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Ex-NFL LB Merriman to try bare-knuckle fighting

By
The Sports Xchange
Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman enters the playing field prior to a game against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on November 25, 2007. File photo by Robert Benson/UPI
Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman enters the playing field prior to a game against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on November 25, 2007. File photo by Robert Benson/UPI | License Photo

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman has signed a contract with the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation to participate in a match this year.

Merriman, 34, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection while playing for the San Diego Chargers, and he last played in the NFL in 2012 as a member of the Buffalo Bills.

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He has hinted previously about his interest in combat sports. But instead of mixed martial arts, Merriman has chosen bare-knuckle fighting.

"Right now, this is the best opportunity for what I want to do," Merriman said in a statement to ESPN. "I've been kicking tires for years, this is a good place for me to start. I'm looking forward to having some fun out there. I get to train for the next six to eight weeks and go show everyone what I can do."

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No date or opponent has been set for Merriman's first bout, but a site has been announced. It will take place in Casper, Wyo., and is expected to be broadcast via pay-per-view online.

"We are thrilled to have Shawne as part of our team," said WBKFF CEO Tom Stankiewicz, according to ESPN. "Shawne was a proven warrior on the field and we look forward to seeing him in the ring. We feel Shawne's signing with WBKFF opens the doors to champions from all sports, and shows that he has the guts and courage to step into this gladiator's sport."

In June, an event called the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship became the first state-sanctioned bare-knuckle boxing event in U.S. history. It took place in Cheyenne, Wyo.

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