Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez and countless baseball players outed as steroid users by Jose Canseco were probably hoping for a fate worse than this. The 44-year-old risked life and limb for a big payday in Japan in his first professional mixed martial arts fight. The 1988 AL MVP took on a 7-foot-2, 330-pound Korean kickboxer. It went exactly as you'd expect. Canseco threw some wild punches and attempted a few kicks. Nothing of significance landed. Hong Man Choi waited patiently and then pounced. The 253-pound Canseco threw a kick to Choi's thigh that caused him to lose his balance. When he fell to the ground, Choi jumped on top of Canseco throwing 14 punches. Very few landed but it was clear the slugger was shot. The ref stepped in to stop the fight at 1:16 of the first round when Canseco tapped.
The fight was part of DREAM's Super Hulk Tournament. The entire event was a farce consisting of four fights that featured an average weight difference of 87.6 pounds. The Canseco-Choi fight was exactly the kind of matchup that would never be approved in the U.S. by any commission. Nevada nearly denied a license recently to 45-year-old Mark Coleman to fight at UFC 100. Coleman, who has 24 pro fights under his belt and was an NCAA wrestling champ, tired badly in his last fight at UFC 93. The fighters' safety is paramount in MMA where knees, kicks, elbows, punches, jiu-jitsu and wrestling are all fair game.
Canseco's approach to the fight was actually intelligent. He tried to throw big overhand rights and then scoot away from the giant. But in doing so, it looked like he was exhausted after just a minute of fighting. He attempted seven kicks to Choi's legs and body. The final right kick landed awkwardly on Choi's left thigh. Canseco's knee buckled and down he went. When he rose to his feet after the stoppage, Canseco had a noticeable limp.
Canseco had zero professional fighting experience before this freak show, but he did have two celebrity boxing matches to his credit. He was destroyed in his first try against former NFL player Vai Sikahema. The former Golden Gloves champ stopped Canseco inside of one minute. Canseco also fought former Partridge Family star Danny Bonaduce to a draw. Canseco outweighs Bonaduce by 70 pounds.
Choi, who is 12-6 in K-1 professional kickboxing, is now 2-2 in MMA. Choi had previously lost to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, who is fighting in the UFC at UFC 99 on June 13. He also lost to Yahoo! Sports' No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Fedor Emelianenko.
Update: Watch video of the fight, so long as it's available.
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