Jim Brown, the first African-American UFC commentator and Pro Football Hall of Famer, dead at 87
Jim Brown, the first African-American UFC commentator, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, civil rights advocate, and actor died at 87.
According to The Associated Press, Brown died in his Los Angeles home Thursday evening with his wife by his side.
Brown is known as one of the greatest football players in history with numerous accolades. In 1964, Brown led the Cleveland Browns to the NFL title, and was a three-time MVP. He is the Browns’ all-time rushing leader with 12,312 rushing yards and 106 touchdowns over his nine-year career. He would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
After retiring from professional football in 1965, Brown turned his attention to acting and civil rights interests. Brown founded the Negro Industrial and Economic Union, an entity that is now known as the Black Economic Union. Brown, along with other prominent Black athletes such as Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and others, participated in the Cleveland Summit in 1967. to discuss their support for boxing legend Muhammad Ali in his stand against the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War.
In 1993, Brown became the first African-American UFC commentator, calling the action alongside Bill Wallace and Kathy Long at the promotion’s first pay-per-view event in Denver.
“Bill, I’ve been around the toughest fighters in the world in Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson,” Brown said in his first words at the beginning of the UFC 1. “I’ve been around the greatest NFL players, the tough guys – Dick Butkus, Sam Huff, all of those guys. But I tell you, they could not last in this ring.”
Brown commentated the first six UFC pay-per-view events, and was recently celebrated by the promotion in a Black History Month feature with UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier as the first African-American commentators in the pre-Zuffa and Zuffa eras.