You know you've made it as an athlete when a Major League Baseball team asks you to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at one of their games. Such is the case with Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold. Two weeks ago, Rockhold was handling challenger Tim Kennedy in the cage; on Monday, he gets to drop by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and put one across home plate (the A's are playing the Tampa Bay Rays, if that means anything to you). Of course, this isn't the first time that an MMA fighter has been granted this honor. Other examples include:
- UFC light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who threw out the first pitch for a San Diego Padres game back in July, 2010.
- Former UFC light-heavyweight champ Rashad Evans, who tossed one out for a Miami Marlins game in June of this year.
- Former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin, who did the honors for a Cincinnati Reds game.
- Former UFC welterweight star Chris Lytle, who threw one home for a Los Angeles Dodgers game.
- Former WEC bantamweight champ Miguel Torres, who did one up for the Chicago White Sox.
- Strikeforce fighter K.J. Noons, who rocketed one home for a Houston Astros game.
- UFC light-heavyweight fighter Brandon Vera, who did the same for a Padres game earlier this month.
You know what. Now that I think about it, this whole throwing-out-the-ceremonial-first-pitch thing isn't that special after all. As you were.