HERE’S WHY DERECK CHISORA TAKING AN MMA FIGHT DOESNT MAKE SENSE
There have been a few rumors about Chisora making a move to MMA this month and fighting for the Bellator promotion, while he waits for his October fight with Oleksandr Usyk.
While this wouldn’t be a permanent career change and he’d come straight back to boxing after making his MMA debut, even a temporary move makes little sense for the British Heavyweight. The proposed move seems to be caused by Chisora not wanting to fight behind closed doors, which is why his fight with Usyk is being planned in Chicago in October rather than sooner in the UK.
Chisora wants fans to be in attendance for one of the bigger fights of his career because he wants to cash in on the ticket sales. He told ESPN “Fighting behind closed doors is like going back to be an amateur or your early days as a professional… Up and coming fighters can do it, but for your bigger guys like Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and me, I don’t think we can do that.” His plan, as he told Sky Sports, is to “do an MMA fight, finish it quick, jog on and fight Usyk, knock him out then go home and celebrate.”
The thing is, switching MMA to make more money than a boxing match behind closed doors doesn’t make much sense. MMA fighters have been looking for crossover fights because boxers make more money and they want a slice of that pie. A sold-out UFC crowd, let alone Bellator, will never net Chisora as much as he would make taking a fight against a pro boxer. Even if Chisora fought on the first week of Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp against a journeyman Heavyweight just to stay busy before Usyk, he’d probably take home a bigger purse than Bellator could offer him.
Although, his motivations for making the move are not only financial as he told Sky Sports, “I’m hungry, excited, some MMA fighters come to boxing so I want to be the one that goes to MMA, I want to knock some dudes out for fun… Since we don’t know when we’re boxing, we said let’s do it.”
Even if he’s just looking for something exciting to do, right now just doesn’t feel like the right time for him to be doing it. With Chisora facing Usyk in October, a man he’s very confident in beating, he could end up knocking Usyk from his mandatory-challenger position and improving his own WBO ranking. As the rankings currently stand Chisora is 9th, behind the likes Usyk, Daniel Dubois, Kubrat Pulev, and Andy Ruiz. A win against Usyk could see him leapfrog a few big names and, with a bit of luck, maybe get him into a position to face Anthony Joshua at some point before he retires.
The risk of taking an MMA right now, in which he could easily injure himself enough to ruin his Usyk fight, is just too high. Even if he won the MMA fight convincingly, with the smaller fingerless gloves and the wrestling he’d be dealing with, he could easily damage his hands or anything else. While the risk of injury in boxing is also pretty big, you’re more at risk of concussion than you are of small joint injuries or tendon damage.
For Chisora to take a pay cut to fight in MMA, “to knock some dudes out for fun” is nothing but bad timing right now. All boxers have hobbies and explore different sports when they want to unwind, but few of them would be willing to risk derailing their career without it making financial sense and someone close to Chisora should be advising him against it. He could always do what ex-England rugby player James Haskell did and sign with Bellator when he retires from the sport that pays his bills.