On March 2 UFC president Dana White reached out to mercurial Cincinnati Bengals' receiver Chad Ochocinco about a possible fight between Chad and arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world Anderson "The Spider" Silva.
White put the challenge on Chad Tweeting the following: "If that CBA doesn't get resolved @ochocinco ur gonna have to fight anderson! I'm ready whenever u are. Let's do it!"
Ochocinco has talked about fighting Anderson in the past, but his NFL contract would have never allowed something like that. It was just Ochocinco being his exuberant self. We are talking about an NFL wide receiver who changed his surname from Johnson to Ochocinco and a guy who challenged a racehorse to a foot race for charity.
Chad has even challenged one of boxing's greatest in Floyd Mayweather and current Baltimore Ravens' Safety Tom Zbikowski who also boxes professionally has challenged the Bengals wideout to box as well.
With the expiring of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the ensuing lockout many NFL players are going to be doing something else besides practicing or playing football for the foreseeable future. Chad Ochocinco might just have to put his money where his mouth is and that just might be what he does.
"@BOTHETRAINER bruh I gotta train to fight Anderson Silva, if CBA expires tomorrow it's on,either I'm running routes or preparing to fight" This is what Chad asked of his personal trainer Bo Smith. Chad Twittered on "...I'm getting ready to whoop Anderson Silva a$$". Clearly Chad has it in mind that he will fight Anderson Silva at some point and this Tweet was after the NFL's CBA ran out.
Obviously seeing Chad inside of a boxing ring or the cage requires a lot of things to happen, but the possibility of it happening is greater than ever. It isn't like Chad hasn't laced up a pair of gloves before, he has voiced the fact that he boxes in the off season to stay in shape on numerous occasions. Have a look at the video attached to this article to see Chad in action.
Realistically speaking, is a little bit of cardio boxing in the offseason going to help Ochocinco fight off the best in the world? Most likely not.
Not to knock on Chad, but challenging a fighter of Anderson Silva's caliber is the same as if Silva tried to cover Chad one on one on the field. It's not that Chad is a bad athlete, but Silva fights for a living and he has embarrassed other fighters who have 100 times the experience and skills that Ochocinco has, which brings us to an interesting point.
Why would White challenge Chad to fight one of his roster's best fighters? Of course there would be money and it would be a great opportunity to pull some football fans on to the UFC bandwagon, but what about respect for the sport? What about the integrity of mixed martial arts?
White is one of the first ones to blast away at Strikeforce for featuring fights with former NFL great Herschel Walker. Granted Herschel Walker is old at 49 years of age, the former running back is in better shape than many active guys in the UFC, he is a black belt in Taekwondo and last but not least he has been training with the guys over at American Kickboxing Academy for some time now. If guys like Cain Velasquez, Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch think that Walker can fight what makes White so quick to judge the man?
Ochocinco isn't anymore qualified to fight than Walker is and White is talking about having Chad fight the best fighter in the world.
One look at the comments section of articles on the Ochocinco vs Silva fight shows that most of the educated fans of the sport write this fight off as a publicity stunt and bad for the sport.
Up to this point White and Ochocinco have painted a picture that lacking respect for the integrity of the sport. However, there is one way an Ochocinco vs Silva fight can happen that doesn't takeaway from the integrity of the sport and that way has probably been the plan from day one.
Both White and Ochocinco in the past have expressed the idea of making the Silva fight an exhibition charity match. If the UFC were to promote the fight as an exhibition with no belt on the line and all proceeds including Silva's and Chad's purses going to charity it would probably go down as a great moment for both athletes and the sport of MMA itself.
There is no doubting the fact that a fight involving Ochocinco and Silva would generate massive hype, fans not only of mixed martial arts, but of football as well would flock to see the contest. The UFC would be able to generate a lot of money for charity with an event like this and pick up a few new fans along the way.
The match would be similar to the celebrity All-Star game in the NBA. Of course the outcome of the fight is kind of a given and obviously Chad doesn't have much business being in the cage, but if it is all for a good cause why would anybody be against that?
Hopefully a fight between Silva and Ochocinco wouldn't put another super fight on the back burner and that is the potential fight between Silva and fellow pound for pound great Georges St. Pierre. St. Pierre has to get through Jake Shields first on April 30 at UFC 129 in Toronto and St. Pierre has to want the Silva fight himself before fans can even start thinking that this fight might happen. Anyone who is itching to see Silva vs Ochocinco better realize that a possible super fight between Silva and St. Pierre is much more important to MMA fans everywhere.
So there you have it folks. Silva vs Ochocinco could be good after all, but not if it puts the brakes on St. Pierre vs Silva and regardless of what happens fight fans are probably in for an interesting and exciting 2011. Football fans, myself included are dreading the idea of the season being suspended, but seeing some of the players like Ochocinco stay active gives us something to look forward to.
Leon Horne has been contributing to Bleacher Report for two years now. He focuses mainly on mixed martial arts, but he has also written about tennis, football and hockey. Just send him a message if you want to talk sports or discuss any opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter for updates: