Mark Kerr was, at one point, one of the most exciting MMA fighters on the planet. Tonight, fighting at M-1: Breakthrough against "King" Mo Lawal, he wants to remind everyone who he used to be.
“I know everyone has written me off,” Kerr told HDNet exclusively. “I know people think I am a joke. I don't blame them. It has been hard for me to sit and look at myself in the mirror. I mean I wouldn't be a fan of me the way I have fought in recent times. I would never expect a fan to want my autograph any more. But the truth is that I have shifted my mentality to be healthily obsessed with the sport, not overly obsessed as I once was.”
It's hard not to write him off. He lost his last four fights, all in the first round. After he stormed his way through the early days of the UFC and Pride Fighting Championships, Kerr has recent losses to Heath Herring, Mike Whitehead, Mustapha Al Turk and Jeff Monson. Las Vegas has written him off, as well. The latest lines have Lawal at -1600, with Kerr at +800.
For Kerr, looking at Lawal must be like looking back through the looking glass. Lawal is a young up-and-comer and a well-credentialed wrestler who has picked up striking rather quickly. They even both have the same signature move, an explosive double-leg takedown.
"All the things he is now, I guess I was at one time," Kerr said. "Right now, I realize that the performances that I've given since 2006 have been nothing of any caliber of what embodied me before. I did everything I possibly could because I wanted a career as a mixed martial artist."
At 41, Kerr wants to rewrite the books, and make people remember him as the fight he was years ago, not the one who we have watched lose so badly. The path to redemption starts tonight against Lawal.
Watch tonight's M-1 fights on HDNet starting at 10 p.m. ET, and check in with Cagewriter for results after the fights.
- Mark Kerr