Talking MMA With Rapper N.O.R.E.

By Chris Nelson Oct 18, 2010
Thursday evening, I heard the familiar pling that accompanies an incoming email on my phone. I picked up the device, glanced absentmindedly at the latest press release from Bellator Fighting Championships, and tossed it back down on my desk before doing an entirely unintentional, slapstick comedy-style double-take.

“Super-Star Rapper N.O.R.E. (Noreaga) Will Perform Ben Askren's Walkout Song at Bellator 33 In Philadelphia,” read the subject line.

The hip-hop fan in me was fascinated to see the Queensbridge rap don’s name associated with mixed martial arts, however tenuously, but this pairing required some explanation. Despite being fairly familiar with his oeuvre, I’d never taken Mr. Noreaga for an MMA fan. Boxing, sure -- “my dad, he was a boxer, God,” he explained on the track “Sometimes” -- but MMA? Furthermore, I’d prejudged Ben Askren, with his trademark wild mop of frizzy hair, to be more of a Phish guy.

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