In agreeing to fight Din Thomas in a mixed martial arts ring, Ricardo Mayorga is either brave or crazy. Surely he -- or his handlers -- understand that it will be impossible to stop the takedowns of a proficient grappler who suffers no age or size obstacles. Thomas has fought in MMA for nearly 12 years, has beaten accomplished men like Clay Guida and Matt Serra, and comes from a Miami American Top Team camp that habitually turns out very dangerous athletes. So long as Thomas does not stand still, Mayorga has no chance. Not a one.
He either knows this or he doesn’t, but judging from their press conference last Thursday in New York, he’s not going to bother worrying about it. Mayorga looked as though someone had let air into him: a once-defined jaw was buried under a beach-ball-shaped head; he lit a cigarette and blew smoke in Thomas’ face, then karate-chopped Thomas in the neck. It’s almost as if Mayorga knew he’d better put his show on while he had the time.
Shine Fights, the event promoter, plans to broadcast the bout on pay per view May 15. Most fans of MMA probably won’t care, particularly with a major UFC event the week prior and the Showtime debut of Alistair Overeem the very same night. But this is not necessarily bad news for them: Mayorga has the ability to capture the interest of boxing fans, several of whom have taken to YouTube and made comments about the press conference footage that implies MMA might be a haven for homosexuals. (Their terminology was less delicate.)
He is, strangely, the most high-profile boxer to ever make an attempt to deal with a kickboxer/grappler. For a fan of Mayorga’s who has little idea of what Thomas can do, that’s probably intriguing.
For others, Thomas himself summed it up. “[Mayorga]” he said, “is just a dumbass who doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into.”