Former Major League Baseball great Jose Canseco (0-1) has often found himself as the center of a controversy.
And from steroid-use tell-all novels to "Celebrity Boxing" appearances, the 45-year-old Canseco has never been one to shy away from the spotlight.
Such was the case in 2009 when Canseco traded in his outfielder's glove for a pair of the four-ounce variety to face Hong Man Choi in DREAM's "Super Hulk" tourney. That effort didn't work out too well, but Canseco hopes fans will see that he's deserving of a second shot.
"I just wasn't ready," Canseco recently admitted to MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I had no business being in there. But you know what? I conquered my fears."
Chiefly among those fears was the massive frame of his opponent. While Canseco, at 6-foot-5, typically strikes an imposing figure, he looked tiny compared to the "Techno Goliath."
"The guy is 7-foot-2, 360 pounds," Canseco said. "That's one of the first times a guy has actually made me look small. It was amazing how big the guy was."
Canseco lasted just 77 seconds before submitting due to strikes. The former "Bash Brother" said there were several factors involved in his poor performance, and a series of torn muscles and strained ligaments in his knee certainly didn't help.
"Two or three days before the fight, I tried to say, 'You know what? My knee is really bad. I'm going to have a knee brace on. Why don't I just come down and be one of the announcers or talk about the fight or be there as one of the judges?'" Canseco said. "They said, 'No, no, no. We created this thing around you. You've got to come, and you've got to fight.' I said, 'Well, can I fight with a knee-brace on?' I could barely stand on it. They said, 'Yeah, you can fight however you want – with a knee-brace on, long pants.'
"Ironically enough, just before the fight actually happened, one of the rules guys checked my knee, and I had a metal knee-brace on. He took it off. I was like, 'They said I could fight with this on.' The judge said, 'No, no, no. You can't.' I had to take it off. I threw a kick right before that fight, and my knee went out of place."
Canseco said he elected to fight despite the injury, though his gameplan was admittedly limited.
"I think my gameplan was just not to get killed," Canseco admitted. "I said, 'Listen, either he's going to knock me out really fast, I'm going to try and knock him out right away, or my knee is going to give out.' I told myself, 'Go ahead and run away if I can land a solid punch.'
"People have to understand, he's a real giant. His skeletal structure is different than ours. He's 7-foot-2, 360 pounds. His face and his bone structure is so much denser than ours. I took a shot at him, and any guy my size would have gone down. I hit him decent, but I didn't get him solid enough to knock him off his feet. The man is incredible."
Despite the disappointing initial experience, Canseco has once again made waves by openly declaring his desire to face recent Strikeforce fighter and former football great Herschel Walker.
"I want to come back, and I think this is perfect timing," Canseco said. "We're both about the same age. I'm a little bit heavier than he is. We both have the same fighting experience. We both have the same martial arts background. And, of course, you've got football against baseball. This is perfect."
Of course, while Walker bordered on "Freak Show" status in the eyes of many MMA fans, the thought of Canseco giving it another run seems to border on absurd. However, Canseco believes the matchup is appealing.
"I have great respect for all the fighters, mixed martial arts and martial arts, in general," Canseco said. "I don't see why two ex-athletes who were great at their sport at one time, who follow martial arts, who respect martial arts greatly, can't go in there and do an incredible, entertaining fight.
"It's going to be about the closest, most realistic – same age, same shape, same sports background – I think it would be incredible just to find out who's the bad boy of sports."
Canseco has tried to prove the seriousness of his latest run at MMA by enlisting Cesar Gracie to train him. While that relationship is still in its infancy, Canseco sees the famed coach – and a clean bill of health – as his path to success.
"If the Gracie family would train me – and I met with them last week, and they seem pretty interested – I think it would be a great fight," Cnaseco said.
Whether or not Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker agrees remains to be seen. So far, the executive has seemed uninterested. But Canseco said he'll keep pushing, and this time, he promises to deliver.
"I'm willing to train under the Gracie family or whomever would train me," Canseco said. "I'm willing to put in the time and sacrifice the hours and put up a good fight.
"I don't want to go into the MMA world with Strikeforce and embarrass anybody. ... I will not fight under the Strikeforce banner unless I am completely trained."Link