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Morton and the MMA

Yesterdays LAT had an article on former USC receiver Johnnie Morton's quest to break into MMA. I'm not a real huge fan of MMA but I respect the conditioning and toughness that these guys have, I look at like Hard Times on Steroids.

[...] "I'm a huge fan of it," Morton said. "I know more about MMA guys than I do NFL players. I know everything about most guys: their stats, who they lost to, who they won against. I've watched it since the UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] first came out."

Armed with the knowledge of Morton's enthusiasm and impressed by the 35-year-old's lean and muscular frame, mixed martial arts athlete agent Joey Sakoda introduced himself and extended a training invitation to the receiver who last appeared in the NFL with the 2005 San Francisco 49ers after being a first-round draft pick (21st overall) of the Detroit Lions in 1994.

After watching a PRIDE Fighting Championships card in Las Vegas earlier this year, Morton was sold.

He spent more than two months practicing the MMA principles of striking, wrestling, kicking and submitting with other Sakoda fighters at the Joker's Wild Fighting Academy in Lake Forest, and tonight, Morton will make his fighting debut at the venue where he grew comfortable playing USC home games, the Coliseum.

Like I said, I give these credit for getting into the ring and taking the chance of getting their brains beat happened to Morton last night. Morton didn't even last half of one round,

Former USC and NFL receiver Johnny Morton suffered a devastating, first-round knockout in his mixed martial arts debut Saturday night at the Coliseum, was taken to a hospital for observation and then refused to supply a urine sample for drug testing.

Morton has been suspended, according to Armando Garcia, executive director of the California State Athletic Commission.

Morton was unavailable for comment.

Ya' think! I'd go underground too after that showing.

Morton, 35, was taken by ambulance to California Hospital for observation after being knocked out 38 seconds into his match against Bernard Ackah.

"He is fine, alert and everything is moving normally. Obviously he is disappointed," Garcia said after receiving the report on Morton's examination and before learning of his refusal to submit to a drug test.

Facing Ackah, a fighter from the Ivory Coast who was in his second pro match after winning his debut by knockout, Morton walked into a right hand that landed on his left temple, sending him crashing to canvas so forcefully that his head bounced off the surface.

Morton, apparently unconscious when medical personnel got to him, was placed in a neck splint and put on a stretcher.

But by the time he was carried out of the ring, he had recovered enough to flash the victory sign to the appreciative crowd.

"How many people who would do what he did," said Mike Guymon, Morton's trainer, "stepping into the NFL of MMA and putting it all on the line?"

Crazy if you ask me.

Good luck with that Johnnie!

Update [2007-6-3 18:49:46 by Paragon SC]: TrojanWire has a copy of the video clip via YouTube.

Christ, that is brutal.