has been retired from Major League Baseball for eight years, but he keeps finding ways to put himself into the headlines. The latest example? He has agreed to fight the 7-foot-2 Korean kickboxer Hong Man Choi
in a mixed martial arts tournament in Japan.
The Japanese MMA promotion Dream has announced on its web site
that Canseco vs. Choi will take place on May 26 in Tokyo as an opening round fight in an eight-man MMA tournament. Although that particular fight is a freak show, the full May 26 fight card, Dream 9
, actually has some very good fights lined up featuring some of the top competitors in MMA, including Gegard Mousasi
, Kid Yamamoto
, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
and JZ Calvan
But if this card gets any attention in the United States beyond hard-core MMA fans, it will be a result of the presence of Canseco, who has dabbled in boxing before (losing to former Philadelphia Eagle Vai Sikahema and drawing with former child star Danny Bonaduce) but has never tried MMA.
Against Choi, Canseco will have his hands full: Choi is far from a great MMA fighter, but he's a skilled professional kickboxer who will have a huge size advantage over Canseco. If Canseco can't beat Danny Bonaduce, let's just hope he doesn't get seriously hurt against Hong Man Choi.
Jose CansecoClick through to see more professional athletes that have tried to cross over to MMA.
Former baseball star and controversial author Jose Canseco is scheduled make his MMA debut next month. Click through to see more professional athletes that have tried to cross over to MMA.
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At the age of 32, former WWE champion Bobby Lashley is trying to become a successful fighter in mixed martial arts. Lashley recently defeated Jason Guida and his eyes are set on Bob Sapp in June.
Tom Strattman, AP
Brock Lesnar has made a very successful transition to MMA from being a former professional and amateur wrestler. At UFC 91, the ex-WWE heavyweight champion defeated Randy Couture via second-round TKO to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Eric Jamison, AP
Dan 'The Beast' Severn became the first world-class wrestler to enter the UFC Octagon when he fought at UFC 4 in 1994. He would later capture a UFC tournament championship at UFC 5: Return of the Beast. The 50-year-old legend has fought for many other promotions, including WWE and Pride Fighting Championships.
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Johnnie Morton probably wishes he never stepped into the ring. The former pro football star made his MMA debut in June 2007 at K-1 Dynamite! USA, but he was knocked out cold by Bernard Ackah in just 38 seconds. After the fight, Morton was suspended indefinitely and denied his purse after refusing to take an anti-doping test. It was revealed later that Morton tested positive for anabolic steroids.
Bob Riha, Jr, Dynamite USA II / FEG / AP
In 1990, Ken Shamrock made his professional wrestling debut under the ring name Wayne Shamrock. After fights in Japan and for Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling, Shamrock returned to America to fight in the UFC, where he became an MMA legend. The 45-year-old, who is currently serving a one-year suspension for a positive steroid test, also became an WWE Intercontinental Champion in the late '90s.
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Bob Sapp began his athletic career as a standout lineman for the University of Washington and went on to play a few seasons in the NFL. The 375-pounder is now very popular in Japan as a professional kickboxer and MMA fighter, with appearances for promotions such as K-1 and Pride FC.
Jiji Press, AFP / Getty Images
Kazushi Sakuraba, known as the "Gracie Hunter" for his victories over the famed Gracie family, is an MMA fighter who has previously competed for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Kingdom Pro Wrestling, among many other promotions. He has the distinction of competing in the longest MMA bout on record, having beaten Royce Gracie in a 90-minute bout in 2000.
Kevin Terrell, WireImage
Ex-NFL player Jermaine Wiggins began full-time MMA training in August 2008 and hopes to have his first fight in early 2009. With a background in boxing and kickboxing part of his conditioning program, the 250-pound former tight end has recently branched out into the jiu-jitsu discipline as well.
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