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Before Chael Sonnen in UFC, there was this Bobby Riggs in tennis.
Riggs was a great tennis player in the 1940s, but by the 1970s he was a shell of his former self. That didn't matter to this master self-promoter, though, who decided to come out of retirement to challenge the top female tennis players in the world in made-for-TV cash bonanza spectaculars.
Riggs repeatedly boasted he would trounce Billie Jean King in the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” showdown in Houston, even though Riggs was 55 years old and King was near her prime at 29 years old.
King ended up destroying Riggs in straight sets: 6-4, 6-3, 6-3...for the $100,000 winner-take-all prize.
Freelance sportswriter Evin Demirel has written for the New York Times, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and SLAM magazine. Follow him on Twitter or read his blog at thesportsseer.com.