent paydays.