With the increasing mainstream popularity of Mixed Martial Arts, it’s inevitable that some MMA stars would capitalize on their newfound fame and seek fortune outside the ring. Several fighters have ventured into movies and TV.
Chuck Liddell appeared on the short-lived Blade: The Series. Randy Couture played the villainous Sargon in Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior. Tito Ortiz showed up on The Apprentice.
Some fans were overjoyed by this. They get to see their heroes in a new light.
Many others, however, were aghast. Athletes trying to be actors? No! This is MMA, not WWE!
Such forays into mass media represent a sellout. Fighters should be fighters. Period.
Once upon a time, athletes could translate their physical prowess into cinematic glory. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris became pop icons, spawned film franchises, and earned uncounted sums of money. A multitude of others crashed and burned in the attempt.
Even ardent sports fans must consider that an athlete can’t compete forever. Inevitably, age will slow the reflexes, and injuries will accumulate. Younger competitors will one day overtake the older ones.
Acting jobs might be regarded as part of a retirement plan. There are no pensions for former fighters. It never hurts to have an extra infusion of cash.
At the end of the day, each athlete must judge what’s best for him. Retirement is inevitable. The radiance of past glories will eventually fade in the distance, and they all must ask themselves, "What do I do now?"