Tommy "The Duke" Morrison, one of the most intriguing boxers to even step into the squared circle, shocked the MMA world this week by announcing his intention to fight 340 lb. John Stover, an experienced cagefighter with 8 professional fights, on June 9, 2007 at the Cliff Castle Casino Arizona during the World Fighting Championship.
Morrison's bombshell announcement comes over a decade after his previous bombshell announcement that rocked the boxing world that he had tested positive for AIDS. Morrison, however, has been symptom free for 10 years now and claims that he was the victim of a false positive test result. He recently started boxing again and was cleared to return to the ring by the West Virginia Athletic Commission after passing a battery of medical tests in Arizona, the results of which were forwarded to West Virginia.
Best known to the general public for his role as Tommy Gunn in Rocky V, Morrison was on top of the boxing world before a single test result in 1996 took it all away. But Morrison (46-3-1, 40 KOs) was no celluloid tiger and was a significant fighter and box office draw. George Foreman, for example, lost to only five fighters in his career and Morrison is one. Morrison also held a share of the heavyweight title on two occasions.
"I had just signed a three-fight deal with Don King," Morrison recalls, "that was going to lead to showdown with Mike Tyson that was worth $38 million. My first fight was against Stormy Weathers in Las Vegas, but then came the test result and the fight was cancelled. I estimate that cost me around $100 million in fight purses over the past 10 years."
Morrison was spurred to start cagefighting by an interview that Chuck Liddell gave on Good Morning Texas where Liddell called out Morrison and said he wanted to fight him. "I couldn't believe that," Morrison says. "It's one thing to talk about fighting someone but another thing to actually do it. Let's see if Chuck Liddell's heart is as big as his mouth. He is crazy to want to get into the cage with me. I beat George Foreman. Nobody in the history of boxing hit harder than George Foreman. So why would I be afraid to get hit by Chuck Liddell? He should be the one to be afraid. Liddell has never been hit by anyone like me. Dana White always talks about how a top cagefighter like Liddell could beat a top boxer so here's a chance to make it happen. I want to know if Liddell and Dana White really mean what they say or if they are just full of talk. I will take on Chuck Liddell anytime, anyplace, anywhere."
Morrison's first step in his mixed martial arts career will be followed and reported on around the world and "The Duke" is dead serious about his upcoming fight. "I'm really excited to be fighting in the WFC and I feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me. If you want to see the future of mixed martial arts then come to the Cliff Castle Casino in Camp Verde Arizona on June 9, 2007...because that future is me."